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Sixteen films uncover emerging talents in the Zabaltegi-New Directors section of San Sebastian International Film Festival

The Zabaltegi Specials section comprises nine titles exploring documentary frontiers and TV formats

08/17/2007
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Sixteen films will make up the Zabaltegi-New Directors section at the 55th San Sebastian International Film Festival from 20th-29th September 2007. Filmmakers from all over the world signing their first or second feature films will compete for the Altadis-New Directors Award, carrying €90,000. Films by new filmmakers participating in the Festival Official Selection will also compete for this Award.

Over the last two decades, the Zabaltegi-New Directors section of San Sebastian International Film Festival has introduced numerous filmmakers who have proceeded to forge important careers and whose subsequent works have participated in both the Official Selection of the event and in some of the most prestigious festivals in the world. Some of the directors participating with first or second works in Zabaltegi-New Directors who now constitute fundamental names in the world of contemporary cinema are: Olivier Assayas (Desordre, 1986), Alejandro Agresti (El amor es una mujer gorda, 1987), Isabel Coixet (Demasiado viejo para morir joven, 1988), Nicole Garcia (Un weekend sur deux, 1990), Tsai Ming Liang (Rebels of the Neon God, 1993), Walter Salles (Terra Estrangeira, 1995), François Ozon (Regarde la mer, 1997), Cesc Gay (Hotel Room, 1998), Simon Staho (Vildspoor, 1998), Laurent Cantet (Ressources humaines, 1999), Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast, 2000), Gyorgy Palfi (Hukkle, 2001) and Xavier Giannoli (Les corps impatients, 2003).

On the other hand, the Zabaltegi Specials section offers nine titles exploring documentary frontiers and TV formats: from an almost classic biographical profile, to the reconstruction of historical facts, the portrait diary-style of a filmmaker as illustrious as David Lynch, a new perspective of the TV-series format or the approach to fiction using mixed narrative techniques.

 

 ZABALTEGI- NEW DIRECTORS

10+4
(DAH BE ALAVEH CHAHAR)

Iran
Director: Mania Akbari.
Cast: Mania Akbari, Amin Maher, Behnaz Jafari, Roya Akbari, Mina Hamidi, Maedeh Tahmasebi, Bahareh Mosadeghiyan, Jinous Azadegan, Ramin Rastad


In this sequel to Abbas Kiarostami’s Ten, Mania Akbari, the leading actress of the film, again drives a car and talks to her son, her sister and other people. Her situation in this sequel differs because she is suffering from cancer. As the disease progresses she’s unable to drive. So she sits in the back of the car and the conversation continues. She becomes weaker through her illness and, unlike Ten, the camera for 10 + 4 has to follow her wherever she goes. This is a totally new experience in which the director is directed by her cancer throughout the process of making the film. Second work by the maker of 20 Fingers.


DIE ANRUFERIN
(THE CALLING GAME)

Germany
Director: Felix Randau
Cast: Valerie Koch, Esther Schweins, Franziska Ponitz


A woman engages in a bizarre role playing with total strangers on the telephone. Longing for human warmth and devotion, she triggers feelings of trust and compassion on the other end of the line under the pretence of being a child suffering from terminal illness. When she meets the vigorous Sina one day, an explosive but promising friendship develops... Second feature from the director of Northern Star (2003).


THE BIRD CAN'T FLY

Sudáfrica-Holanda-Irlanda
Directora: Threes Anna.
Intérpretes: Barbara Hershey, Yusuf Davids,Tony Kgoroge, John Kani


Melody returns home to Fairlands for the funeral of her estranged daughter June. The town has almost disappeared under the encroaching desert. She also has to confront the fact that she has a 10 year old grandson, River, whose existence she knew nothing about. Melody decides to take River away with her but he is resistant. Also his father, Scope, wants her to leave because he has a secret to hide. A series of confrontations ensues until Melody discovers the truth and faces some painful facts from her past, which will allow Melody and River to begin a new future together.


THE BLUE HOUR

USA
Director: Eric Nazarian.
Cast: Emily Rios, Alyssa Milano, Yorick Van Wageningen, Clarence Williams III, Derrick O’Connor, Paul Dillon.


Set in a working-class neighbourhood by the Los Angeles River, The Blue Hour is composed of four stories examining the everyday lives of a Mexican graffiti muralist, an Armenian camera repairman, a Blues guitarist and an elderly pensioner. Each story is peripherally tied to the Los Angeles River, exploring the delicate ties between strangers who rarely communicate yet share brief moments of connection. Featuring an appearance by Eric Burdon.


BRICK LANE

UK
Director: Sarah Gavron.
Cast: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Satish Kaushik, Christopher Simpson, Naeema Begum, Lana Rahman, Harvey Virdi, Lalita Ahmed, Zafreen


A 17 year-old girl forced into a marriage of convenience is obliged to leave her small Bangladeshi village for an East London block of flats. While trying to humour her unattractive husband and look after her children, she tries to make sense of her life in a multi-racial environment bringing her the chance of a new love. The story of a whole life based on the bestseller by Monica Ali, author of Alentejo Blue.


CASUAL DAY

Spain
Director: Max Lemcke
Cast: Juan Diego, Javier Ríos, Luis Tosar, Estíbaliz Gabilondo, Alberto San Juan, Alex Angulo, Arturo Valls, Secun de la Rosa, Malena Alterio, Marta Etura


'Casual Day' is a company practice imported from the USA. Some companies use their Fridays to organise a trip to the countryside or different activities to better personal relations between their workers, reduce stress and improve business performance. Ruy has always lived as he liked. Though clever, he’s gotten himself into a corner. José Antonio, his girlfriend’s father, has earmarked an important job for him in his company. He wants him to be his successor. At the age of 25, without having taken any kind of a decision, he’s trapped. He’d like to say no to the job, to José Antonio, to Inés, his girlfriend, and to the Casual Day stuff. But it’s not easy to say no. What started out as a simple event, a weekend in the country, ends up deciding the rest of his life… Second feature from the director of Mundo fantástico.


COSMOS

Spain
Director: Diego Fandos
Cast: Oihana Maritorena, Xabier Elorriaga, Ramón Barea.


Shortly after having been set free, Iñaki is moved by a TV news report: an astronaut has been “forgotten” on the MIR space station because his country no longer exists. Iñaki understands him perfectly and believes that he should do what he can to help him to get out of there as soon as possible. First feature from the director from Navarre, Diego Fandos, author of the short films Hospital Krev, La estrella and Game Over.


DARLING

Sweden
Director: Johan Kling.
Cast: Michelle Meadows, Michael Segerström, Richard Ulfsäter, Mikael Lindgren, Natalie Sannerman.


Darling is a dark comedy about young obnoxious upper class, ordinary folks and the condition of life in Stockholm of the 2000s. Beautiful and self-absorbed Eva engages in a banal affair that becomes the starting point of a slow but relentless descent down to the life of ordinary people and a surprising, but doomed friendship.


EKKO / ECHO

Denmark
Director: Anders Morgenthaler.
Cast: Kim Bodnia, Villads Milthers Fritsche, Stine Fischer Christensen, Peter Stomare


Simon is a police officer who recently lost custody of his six-year old son in a divorce. Desperate, he abducts his son and takes him to the country where they hide out in a vacated summerhouse. Simon wants to spend one last holiday alone with his son, but their week together becomes a nightmare, reviving bad memories. Soon the ghosts from his past threaten to drive Simon mad. Second film from the director of Princess, opening film at the Cannes Festival Directors’ Fortnight in 2006 and which can be seen in the Cold Fever season.


LES FOURMIS ROUGES
(RED ANTS)

Luxembourg-Belgium-France
Director: Stéphan Carpiaux
Cast: Déborah François, Frédéric Pierrot, Arthur Jugnot, Julie Gayet, Claire Johnston.


16-year-old Alex lives with her father Frank in an isolated village in the Ardennes forest. Obliged to support him after the tragic death of her mother, Alex finds herself growing up too fast for her age. While Frank tries to escape the apathy in which he has been living since the death of his wife, Alex unwillingly revives her father’s pain, plunging them both into an ambiguous world where the frontier between tenderness and desire is increasingly fragile. An unexpected meeting with Hector, a 22-year-old orphan whose aunt contrives to keep him immature, will lead the young woman to open her eyes about her relationship with her father. First feature from the Belgian director Stéphane Carpiaux, with the actress from L’enfant (The Child), by the Dardenne brothers.


GIDAM (EPITAPH)

Korea
Director: Jung Brothers (Jung Bum-Sik, Jung Sik)
Cast: Jin Goo, Lee Dong-Kyu, Kim Tae-Woo, Kim Bo-Kyung


In 1979, Dr. Park receives an old photo album from his twenties in 1942 when mysterious things captured him and his colleagues. Park was bound by his parents to marry a girl he never met, but fell in love with a dead body who happened to be his arranged marriage. Meanwhile, a little girl from a fatal car accident was brought in, unhurt but haunted by ghosts every night. Running through these two odd stories, a married couple of doctors returning to the hospital from Tokyo are constantly surrounded by serial murders. Debut film by an assistant director for Park Chan-Wook on Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Old Boy.


L’HOMME QUI MARCHE
(THE WALKING MAN)

France
Director: Aurélia Georges.
Cast: Cesar Sarachu, John Arnold, Judith Henry, Mireille Perrier, Florence Loiret-Caille.


Paris, the mid ‘70s. A photographer meets an emaciated and tenebrous man named Viktor Atemian. This is the story of how he suddenly becomes a writer and meets with success before hitting on hard times and ending up on the street. A film about the passing of time, renunciation, and plunging into the void. With the Basque actor Cesar Sarachu, who has worked for a large part of his career in Sweden and plays in the Spanish series Camera Café.


SOUL CARRIAGE

China-UK
Director: Conrad Clark
Cast: Yan Feng Yung, Jia Hong, Chen Jiao Ying


A young building company employee has no money even to buy a few beers for his birthday. Asking his boss for a loan, but the only thing he gets is the corpse of another employee dead on the job that the company wants done away with on the quiet. Carrying the body in his van, the youngster tries to return the dead man to his family.


TNUAH MEGUNA
(FOUL GESTURE)

Israel
Director: Itshak (Tzahi) Grad
Cast: Gal Zaid, Keren Mor, Asher Tsarfati, Ya'acov Ayaly, Ania Bukshtein, Tal Grushka, Rivka Michaeli, Menashe Noi, Vladimir Friedman.


A week in the life of Michael Klienhouse, your typical next-door neighbour, married with a child, the one you think you figured out already. One day, on the morning of the Holocaust Memorial Day, minutes before the siren is due to be heard, Michael runs into Dreyfus. Tamar, Michael's wife, has just flipped Dreyfus the finger, and Dreyfus deliberately hits the gas paddle of his black car and runs into Michael's open car door, almost hitting her. A law-abiding citizen, Michael hopes to resolve the situation with the help of the authorities, only to find out that the 60-year-old Dreyfus, an old war hero, is a violent man with connections and friends in high places.


LA TORRE DE SUSO

Spain
Director: Tom Fernández.
Cast: Javier Cámara, Gonzalo de Castro, César Vea, José Luis Alcobendas, Malena Alterio, Mariana Cordero, Fanny Gautier and the special collaboration of Emilio Gutiérrez Caba


Cundo returns home ten years after having left due to the death of his best friend, Suso. He plans to get drunk with his other old friends in Suso’s memory, pretend that everything’s fine and leave again as fast as he can. But things aren’t going so well for him, and Suso demands more than a simple drinking binge. Debut as a feature film director by the Asturian Tom Fernández, screenwriter for the TV series 7 vidas.


WHERE GOD LEFT HIS SHOES

USA
Director: Salvatore Stabile.
Cast: John Leguizamo, Leonor Varela, David Castro, Samantha Rose.


When Frank, Angela, and their two children are evicted from their New York City apartment, they have no choice but to move into a homeless shelter. After a few difficult months, good news comes their way on Christmas Eve: a nearby housing project has an apartment available immediately - however, Frank needs a job on the books in order to qualify.  While the rest of the city prepares for Christmas, Frank and his ten-year old stepson, Justin, roam the cold streets of New York trying to find a job by day's end.
The story of a family that refuses to break apart during the darkest time of their lives. Second movie from the director of Gravensend.



 ZABALTEGI-SPECIALS

BRANDO

USA
Directors: Mimi Freedman, Leslie Greif.


The private life, films, personal concerns, social struggles and incomparable personality of screen legend, Marlon Brando. A documentary lasting for almost three hours featuring, among many other personalities, Bernardo Bertolucci, James Caan, Johnny Depp, Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Quincy Jones, Martin Landau, Karl Malden, Edward Norton, Al Pacino, Arthur Penn, Sean Penn, Martin Scorsese, John Travolta, John Turturro, Jon Voight and Eli Wallach.


CALLE SANTA FÉ-RUE SANTA FÉ

France-Chile-Belgium
Director: Carmen Castillo


Calle Santa Fé, 5th October 1974, in the suburbs of Santiago de Chile, Carmen Castillo survives her partner, Miguel Enríquez, head of the MIR and of the Resistance movement against the Pinochet dictatorship, killed in combat. This is the starting point of Calle Santa Fé, a journey through time from then to now. Was all of the resistance worth the effort? Did Miguel die for nothing?


FORESTILLINGER (PERFORMANCES)

Denmark
Director: Per Fly.
Cast: Mads Wille, Sonja Richter, Sara Hjort Ditlevsen, Pernilla August, Jesper Christensen, Dejan Cukic


A 6-episode TV miniseries, Performances is about love - not only love for a partner but also love for a daughter, a father or a friend. It revolves around Marko, the charismatic stage director who revolutionized Danish theatre in the 1990s. Each episode has its own independent protagonist. Jakob’s episode is about the abrupt awakening from the giddiness of falling in love, Tanja’s is about leaving the man she loves, Katrin’s is about being noticed and loved for what she is, Eva’s is about wanting to resurrect her family, Jens’ is about disappointing his best friend, and Marko’s is about the demonic effects of becoming your very own project. From the director of features like Arven (Inheritance, 2003) and Drabet (2005), which competed those same years at San Sebastian Festival, with the latter winning the award for best screenplay.


LUCIO

Spain
Directors: Aitor Arregi and Jose Mari Goenaga
Documentary


There have been and still are many anarchists in the world. Those who had to steal or deal in contraband for the cause are numerous. Those who discussed strategies with Che Guevara or helped Eldridge Cleaver –the leader of the Black Panthers– are fewer in number. But those whom, together with the above, succeeded in putting the most powerful bank in the world against the ropes with the massive forging of travellers’ cheques, and without missing a single day of his job as a building worker, are reduced to one. Lucio Urtubia, from Cascante (Navarre). Today Lucio lives in Paris, retired. A documentary by from the Gipuzkoan directors Jose Mari Goenaga (director of prize-winning shorts like Tercero B and Sintonía) and Aitor Arregi (codirector of the animation features Glup and Cristóbal Molón).


LYNCH

USA-Denmark
Director: blackANDwhite


A film giving us a rare glimpse into the fascinating mind of the man who created such visionary classics as Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, Wild at Heart or The Elephant Man. Compiled from over two years of footage, the film is an intimate portrait of Lynch's creative process as he completes his latest film, Inland Empire. We follow him as he discovers the beauty in ideas, leading us on a journey through the abstract which ultimately unveils his cinematic vision.


MADRES (MOTHERS)

Argentina
Director: Eduardo Félix Walger.


The white scarves of the Mothers of the Disappeared are the universal symbol of the struggle for human rights. State terrorism in Argentina was based on the forced disappearance of people. The love for their absent children led them to overcome their fear and move into the political and economic centre of the country, confronting a totalitarian and brutal power unarmed. Today they preserve the identity of their sons with their cry “30,000 detained disappeared, present, now and always”.


THE PRINCESS OF NEBRASKA

USA
Director: Wayne Wang.
Cast: Ling Li, Brian Danforth, Pamelyn Chee, Patrice Binaisa


The Princess of Nebraska follows twenty-four hours in the life of Sasha, a young Chinese woman who is four months pregnant, through a fling back in Beijing. Interrupting her first year of college in Omaha, Nebraska, she travels to San Francisco to abort the child and confront her lover's male friend. A film in unusual format by the director of Smoke (1993) and Chinese Box (1995).


QUERIDA BAMAKO

Spain
Directors: Omer Oke and Txarli Llorente.
Cast: Djédjé Apali, Esther Vallés, Gorsy Edu.


Moussa is a young boy from Burkina Faso. He was born and lives in the same village as his parents, his family and his wife, Fatima, although he prefers to call her “Bamako”, because it’s there, in the capital of Mali, that he met her before they married and had a baby, Mamadou. Although the land gives them just enough to survive, the precarious balance has recently been upset by a long drought. Driven by the responsibility of helping his family, and having asked the elders of his hamlet for their opinion, Moussa decides to immigrate to Europe.


YOUNG YAKUZA

France
Director: Jean-Pierre Limosin


Juvenile delinquency in Japan has increased dramatically over the past ten years. Naoki, 20 years old, is caught up in this way of life. His record is dismal; he has failed at school, at work and in his personal life. Not long ago, Naoki decided to try to make a living from crime, much to his mother’s despair.
On the advice of a friend, she is handing over her son to the Japanese Mafia for one year. For the first time, a door is opened into the secret world of the Japanese Yakuza, challenging the preconceived ideas of this feared society and experiencing with Naoki the reality of his initiation through the four seasons. Naoki will have to choose between the darkness and the light... From the director of Tokyo Eyes (1998).



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