San Seb sidebar has Latin flavor


MADRID -- Six Latin American films, including four with Argentinean production partners, will screen in the San Sebastian International Film Festival's 12th annual Films in Progress sidebar.

Films in Progress, a venture created by the festival and the Rencontres Cinemas d'Amerique Latine in Toulouse, France, is intended to facilitate the completion of films by independent Latin American and Spanish filmmakers at the postproduction stage.

The program's awards help promising Latin American film projects by picking up the tab for all the postproduction services and delivering a 35mm print to the filmmaker. It also ensures a coveted spot on the festival circuit with an earmarked slot at San Sebastian.

The initiative helped no fewer than six Spanish-language films find slots in this year's official lineup for the Festival de Cannes.

The select group of films vying for the awards this year includes: Federico Veiroj's "Acne" (Uruguay/Argentina/Spain/Mexico), Matheus Nachtergaele's "A festa da menina morta" (Brazil/Argentina/Portugal), Julio Hernandez Cordon's "Gasolina" (Guatemala), Fernando Diaz's "La Extranjera" (Argentina), Werner Schumann's "Sol na neblina" (Brazil) and Celina Murga's "Una semana solos" (Argentina).

Additionally, San Sebastian announced four films in the parallel Cinema in Motion section. This year, the sidebar's third edition sees the selection of films expand beyond Northern Africa to include the Palestinian territories, Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

The films vying for the section's prizes, which also include postproduction help, include: Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas' "Je veux voir" (Lebanon); Leila Kilani's "Nos lieux interdits" (Morocco), an investigative look at Morocco's so-called "Years of Lead" under Hassan II; Mahmoud Al Massad's "Recycle" (Jordan); and Annemarie Jacir's "Le sel de cette mer" (Palestine), about a young girl's homecoming to the West Bank. Spain's Mediapro recently joined that film as a co-producer.

Jacques Bidou and Marianne Dumoulin of Paris-based JBA Prods. are lead producers on Jacir's film, while Danny Glover and Joslyn Barnes are also producing via their New York-based Louverture Films.

The San Sebastian International Film Festival runs Sept. 20-29.