A European-friendly edition
by Vitor Pinto
The final countdown has begun for the 54th San Sebastian International Film Festival, which opens tonight in the Kursaal centre with the screening of Ghosts by Nick Broomfield. The British docudrama about the death of 23 Chinese illegal immigrants in the UK in 2004 seems to perfectly incarnate the main themes of this year's programme: the approach towards the subject of emigration and the valorisation of non-fiction as film genre.
Ghosts, which was backed by Channel 4 (the same channel behind Berlin-awarded The Road to Guantanamo, another film destroying the boundaries between reality and fiction) is the first of 13 European titles presented in the official section of the festival, which seems to be very Europe-friendly this year.
In fact, not only are most of the films in the programme are European productions or co-productions (see news), with fewer Northern and Southern American films than in the previous years, the festival also includes several parallel activities especially tailored to members of the European film industry.
On September 23, the Executive Agency of the MEDIA Programme will hold an information session designed for independent European distributors. The European and Mediterranean Films Crossing Borders seminars will take place on Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24. The members of the European Producers Club will also meet on Sunday for a work session.
September 25 features the meeting of the General Directors of Cinemas (EFAD) of the 25 EU countries, while on September 26 a restaurant near the Kursaal centre will host a French/Spanish co-production lunch, organised by the Madrid Film Commission and the Commission du Film d'Ile de France (see news).
These meetings are like a taste of the main events menu of Europe Day (September 28). The day‘s programme opens with a Forum on Trans-Pyrenean co-productions and will also include Daniele Nerenzi’s presentation of an inedited script by Fellini entitled "Bentornato Signor Gai", a meeting with Eurimages Executive Secretary General Jan Vandierendonck and the ceremony for European Personality Award of the Year, which will go to Cineuropa's honorary president Luciana Castellina (see news).
The European tone of the festival is also manifested by the members of the Official Jury, which includes French diva Jeanne Moreau (president), Portuguese Nobel Prize winner José Saramago, Spanish directors Manuel Gómez Pereira and Isabel Coixet, Swiss-born actor Bruno Ganz, Brazilian filmmaker Bruno Barreto and US actress/director Sara Driver.
The festival closes on September 30 with the awards ceremony for the coveted Golden Shell, which last year went to Czech film Something Like Happiness [+see also:
interview: Bohdan Slama
interview: Pavel Strnad
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