San Seb announces Films in Progress lineup

Six unfinished films to compete for post-production finance

MADRID -- Six unfinished films from Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina will screen at the 57th San Sebastian International Film Festival in the Films in Progress sidebar, competing for post-production financing and a foothold in the international festival circuit.

The increasingly popular sidebar, which has garnered an energetic following from buyers looking to get a first glimpse at nearly finished, promising projects from Latin America, has seen many of its winners screen at the world's top festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and San Sebastian.

Answering to the growing popularity of the section, organizers said they received 115 projects from 21 countries -- significantly up from the 64 titles submitted last year.

Backed by a wide-range of professional entities, the top film wins post-production financing until receiving a 35mm English subtitled print. Other awards include €60,000 ($86,000) from pubcaster Television Espanola in exchange for Spanish broadcast rights and the Casa de America award with an additional €10,000 ($14,350).

This year's crop includes the directorial debut of actor Daniel Hendler ("El Abrazo Partido"), with "Norberto's Deadline," a tale of self-deception. Hendler's opera prima will vie against three other feature debuts, including Natalia Smirnoff's self-discovery drama "Puzzle," Niles Jamil Atallah's look at Chile's effort to recover from the military dictatorship "Lucia" and Sebastian Hiriart's tale of a Mexican shepherd guided by a symbol to discover his dreams in "A Stone's Throw."

Uruguay's Federico Veiroj's "A Useful Life," the follow-up to 2007 Films in Progress alumni "Acne" will round out the selection, along with Paz Fabrega's "Agua Fria de Mar."

Also Tuesday, organizers announced the complementary sidebar focused on the Maghreb, Cinema in Motion, offering post-production assistance to the winning film. This year's entries are: "In the Sands of Babylon," directed by Mohamed Al-Daradji; "Beit Sha'ar" (Nomad's Home), directed by Iman Kamel; and, "Port of Memory," directed by Kamal Aljafari.