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MADRID — The 57th San Sebastian International Film Festival kicked off Sept. 18 with Canadian director Atom Egoyan gracing the stage at the festival’s inaugural gala to present “Chloe,” which opened the Official Section.
Producer Margaret Menegaz picked up the FIPRESCI grand prize for Michael Haneke’s “The White Ribbon,” voted the best film of 2009 by the Federation of International Film Critics.
The inaugural ceremony, held in the futuristic Kursaal convention center, was presented by Spanish journalist Edurne Ormazabal, with Francis Lorenzo and Barbara Goenaga, in Spanish, English and the local Basque language as is customary for the festival held in Spain’s northern Basque region.
Spanish film academy president Alex de la Iglesia was on hand to help launch Spain’s biggest festival, as were members of the official jury, including jury chair Laurent Cantet, actors Daniel Gimenez-Cacho, Pilar Lopez de Ayala and Leonor Silveira, and directors Bong Joon-ho, John Madden and Samira Makhmalbaf.
Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino strolled up the red carpet to cheering crowds outside the freshly renovated Victoria Eugenia Theater to accompany the “Inglourious Basterds” screening in the Zabaltegi Pearls section. Actor Christoph Waltz, who had confirmed his presence in San Sebastian, had to cancel his visit due to shooting of Michael Gondry’s new film, “The Green Hornet.”
San Sebastian runs through Sept. 27, with Ian McKellen, Naomi Watts and Robert Duvall among the other actors anticipated in the seaside town this week.
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