Spain’s San Sebastian Festival, the most important film meet in the Spanish-speaking world, has unveiled the 13 title lineup of its 2021 New Directors lineup.
Announced Wednesday, it includes awaited debuts such as Argentine Mara Pescio’s “That Weekend” and Spaniard Javier Marco’s “Josefina” plus American Fran Kranz’s “Mass,” starring Jason Isaacs, Martha Plimpton, Reed Birney and Ann Dowd which received rave reviews on its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Festival.
Also making the cut, among known propositions, is Jeonju Fest double winner “Aloners.” The titles:
“Aloners” (“Hon-Ja, Sa-Neun Sa-ram-deul,” Hong Sung-eun, South Korea)
Winner at May’s Jeonju Intl. Film Festival of the best actor prize for Gong Seung-yeon who plays a loner woman working at a customer call center who discourages any social contact. A psychological study in solitariness, “Aloners” also scooped the CGV Arthouse award.
“Between Two Dawns” (“Iki Safak Arasinda,” Selman Nacar, Turkey)
A standout and eventual double winner at San Sebastian’s 2020 WIP Europa, Nacar’s debut, about a man struggling to do the right thing following an accident in his family’s business.
“Carajita” (Silvina Schnicer, Ulises Porra, Argentina)
Set in the Dominican Republic and the Argentine directorial duo’s follow-up to 2017 “Tigre,” described by Variety as “a rich and impressive debut.” Here Schnicer and Porra explore a mother-daughter style relationship between a teen and her nanny, which says much about social structures.
“Hilda’s Short Summer” (“Las Vacaciones de Hilda,” Agustin Banchero, Uruguay)
Swooped on by sales agent Figa Films after its screened in rough cut at San Sebastian’s WIP Latam last year, Banchero’s debut focuses on a woman whose isolated rural life is upended by news that her estranged son will com to visit. A study in emotional regeneration, Banchero’s debut is produced by Virginia Bogliolo and Juan Alvarez Neme at auteur-driven Uruguayan shingle, Tarkiofilm.
“Inventory” (“Inventura,” Darko Sinko, Slovenia)
Boris Robic is an average Joe, or so he thinks, until somebody tries to shoot him and, investigating his own past, he discovers multiple reasons why people would hate him. An exposé of widespread moral culpability from Sinko, which was also selected for 2020’s WIP Europa.
“Josephine” (“Josefina,” Javier Marco, Spain)
Toplining Emma Suárez, star of Pedro Almodóvar’s “Julieta,” Marco’s debut has a prison guard inventing an inmate daughter to meet a frequent visitor. White Leaf Producciones and Featurent produce the feature, standout among 2018 projects at the Madrid Film School’s ECAM Incubator. A romantic drama with lighter touches and a deft but penetrating critique of contemporary societal ills, says Feel Content’s Geraldine Gonard, the film’s sales agent.
“Lost in Summer” (“Shu Qi Shi Guang,” Sun Liang, China )
The second feature from China’s Sun Liang, following on the genre-blending and sometimes near surrealistic “Kill the Shadow,” which played Montreal and Shanghai. It looks like another genre mash, charting the mental confusion of a teen, which helps spark a murder.
“Mass” (Fran Kranz, U.S.)
Years after a tragic shooting, the parents of both the victim and the perpetrator meet face-to-face in Kranz’s Sundance standout, picked up by Bleecker Street for an Oct. 8 U:S: release, which establishes Kranz as most certainly a director to track, “Mass” being praised in particular for the performances Kranz extracts from its cast.
“Mikado” (“Marocco,” Emanuel Parvu, Romania)
A troubled father-daughter drama from actor-turned-director Parvu, seen in the films of Cristian Mungiu, Adrian Sitaru and Constantin Popescu, who went on to make a impactful directorial feature debut winning both director and actor awards at Sarajevo Festival for 2017’s ““Meda or The Not So Bright Slide of Things.”
“The Noise of Engines” (“Le Bruit des moteurs,” Philippe Grégoire, Canada)
Andre, an instructor at the Canadian customs college, finds himself under surveillance by the police investigating sexually explicit drawings that appear in his local town. A first feature from Canada’s Grégoire, described as a work of “autofiction” inspired by a past gig as a custom’s agent.
“The Rust” (“La Roya,” Juan Sebastián Mesa, Colombia)
Mesa made an auspicious debut in 2015 with “Los Nadie,” a story of fraternal love – and hate and broken promises – between five friends, who are street artists, which won the Audience Award at the Venice Intl. Critics Week. Here he returns with “Rust”, about how a devastating plague consumes coffee crops in a Colombian town, impacting people’s minds.
“That Weekend” (“Ese Fin de Semana,” Mara Pescio, Argentina)
A study of fractured relationships and dreams, broken by Latin America’s economic crisis, “That Weekend” has mother Julia returning to her multi-ethnic Posadas tenement to sign a document authorizing daughter Clara to leave Argentina with her father. A conflictive mother daughter fiction drama, it marks the directorial debut of Pescio, a highly regarded screenwriter whose credits include MGM’s “The End of Love” and “Victoria Small,” from ViacomCBS Intl. Studios and The Mediapro Studio.
“Unwanted” (“Nich’Ya,” Lena Lanskih, Russia)
The travails of a young teen in the Urals, a normal girl it seems – apart from her unwanted child, which she hides. The first feature of Russian short film director Lamksih.