San Sebastian filmfestival will open with the premiere of Spanish director MontxoArmendariz's Obaba, which willalso compete for the Golden Shell award.

Armendariz's highly-anticipated feature marks a move back towardslocal directors after last year's high profile San Sebastian opener, Woody Allen's Melinda And Melinda

Obaba stars Pilar Lopez de Ayala, Juan Diego Botta, Barbara Lenni and MercedesSampietro and was shot by cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe. It is an adaptionof Basque writer Bernardo Atxaga's Ababakoak and isan impressionistic, magical realist view of a mythical country (Obaba) told through a number of stories in flashback. Oria Films produced with backing from Sogecableand Spanish broadcaster TVE.

The 56-year-old Armendariz is a San Sebastian stalwart, taking the Golden Shell in 1992with Cartas de Alou andthe Silver Shell in 1986 for 27 Horas. His Tasio won the FIPRESCI prize in 1984 and he sat on the juryin 1995.

The 53rd San Sebastian filmfestival, which also this year will feature tributes to Robert Wise and AbelFerrara, wraps on September 24.