Highly anticipated features from Isabel Coixet, Lucía Puenzo and Jaione Camborda are among the buzziest Spanish and Latin American titles screening across all strands of this year’s San Sebastián film festival. Here is a flavour of what festival audiences can expect.
Dir: Dolores Fonzi
The debut feature from Argentinian actress Dolores Fonzi plays in the Horizontes Latinos section, which screens premieres entirely or partially produced in Latin America and not yet released in Spain. Fonzi also stars in the film which is about a woman’s close relationshp with her son, played by Toto Rovito. Fonzi has previously starred in three films in San Sebastian’s official selection; Fabián Bielinsky’s The Aura (2005), Cesc Gay’s Truman (2015) and Claudia Llosa’s Fever Dream (2021). Her work in Santiago Mitre’s Paulina (2015) also screened in Horizontes Latinos and Mitre is now a producer on Blondi. The film is produced by Argentina’s La Unión de los Ríos with the US’ Gran Via Productions and Spanish outfit Setembro Cine. Film Factory Entertainment is handling international sales.
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The Blue Star (Sp-Arg)
Dir Javier Macipe
Macipe’s debut feature premieres in the New Directors showcase and is lead produced by Spain’s MOD, regular producers of feted director Alejandro Amenábar and co-produced with Spain’s El Pez Amarillo and La Charito, and Argentina’s Cimarrón and Prisma. Inspired by the real life of Mauricio Aznar and his group Más Birras, The Blue Star is set in the 1990s and follows a Spanish rock star who travels around Latin America and meets an old musician down, prompting the birth of an unlikely duo. “The Blue Star tries to explore the moment between dreams and hyperrealism,” says Macipe of the film’s mood. Also handled by Film Factoroy.
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Los Impactados (Arg-US-Chile)
Dir Lucía Puenzo
One of Argentina’s most renowned directors, Puenzo brings her fifth film to Horizontes Latinos, a drama about the consequences of a lightning strike on a young woman who is experiencing some strange symptoms. Los Impactados stars Chilean actress Mariana Di Girólamo, whose credits include Pablo Larrain’s Ema, and is produced by Argentina’s Non Stop Studios, the US’s Exile Content Studio and Juan de Dios and Pablo Larraín’s Chile-based Fábula. Puenzo has previously won the Cannes’ Critics Week Grand Prize in 2007 for XXY, and Málaga’s Golden Biznaga for 2009’s The Fish Child.
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The Rye Horn (Sp-Port-Bel)
Dir Jaione Camborda
Set in the island of Arousa, off the coast of Galicia, in 1971, The Rye Horn is the second feature by San Sebastian-born director Jaione Camborda. It tells the story of an island woman who has to try to cross the border into Portugal after an unexpected event. Camborda won the best director award in the New Waves section of the Seville European Film Festival with her first feature, Arima in 2019 and took part in San Sebastián’s Ikusmira Berriak residency programme to help develop The Rye Horn.
Contact Films Boutique
The Settlers (Chile-Arg-UK-Tai-Fr-Den-Swe)
Dir Felipe Gálvez
Having premiered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard, The Settlers is Chile’s official Oscar entry, and is now being showcased in Horizontes Latinos. The film is the debut feature of Gálvez and is set at the dawn of the 20th century, when a wealthy landowner in Tierra de Fuego hires an English lieutenant and an American mercenary to open a route to the Atlantic for his sheep. His guide, a Chilean mestizo, will become an unwitting accomplice to a violent hunt for indigenous people. “The film kicks off from several questions about the past, but is also a film that refers to the present,” Gálvez says. Lead producer is Giancarlo Nasi’s Chile-based Quijote Films.
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Sultana’s Dream (Sp-Ger)
Dir Isabel Herguera
Sultana’s Dream is the only animation to play in competition and follows a Spanish artist living in India who stumbles upon a science fiction story about Ladyland — a utopian world where women rule the country while men are responsible for household chores. The story is based on a 1905 short story by Bangladeshi writer Begum Rokeya Hossain which, says Herguera, “fell into my hands by chance, while I was sheltering from the rain in a bookstore in India”. San Sebastian-born Herguera uses hand-drawn, 2D, digital and watercolour animation techniques. Austrian outfit Square Eyes has sales rights.
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They Shot the Piano Player (Sp-Fr-Neth)
Dir Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal
Fernando Trueba, the director of the Oscar-winning Belle Epoque reteams with graphic artist Javier Mariscal, following the Oscar-nominated Chico And Rita. the film is making is world premiere out of competition in San Sebastian. They Shot The Piano Player follows the explosion of Latino Bossa Nova in the 1960s and 1970s, told through the story of a Brazilian piano prodigy who mysterriously disappeared in 1976, Sony Pictures Classics bought US and key territories at Cannes.
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Dir Carolina Markowicz
The Brazilian director returns to San Sebastian with a story of a toll booth attendant who realises she can use her job to raise some extra money to send her son to an expensive gay conversion workshop led by a renowned foreign priest. Playing in Horizontes Latinos. Toll is produced by Brazil’s Biônica Filmes in association with Portugal’s O som e a Fúria. It made its world premiere at Toronto earlier this month where Markowicz was honoured with the TIFF Emerging Talent Award.
Un Amor (Spain)
Dir Isabel Coixet
The opening film of the festival is based on the acclaimed Spanish novel Un Amor by Sara Mesa and sees Coixet direct the story of a woman trying to start anew in a small mountain village. It is screening in competition and stars Laia Costa and Hovik Keuchkerian.. “I really liked how it explores the complexities of female desire,” explains Cosset of the novel. Film Constellation is handling international sales with BTeam Pictures distributing in Spain.
Contact Film Constellation