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65th San Sebastian Film Festival
22/30 September 2017 - #65ssiff

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You are in: Home > 2018. 66th Edition  > Festival Diary > San Sebastian Festival 2018: Deals, Co-pros, Female Directors, TV, Mulling the Digital FutureAward
Festival Diary » Industria
San Sebastian Festival 2018: Deals, Co-pros, Female Directors, TV, Mulling the Digital FutureAward
Saturday, September 29th, 2018

San Sebastian wraps Saturday after nine days of sun, festival hits, deals and intense business discussions about gender parity and the future for Spanish-language-film-making in an industry ever more dominated by digital platforms and fast consolida­ting conglom-studio combos.

Seven takeaways from this year’s edition.


The festival’s banner deal saw Film Factory Ent. seal world sales on San Sebastian Co-Production Forum win­ner La Llorona, from Ixcanul director Jayro Bustamente, about a mother ready to wreak vengeance on the ne­ver-punished soldier-now politician, who killed her children.

Multiple sales agents’ deals went down —or were announced— on still available festival titles in the run-up to or at Toronto and San Sebastian. Luxbox (Rojo), Indie Sales (Core of the World), Latido (Happiness), Loco Films (Journey to a Mother’s Room), Filmax (Between Two Waters), Media Luna (I Hate New York) all unveiled acquisitions. As the arthouse thea­trical market contracts, festivals ha­ve become more important as sa­les vehicles.


San Sebastian’s signature of a gen­der parity charter was one of the best attended press conferences, but there’s also excitement about mo­vies from women directors. Celia Ri­co’s Journey to a Mother’s Room cu­rrently heads San Sebastian’s Youth Award votes. Clara Roquet’s Liber­tad won a co-production forum prize. Madrid’s Latido Films announced ri­ghts to movies by two first-time wo­men filmmakers: Camila Urrutia’s Pol­vora en el corazón, and La casa de los conejos, from Valeria Selinger. That reflects Latido’s conviction that the­re’s really a market for movies by up-and-coming women directors.


Netflix promoted Roma with the fes­tival’s biggest billboard and sneak-peaked excerpts from Elisa & Mar­cela from Isabel Coixet. Launching its first European production hub in Madrid, Netflix, and now Amazon Pri­me Video and YouTube Premium look set to become integral parts of Spain and Latin America’s production sec­tor. As San Sebastian headed into its final straits, Reed Hastings announ­ced in Paris that he had cut a check for France’s public-sector CNC film-TV agency on a sum equivalent to 2% of Netflix annual revenues in France. How or if investment quotas are levied on digital platforms across Europe is now a hot button regulatory issue on Europe’s regulatory film and TV table.


Netflix’s frenemy in Spain, Movistar +, forms part of the by-far biggest push by any telecom in Europe into origi­nal series production. San Sebastian stood that out, world premiering two new Movistar + scripted shows. Filte­ring the personal stories of Ava Gard­ner’s domestic entourage in a 1961 Madrid via a modern feminist prism, comedy thriller “Arde Madrid” was greeted as “brilliant and cynical” by Spain’s “El País.”

Alternatively set in a modern-day Madrid, Enrique Urbizu’s “Gigan­tes” weighed in as a brutal, despai­ring crime family parable on the legacy of violence, passed from a heartlessly­ cruel father to his three sons. Jour­nalists’ most common comment at San Sebastian was that they couldn’t stop watching the series, which bo­des well for its SVOD consumption from October on Movistar +.


Netflix and Movistar + investment is galvanizing Spain’s production sec­tor. How can companies that don’t snag their finance compete? The most common answer is now co-produc­tion, allowing companies to bulk up on budgets and access overseas dis­tribution and expertise. It is no coin­cidence that this year’s 7th Europe Latin America Co-production Forum was the strongest yet in projects and companies attending. The biggest regulatory deal signed at San Se­bastian was a new Argentina-Spain co-production treaty, introducing the possibility of financial co-productions and extending the legislation to TV.


Further deals announcements:

*Sony Pictures Television Latin America has acquired Lucho Smok’s Chilean romantic comedy Swing, sold by Switzerland-based KAF *Latido Films closed a slew of deals before and during the Spa­nish Festival.

*KAF also inked Chinese rights with Beijing Hugoeast Media to Flo­rencia Percia’s Argentine drama Ce­táceos. Agosto Final, directed by Eduardo Sánchez, was licensed to South Korea’s Kim laon-i.

*FM Produçoes scored several deals. With Chilean Karina July’s outfit Atomica Films, it has teamed to co-produce Malu Martino’s dra­ma Clamor, written by Dominga So­tomayor (Too Late to Die Young,). Given the increasing relationship with the European market, FM has decided to open a Madrid-based company in January.

*Pedro Peira, CEO of Madrid’s production-sales company Festi­mania, signed an all-rights deal wi­th MM Square Film to distribute in Taiwan Angel Parra and José An­tonio Blanco’s documentary Soul.

*Theatrically released in Ja­pan last weekend with 16 prints through distributor Medallion Me­dia, Soul has been acquired by Au­tograph Hotels by Marriott in a global deal closed after Toronto. In about one month, Festimania starts to lens the feature Ruscalleda, based on the life of prestigious Catalan chef Carme Ruscalleda.

*Miami’s Somos TV has acquired U.S. rights to Josué Ramos’s Ba­jo la rosa, a thriller starring Pedro Casablanc. The film has also been taken by Cinemundo in Portugal, where, previous to its commercial Portuguese release, it screens at the upcoming Mostra de Cinema Espanhol. Virtual Cinema has pic­ked up Chinese rights and Filmboy nabbed Greece.


Many of the around 1,600 industry execs at San Sebastian will meet again at December’s Ventana Sur in Buenos Aires. Latin America’s bi­ggest movie-TV meet-mart, a joint venture of Argentina’s INCAA and the Cannes Festival and Film Mar­ket, announced at San Sebastian a new showcase for six unseen featu­re projects, which will be pitched to attendees. “The market is moving from completed projects to [secu­ring] films before. Blood Window and Animation! already have project pit­ches, live-action feature films require them too,” said Cannes Film Market director Jerôme Paillard.

John Hopewell, Emilio Mayorga Jamie Lang


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© San Sebastian International Film Festival | Developed by: Yo Miento Producciones

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