Basque Telmo Esnal’s Dantza, Erased, from Slovene produ- cer-turned-director Miha Mazzini, and A Decent Man, the debut of Romania’s Hadrian Marcu, make up the first Glocal in Progress competition, a showcase for films in post-production made in Europe but not in one of its “big six” languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Russian.
An initiative backed passionately by the Basque Government, celebrating its first edition, Glocal in Progress adds another industry strand to San Sebastian’s already fecund Industry Days, running Sept. 24-27, which attract hordes of producers to its Europe-Latin American Co-production, which highlights 16 project from leading production houses in Latin America, and Films in Progress, another pix-in-post section – and one of the most established in Europe – focusing on Latin American movies. Going into San Sebastián, industry attendees stood at 1,611, up on Locarno, comparable to the Venice Festival and a robust 30% increase on 2010.
Titles at Films in Progress – Gloria, Ixcanul – have gone on to win big prizes at big tests and sell world- wide. Glocal in Progress also helps to position Basque Cinema and its leading production houses, whose latest movies are adding a new im- pulse at San Sebastian, in a clearly pan-European context and to open up opportunities for international co-production. Last year’s Glocal in Progress meeting saw Basque produ- cer Eduardo Carneros, Spain’s Tornasol Films and Iceland’s RVK Stu- dios, headed by Baltasar Kormakur, announce a co-production deal on Koldo Serra’s Red Fjords.
“The challenge for Basque-langua- ge cinema isn’t production, but the size of our domestic market. The same goes for Iceland, for instance. Local in Progress supplies an indus- trial meeting point,” says Rebordinos.
Dantza is written and directed by Telmo Esnai, whose social satire Aupa Etxebeste!, co-directed with Asier Altuna, won San Sebastian’s Youth Award in 2005 and brought down the flag on a modern Basque-language cinema, aimed at ample audiences.
A fiction feature set in an atemporal rural world, Dantza is produced by Txintxua Films, created by Altuna and producer Marián Fernández Pascal whose credits include Altuna’s San Sebastian 2015 competition player Amama and Ghost Ship, screened in the festival’s Zabaltegi section.
A “heavily aestheticized musical,” said Fernández, Dantza proposes an act of revisionism of traditional Basque dance, aiming to suggest the sophistication and universal relevance of its sophisticated symbolism in a film of high production values fit, as Carlos Saura’s dance films, with which it is likely to draw compari- son, for international export.
Glocal in Progress also taps in- to industries which have grown robustly in recent years, led by a new generation of filmmakers which have a sense of common identity – catnip for critics – and a core of highly talented filmmakers which have achieved world fame, at least on art film circuits.
Such is the case of the so-called Romanian New Wave, which has seen production rise to 49 movies produced last year, the second-hi- ghest in Central and South East Europe. Produced by Romania’s 4 Proof Film, in co-production with Poland’s Madants, A Decent Man delivers a sense of the limited life perspectives in contemporary Romania through the tale of a man who is about to have a child with his girlfriend while still carrying on with one of his work colleagues.
Directed by Mazzini, who produced 2001’s Sweet Dreams, Erased, a Slovenia-Croatia-Serbia co-production, also has a Romanian touch to it in its vision of a Kafkian bureaucracy which suddenly denationali- zes a Slovene woman who has just given birth. That means that legally she doesn’t exist in Slovenia: So her newborn child is an orphan, who should be given up for adoption.