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Both San Sebastian and Venice will host the premiere of important Spanish films, but also television series, which are becoming increasingly prominent in international film meetings.

San Sebastian and Venice welcome outstanding Spanish productions

It's the spirit of the times. The premieres in the Official Section of San Sebastian, of the original Movistar Plus series "Antidisturbios” (Riot Police), by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, and "Patria” (Homeland), by HBO Europe, created by Aitor Gabilondo, will be two of the great presentations of the San Sebastian festival, the main film event in the world in the Spanish language.

Beyond the protagonism of the series, the presence of Spanish cinema continues to be very powerful in San Sebastian, which is celebrating its 68th edition from September 18th to 26th.

In the Official Section, "Akelarre", a co-production with France and Argentina by Basque companies Kowalski Films and Lamia Producciones through the EIG Sorgin Films  will be competing for the Golden Shell. Directed by Argentine Pablo Agüero, "Akelarre" won the International Art Kino Award in 2017 at the festival's Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum.

Also participating is "Courtroom 3H," the third feature film by Antonio Méndez Esparza, a Spanish filmmaker based in the United States. A co-production of Aquí y Allí Films with 9AM Media Lab, a Miami-based production company whose international sales are managed by Spanish agency Feelsales.

This is the third feature film by Méndez Esparza, who won the Grand Prize at Cannes' Critics Week with "Here and There" (2012) and with "Life and Nothing More," which was part of the Official Section at San Sebastian in 2017, and received the Fipresci Award and the John Cassavetes Award at the Spirit Awards.

"The San Sebastian Film Festival makes perfect sense when it is really useful for the Spanish film industry. It is essential that the industry feels comfortable and that it can promote its films, exchange experiences and do business,” reflects José Luis Rebordinos, Director of the big San Sebastian event.

In addition, the films "Sentimental" by Cesc Gay, a production by Imposible Films and Sentimentalfilm AIE, which Filmax will distribute in Spain and sell internationally, and "My Heart Goes Boom!” by Uruguayan debut filmmaker Nacho Álvarez, which Tornasol Films is co-producing with the Italian company Índigo, as well as the Spanish-Chilean series "Inés of My Soul,” co-produced with Boomerang TV and Chilevisión, will have their world premiere at the traditional galas of RTVE, the festival's sponsor.

"Rifkin's Festival," Woody Allen's new film co-produced with the United States and Italy by The Mediapro Studio, will have a special screening out of competition, as will the series “Antidisturbios” and "Patria." The Movistar Gala will be dedicated to the series "Dime Quien soy” (Tell Me Who I Am), directed by Eduard Cortés, which Movistar is co-producing with Telemundo International Studios.

New Directors

The New Directors section, one of the most attractive displays of new talent in the European industry, will host three Spanish titles.

There, among those presenting their debut feature, will be Isabel Lamberti, a filmmaker born in Germany and raised in Spain and the Netherlands who will be attending with "Last Days of Spring," a combination of documentary and fiction set in the shantytown of Madrid's Cañada Real and co-produced by Tourmalet Films and the Netherlands.

Likewise, David Pérez Sañudo, who participated in the 2017 edition of Zinemira-Kimuak with the short film "It's Tight, but Hardly Chokes," presents "Ane," a feature film that won the Málaga Work in Progress, part of the MAFIZ Málaga Festival Industry Zone, where it was acquired by Latido Films to manage its international sales. Developed in The Screen's Incubator, an initiative of Madrid's ECAM, "Ane" is a production by the Basque company Amania Films.

In this edition, Imanol Rayo, winner of the Zinemira Award with "Two Brothers" (2011), will also return to San Sebastian. With "Death Knell,” he will take Miren Gorrotxategi's novel "33 ezkil" to the cinema.

Almodóvar and De la Iglesia Return to Venice

The Spanish protagonists at the Venice Film Festival will be Álex de la Iglesia and Pedro Almodóvar.

On this occasion, there will be a special screening out of competition of the first episode of the series "30 Coins," produced by De la Iglesia through Pokeepsie Films for HBO Europe, with the participation of HBO Latin America.

The Basque filmmaker will offer a special screening out of competition, of the first episode within the Official Selection, at the Lido. In the 2010 edition, De la Iglesia won the awards for best direction and best script with "Sad Trumpet Ballad."

"30 Coins," a horror series set in rural Spain, will also be part of the Official Section of the 53rd Sitges Festival, from October 8th to 18th.

Almodóvar's short film "The Human Voice," produced by Agustín Almodóvar and Esther García for El Deseo, and sold internationally by FilmNation Entertainment, will be presented in Venice out of competition.

Almodovar's first English-language title was shot in July and released in record time immediately after the pandemic shut down. It will have a length of nearly 30 minutes, freely adapting an original work by Jean Cocteau, with the actress Tilda Swinton as protagonist.

In Venice, Swinton will receive the Golden Lion in recognition for her professional career; the same award that was given to Almodóvar in the 2019 edition.

Pedro Collantes and Canary Islands-based production company Tourmalet Films' "The Art of Return," the first Spanish project selected at Venice's Biennale College Cinema, will premiere at the festival, which runs from September 2nd to 12th.

The protagonists of "The Art of Return" include Macarena García, Ingrid García-Jonsson and Celso Bugallo.