San Sebastian Film Festival Kicks Off in Spain

San Sebastian Film Festival Poster - P 2015
Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival

San Sebastian Film Festival Poster - P 2015

The festival, which boasts one of the most picturesque seaside towns in Europe, offers an international mix with a lot of Latin spice.

The 63rd San Sebastian International Film Festival kicks off on Friday in Spain’s northern Basque seaside town, with a strong lineup of Spanish-language fare, fresh talent and the “best hits you missed” earlier in the season.

Sienna Miller, Benicio Del Toro, Tim RothEllen Page, Tom Hiddleston and Luke Evans are a few of the stars due in town this week to accompany their latest products.

The Official Selection will showcase 22 films, including the much-anticipated world premiere of Alejandro Amenabar’s Regression, starring Emma Watson and Ethan Hawke, which opens the festival. Amenabar will introduce his film at the inaugural ceremony on Friday night in the futuristic Kursaal building.

Actresses Cayetana Guillen-Cuervo and Mireia Gabilondo will conduct the opening ceremony, in which George Miller is due to pick up the Fipresci award for best film of 2015 for his Mad Max: Fury Road, which will enjoy a special screening before the ceremony.

Alex de la Iglesia’s Mi Gran Noche and Cesc Gay’s Truman create a heavyweight triumvirate of Spanish productions for the festival’s official section opening weekend lineup.

The Official Selection and Zabaltegi Section — which clusters new directors and experimental and documentary films — are complemented by crowd-friendly sidebars like Savage Cinema, which this year welcomes Genndy Tartakovsky’s Hotel Transylvania 2 to the gigantic-screened Velodrome, and Culinary Zinema — offering titles like Erik Shirai’s The Birth of Sake.

The much-loved Pearls section gives festivalgoers the chance to catch gems from past festivals like Jafar Panahi’s Berlin Golden Bear Taxi, Cannes’ standout Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario, Venice’s best director Pablo Trapero’s El Clan and Scott Cooper’s Black Mass.

This year’s festival offers a classic retrospective of what it called “one of the strangest and most exciting creative twosomes ever to come out of Hollywood,” focusing on Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, as well as a thematic showcase of new Japanese independent cinema from 2000-2015.