More industry activity and new projects announced in Spain including a Fernando Trueba-Penélope Cruz reunion.

If the jury vote echoes the buzz, François Ozon’s In The House will win the Golden Shell on Saturday. This thriller based on a Juan Mayorga play starring Fabrice Luchini is the favourite in San Sebastian. Blancanieves (pictured), following its positive reception in Toronto, has also enjoyed a great welcome.

On Wednesday (26) Bahman Ghobadi’s new feature Rhino Season, about repression of artists in Iran, also met with applause. The film is poised to sell to buyers in Spain and France, among others.

Other highlights of the festival have been Ben Affleck’s Argo and Emily Tang’s All Apologies. Expectations are high in advance of the Thursday screening of J Bayona’s new film The Impossible, which was one of the critical hits of Toronto.

Sales agents are confident that at they will close deals by the end of the festival.  “There are more buyers than in Venice”, said Eva Diederix of Elle Driver. Gael Nouaille of Wild Bunch, which has 11 films in the festival this year, added: “There is a huge presence of industry this year and we are seeing better quality of films.”

San Sebastian attendees heard of Fernando Trueba’s plans for his next film La Reina De España (The Queen Of Spain), which sees him reunite with Penélope Cruz 14 years after The Girl Of Your Dreams. The film will be a sequel of that international hit and Cruz will play a famous actress who acts in a Hollywood production set during 1950s Spain. The cast includes Antonio Resines and Santiago Segura.

Trueba also announced a new project with Javier Mariscal after the Oscar nominated Chico & Rita. Los Garriris is an adaptation of a comic book that Mariscal began in the 1970s. Mariscal and Trueba are also producing Tenorio, about a pianist who disappeared under the Argentinian dictatorship in the 1970s.

Cinema In Motion, the section designed to help unfinished films from Arab and African countries, already has winners. The Golden Calf, a co-production between France and Morocco directed by Hassan Legzouli, has won $19,000 and a 35mm copy without subtitles. The film tells the story of a 17-year-old boy from Morocco who dreams of going to France and reuniting with his girlfriend.

The second prize went to Waves, an Egypt-Morocco co-production from Ahmed Nour. It will receive $13,000 for completing post-production.