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Blogging from San Sebastian September 22-30, 2023

Coverage Recap of 61st edition. Photo gallery 2013 Recap of 63rd edition, video I Recap of 64th edition, video I Recap of 65th edition, video / Recap of 66th edition /Recap of 68th edition, video



Seventeen films to compete for the Kutxa-New Directors Award

Seventeen films to compete for the
Kutxa-New Directors Award

Directors from 13 countries will contend
with their first or second movies
for this award carrying 90,000 euros

Seventeen films from 13 countries will compete for the Kutxa-New Directors Award at the 57th San Sebastian Festival. Fourteen of these titles compose the Zabaltegi-New Directors section, while the other three, 11’e 10 kala / 10 to 11, La mujer sin piano and Yo también (Me too), will participate in the Official Selection.

Yet another year, the San Sebastian Festival places its stakes on new talents. The Kutxa-New Directors Award, with its 90,000 euros shared by the director and Spanish importer of the winning movie, is one of the most important of its kind in the world and goes to filmmakers presenting a first or second film not previously screened at an international competition. In addition to the movies shown in the Zabaltegi-New Directors section, first or second directorial works in the Official Selection will also compete for the Kutxa-New Directors Award.

These fourteen titles from the Zabaltegi-New Directors Section will include representations from Asian (South Korea, China), European (France, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, Norway, the UK) and Latin American (Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico) countries, in addition to a US co-production. There will also be three Spanish films, Màscares (Masks), Ori and Zorion Perfektua (Perfect Happiness). Director Javier Rebollo will compete second time round for the Kutxa-New Directors Award with La mujer sin piano, following his 2006 presentation of Lo que sé de Lola, and Pelin Esmer, who, having participated in Zabaltegi-New Directors in 2005 with her directorial debut, Oyun (The Play), now competes with 11’e 10 kala / 10 to 11.

Over the two last decades, San Sebastian has, in Zabaltegi-New Directors, given a first break to numerous moviemakers who have gone on to forge excellent careers and whose works have subsequently participated both in our own Official Selection and at several of the most prestigious festivals in the world. Some of the directors to have participated in Zabaltegi-New Directors with their first or second works who now hold an essential place in contemporary cinema are: Olivier Assayas (Desordre, 1986), Alejandro Agresti (El amor es una mujer gorda, 1987), Isabel Coixet (Demasiado viejo para morir joven, 1988), Nicole Garcia (Un weekend sur deux, 1990), Tsai Ming Liang (Rebels of the Neon God, 1993), Walter Salles (Terra Estrangeira, 1995), François Ozon (Regarde la mer, 1997), Cesc Gay (Hotel Room, 1998), Simon Sta ho (Vildspor, 1998), Laurent Cantet (Ressources humaines, 1999), Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast, 2000), György Palfi (Hukkle, 2002), Xavier Giannoli (Les corps impatients, 2003), Lee Daniels (Shadowboxer, 2005) and Cao Baoping (The Equation of Love and Death, 2008), among others.


Director: Pablo Agüero.
Cast: Francisco Moron, Anne Chrétien, Paula Giovanetti.
Anne, a young Parisian, is nine months pregnant. Just then, her Argentinean husband leaves her. And just then, his grandfather arrives from Argentina with the intention of moving in with her. This French girl on the point of giving birth finds herself forced into sharing a house with the old Bohemian man on the point of dying. They’ve nothing in common. Except, perhaps, their dream of 77 Doronship. Second feature from the director of Salamandra (2008). Selected at Films in Construction 15 (Toulouse 2009).

South Korea-USA.
Director: Jeon Kyuhwan.
Cast: Lee Junhyuk, Oh Seongtae.
Oh Seongcheul is a man out of parole but the tracker on his ankle reminds him that he is otherwise. He struggles with his inner demons by living a harsh life as a manual laborer, and continually going to see his psychiatrist. Kim Hyeongdo is a broken man. He is a family man that is burdened with the experience of a parents’ worst nightmare. He goes through the motions of life until one day he sees Seongcheul by coincidence. The desire to have his revenge consumes him. Second film from the director of Mozart Town (2008).

Director: Enrique Buchichio.
Cast: Martín Rodríguez, Cecilia Cosero, Gerardo Begerez, Mirella Pascual.
Leo, a young boy coming to terms with himself and finding his way in the world of sex, runs into Caro, a primary school friend he fancied when they were younger who’s now trying to ward off her own personal demons. This casual reencounter will affect their personal conflicts without either truly grasping the other’s problem. Selected for Films in Progress 15 (Toulouse 2009). Directorial debut.

Director: Tomasz E. Rudzik.
Cast: Johannes Silberschneider, Tristan Seith, Patricia Moga, Lizhe Liu, Helen Woigk.
The paths of three students of different nationalities cross in the elevator of an anonymous student block in Munich. Since they don't know each other, they will never find out how much they have in common: Clara (Patricia Moga), Motek (Andreas Heindel) and Sin (Lizhe Liu) are strangers in Germany. They're longing for acceptance and warmth, searching for a spark of the feeling we call home. Directorial debut.

Director: Xabi Molia.
Cast: Julie Gayet, Denis Podalydès, Mathieu Busson, Kevyn Frachon.
Elsa makes ends meet by working odd jobs. In hopes of landing a steady job, she goes to interviews that end up disastrous. Her neighbor Mathieu also tries to land a job, but has seemingly perfected the art of failure during his own interviews. One day Elsa is evicted from her apartment. She thus begins a life of uncertainty, with a potted plant as her companion. Mathieu, from time to time, offers his love, which she is not prepared to receive. First film as a director from the novelist Xabi Molia.

Director: Philippe Van Leeuw.
Cast: Ruth Keza Nirere, Lola Tuyaerts, Afazali Dawaele.
Kigali, the first day of the genocide. Rwandans are massacring each other and Westerners are fleeing the country. Jacqueline, a young Tutsi nanny for a Belgian family, finds herself abandoned. Hiding in the ceiling, she manages to escape the killers. Meanwhile, back in her village, her children are slaughtered. Chased, hunted down, she takes refuge in the forest. Directorial debut.

Directors: Elisabet Cabeza and Esteve Riambau.
Cast: José María Pou.
Actors, like magicians, never reveal their tricks. José María Pou has made an exception on allowing the camera to film him preparing a work in which he plays Orson Welles. The action of Màscares unfolds backstage, in a place hidden from the eyes of the audience where the actor casts his skin to invoke his character. Magic, with tricks, but magic nevertheless. From the directors of La doble vida del faquir (2005).

Director: Miraz Bezar.
Cast: Senay Orak, Muhammed Al, Hakan Karsak, Berivan Ayaz, Fahriye Celik, Alisan Önlü.
Turkish Kurdistan in the 1990s. On a night in May, on an empty road near Diyarbakir, life of ten year old Gülistan and her brother Firat takes an abrupt change. Their father, a political journalist, and their mother are being killed by state security forces in front of their very eyes. Having also lost all other relatives during the civil war, Gülistan and Firat are forced to survive on their own. Directorial debut.

Director: Rigoberto Perezcano.
Cast: Harold Torres, Sonia Couoh, Alicia Laguna, Luis Cárdenas.
Andres reaches the Mexican border to cross into the United States. Between each attempt, he discovers that Tijuana, the city that adopts him, is a troubled one. As he awaits there, Andres is not only confronted with his feelings and what he left behind, but also with those he meets in Tijuana: Cata, Ela, and Asensio. Norteado bagged the Industry, TVE and Casa de América Awards at Films in Construction 14 (San Sebastian 2008). Directorial debut.

Director: Miguel Angel Jiménez Colmenar.
Cast: Kathuna Shurgaia, Bega Gautarazde, Giorgi Goguazde, Tamazo Terunashvili.
Nino crosses a vast waste ground in the outskirts of Tbilisi. This young Georgian woman tries to push her life forward, but it’s not going to be easy. In the remote mountains of the Caucasus, solitary Beqa is visited by his nephew Tazo, a refugee from the Russian bombings. When the echoes of the war still persist, both lives are crossed by this bittersweet story of silences and cigarettes. First feature from the director of the documentary Días de El Abanico (2007).

Director: Matias Armand Jordal.
Cast: Fridtjov Såheim, Odin Waage, Evy Kasseth Røsten, Kristine Rui Slettebakken.
A story about a father and his son’s journey through a landscape of sorrow, after they tragically lose the one person they love the most. It’s about how they deal with their new everyday life without her, and their strain to win control over the new situation. Directorial debut.

Director: Tom Harper.
Cast: Thomas Turgoose, Holliday Grainger, Rafe Spall, Susan Lynch, Steven Mackintosh.
David and Emily are inseparable best friends who have lived all their lives on a caravan park. When David learns that Emily is being forced to move away, he agrees to help her hide out in a remote cave on the coast. But their innocent secret soon becomes complicated, as David watches the police start to close in on his missing friend. When the real reason Emily wants to escape comes to light, David's world is shattered. Directorial debut.

Director: Zhang Huilin.
Cast: Li Yuan, Liu Xiaofeng, Zhao Lei.
Summer prep art school session in Beijing. Two young men, Ocean and Wang Jing, (‘Little Mirror’) are buddies. They think of music and girls a lot. Ocean works in his mother’s tailor shop; his brother is serving a jail term for an unspecified offense. In the life drawing class, they meet a girl, Sugar (Li Yuan). She seems more sophisticated and worldly than them. The playful, goofy innocence of their interaction gradually evolves into more complex feelings. Shot with non-professional actors, this is the second movie from the director of Ice Games (2006).

Director: Jabi Elortegi.
Cast: Anne Igartiburu, Aia Kruse, Alberto Berzal, Elena Irureta.
Ainhoa’s career as a pianist is put paid to when she’s knocked down in the centre of Barcelona. Her love life isn’t exactly at its best either: shortly before the accident she’d met Imanol, but had been incapable of sharing her life with him due to an inability to show her feelings. The origins of her fears lie in the ETA attack she witnessed at the age of 15. First feature for the big screens from the director of TV series like Goenkale and Agitación+IVA.

11’E 10 KALA / 10 TO 11
Director: Pelin Esmer.
Cast: Nejat Isler, Mithat Esmer, Tayanc Ayaydin, Lacin Ceylan, Savas Akova, Sinan Dugmeci.
10 to 11 is the story of a passionate collector Mithat and the concierge of the building, Ali. For Mithat Istanbul is as vast as his collections and for Ali is nothing more than a few blocks around the building. When the neighbors decide to have the building rebuilt with the fear of earthquake and the wish for a more valuable house, Mithat’s most challenging struggle to save his collections begins. Second feature from the director of Oyun (The Play), screened as part of Zabaltegi-New Directors 2005.

Director: Javier Rebollo.
Cast: Carmen Machi, Jan Budar, Pep Ricart, Nadia de Santiago.
La mujer sin piano is the portrayal of 24 hours in the domestic, working and sexual life of an early 21st century housewife in Madrid. La mujer sin piano headlines a suitcase, a pair of shoes, Carmen Machi in her first starring movie part, and the Czech actor, writer and musician, Jan Budar. Second feature from the director of Lo que sé de Lola.

Director: Álvaro Pastor, Antonio Naharro.
Cast: Lola Dueñas, Pablo Pineda, Isabel García Lorca, Pedro Álvarez Osorio.
Daniel, a young 32-year-old from Seville, is the first European man with Down syndrome to have earned a university diploma. He starts his working life with the Andalusian Government where he meets Laura, a workmate with no apparent disability. And he falls in love with her. When disability is no longer a barrier, complexes and prejudices still try to trip them up on the path to love as disability gives in to our own inability to love and be loved. Directorial debut.

Donostia-San Sebastian, 11 August 2009


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Barreda de Biurrun Inés

Blogging from the 71th San Sebastian Film Festival
Reporting by Inés Barreda de Biurrun, Bruno Chatelin and Juncal de la Fuente.

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