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James Franco, Archambault, Torres Leiva Vie for San Sebastian Golden Seashell

MADRID — James Franco’s “Zeroville,” Louise Archambault’s “And The Birds Rained Down” and José Luis Torres Leiva’s “Death Will Come And Shall Have Your Eyes” will compete for San Sebastian’s Golden Shell, the Spanish festival announced Friday.

Further new main competition titles unveiled take in Guillaume Nicloux’s “Thalasso,” Ina Weisse’s “The Audition,” Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s “A Dark-Dark Man,” and Mexican debutant director David Zonana’s “Workforce.”

The seven titles join three already-announced Spanish competition contenders: Alejandro Amenábar’s “While At War,” Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goenaga’s “The Endless Trench” and Belén Funes’ “A Thief’s Daughter.”

Playing out-of-competition will be “Heroic Losers,” , starring and co-produced by Ricardo Darín, which receives a Special Screening, and Daniel Sánchez-Arévalo’s “Diecisiete,” marking the first time a Netflix Original Film makes San Sebastian’s Official Selection cut.

After winning the Golden Shell in 2017 with “The Disaster Artist,” James Franco returns to San Sebastian competition with Hollywood-set dramedy “Zeroville,” a movie adaptation of Steve Erickson’s same-titled novel, starring Franco, Megan Fox, Seth Rogen and Will Ferrell. “Zeroville” sales are handled by Moonstone Entertainment.

Canadian Louise Archambault’s “And The Birds Rained Down” also based on a novel, this time by Jocelyne Saucier, following three elderly hermits that live deep in the woods. While wildfires threaten the region, their quiet life is about to be shaken by the arrival of two women.

Sold by France’s Indie Sales, “And The Birds Rained Down” marks the third movie from Archambault, whose “Family” won best feature debut at the Toronto Film Festival in 2005, and was selected for Locarno official competition. “Gabrielle,” its follow-up, won in 2013 the Audience Award in Locarno and was Canada’s submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film.

“Death Will Come And Shall Have Your Eyes” was one of the projects pitched at the 5th Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum in San Sebastian in 2016; Chilean Torres Leiva directs actresses Amparo Noguera (“Prófugos”) and Julieta Figueroa (“El cielo, la tierra y la lluvia”) as a female couple confronting one partner’s terminal cancer.

In comedy “Thalasso,” a Wild Bunch pick-up, French writer Michel Houellebecq meets Gérard Depardieu at a sea water therapy centre in Cabourg. Together, they try to survive the health regime to which they are subjected by the establishment. But events quickly derail their routine. Nicloux reteams with the provocative writer after “The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq” (2014).

The sophomore film by German helmer-actress Ina Weisse, “The Audition” toplines prestigious German actress Nina Hoss as a violin teacher at a music high-school in Berlin obsessed with a student to whom he devotes more attention than to his own family. A France-Germany co-production, the films international rights are represented by Les Films du Losange.

With “A Dark-Dark Man,” focused on a cop and a journalist investigating the death of a child in a Kazakh village, Yerzhanov competes at San Sebastian after presenting his “The Owners” as an Special Screening at Cannes 2014 and “The Gentle Indifference of the World” in Un Certain Regard in 2018.

Another Wild Bunch acquisition for international, “Workforce” is produced by Mexico’s Michel Franco at Lucía Films. Zonana’s first feature, which won as a work in progress at Los Cabos Festival,  mixes professional and non-professional actors to portray the travails of a group of construction workers, victims of job insecurity.

The 67th San Sebastián Film Festival runs Sept. 20-28.

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