Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem make mark in Spain

Actress was honored with San Sebastian honor

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain -- A beaming Julia Roberts accepted the Donostia Award for lifetime achievement from the hands of "Eat Pray Love" co-star Javier Bardem at the 58th San Sebastian International Film Festival Monday.

"What a fortunate woman I've been in my life for a variety of reasons. If we were having dinner, I'd tell you all of them. But now, I'll just say thank you from the bottom of my heart," Roberts said on stage. "And thank you to San Sebastian, which is the most enthusiastic town."

Bardem called Roberts "fearless," "fun" and "friend."

The duo is in town, along with director Ryan Murphy and Richard Jenkins, accompanying Sony's release of "Eat" in Spain, which screened to packed theaters at the festival.

Roberts dazzled throngs that waited all day in front of the festival's epicenter, the Kursaal building, to glimpse "America's sweetheart" -- greeting them personally and taking pictures with fans on her way up the black carpet to the ceremony.

While "Eat" was dismissed by critics as light fare, other films in the festival's lineup were getting positive reactions.

Diego Luna's directorial debut "Abel," screening in the Latin Horizons sidebar and Josh Radnor's "HappyThankYouMorePlease" both played well to audiences, with Peter Mullan's Scottish gang drama "Neds" and and Oscar Aibar's "El Gran Vazquez" making a splash in the main competition over the weekend. While critics said Raul Ruiz's four and a quarter hour "Mysteries from Lisbon" was worth the effort.

Imagina International Sales announced it will handle worldwide rights for Judith Colell and Jordi Cadena's survivor story "Elisa K," set to screen Tuesday in the official competition and scheduled for release in Spain Sept. 24 via Wanda Vision.

Also Monday, Leila Kilani's "Sur La Planche" won the Films in Motion top award, which covers the post-production cost of the French-Moroccan film to provide a 35mm copy without subtitles

Elsewhere, the European Film Agency Directors (EFAD) held a meeting chaired by Ignasi Guardans, Director General of the Spanish Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts (ICAA).

Attendees analysed the effects of the economic crisis and the part played by film agencies in EU States under today's complicated budgetary conditions. The European heads justified financially backing cinema as intrinsically cultural, in addition to its industrial character.

"We're going to cut more from other sections, like promotion abroad, before touching the hard core part of ICAA, which is film production," Guardans said in an interview with the Spanish daily El Pais published Monday, referring to cuts expected to be approved affecting the 89 million euro film subsidy fund.
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