Jose Campanella’s The Secret Of Their Eyes has emerged as the frontrunner for the Golden Shell just days after the San Sebastian International Film Festival kicked off (September 18).

The romantic crime drama screened on Sunday and was praised by both the press and the public. Latido Films, which is handling sales, has confirmed to ScreenDaily that is has now secured distribution deals for Mexico (Gussi Films), Scandinavia (Sandro Metronome) and deals for the UK, France and Latin America are imminent.

Fernando Trueba’s emotional heist drama Dancer And The Thief, which had its world premiere in the official selection on Saturday, has also emerged as one of the festival’s stand-out titles. Spanish outfit 6 Sales said that it is in ongoing discussions with several potential buyers.

Dancer And The Thief is competing against Isabel Coixet’s Cannes title Map Of The Sounds Of Tokyo and Daniel Sanchez Arevalo’s comedy Fat People (Gordos) to be selected as a nominee for the foreign-language Oscars, while The Secret Of Their Eyes is hotly tipped to be Argentina’s entry.

Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt provided the glitz and glamour with their arrival in this small Basque town for the screening of Inglorious Basterds, while Atom Egoyan’s opening film Chloe was well received but lacked star presence.

Meanwhile, director Mohamed Al-Daradji has picked up the Cinema In Motion award for this film In The Sands Of Babylon. The Iraq-set film is backed by UK-based production company, Human Films. The award carries a $15,000 (€10,000) prize towards the cost of post production in France from the Centre National de Cinema, a further $26,000 (€17,500) towards mixing work and subtitling, and two 35mm copies of the film.

The Films In Progress, one of the festival’s key draws, will kick off today (September 22) and is expected to ignite a flurry of interest from investors, buyers and producers looking for incomplete projects to support. In previous years, films in this section have gone on to screen at key festivals and sold well internationally including last year’s Chilean-Mexican drama La Nana.