Thirteen films from 15 countries will compete for the Kutxabank-New Directors Award at the 69th edition of San Sebastian Festival taking place from September 17-25, 2021.
Following its screening at Sundance Festival, actor Fran Kranz will screen in New Directors his first film as a filmmaker, Mass, a work about forgiveness and guilt with a cast featuring Reed Birney, Ann Dowd, Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton.
Philippe Grégoire is another filmmaker who will present his feature film debut in New Directors. Having participated in over a hundred festivals with his shorts, the Canadian will compete with Le bruit des moteurs / The Noise of Engines, an auto-fiction based on his past experience working as a customs agent to cover the cost of enrolling at film school.
The Turkish filmmaker Selman Nacar directs İki Şafak Arasında / Between Two Dawns, focusing on concepts of conscience, family, and justice; Slovenian Darko Sinko, director and producer of documentaries and short films, first feature Inventura / Inventory follows a man, who after a tragical event learns that his life might be an illusion and that more people might hate him than he imagined.
New Directors will also include the first-time feature of Korea’s Hong Sung-eun, who in Hon-ja Sa-neun Sa-ram-deul / Aloners follows the adventures of a woman whose life changes when her neighbour is found dead in his apartment; and Argentine Mara Pescio will present Ese fin de semana / That Weekend, about a mother’s reunion with her daughter after a long time without seeing each other.
Javier Marco, who also comes with long experience in the field of short films –he landed the Goya Award with A la cara (2020)– will participate with Josefina / Josephine, a story written by Belén Sánchez-Arévalo starring Emma Suárez and Roberto Álamo; and the Uruguayan Agustín Banchero will present Las vacaciones de Hilda / Hilda’s Short Summer about a lonely woman who relives memories of a summer in the past.
Russian director Lena Lanskih, who has written and directed short films shown at various festivals, will participate with her first feature film, Nich’ya / Unwanted, which follows the adventures of an adolescent faced with all sorts of problems when she has an unwanted child.
Among those to present their second features in New Directors are the Colombian Juan Sebastián Mesa, who, after winning the Audience Award at the Venice International Film Critics’ Week with his debut, Los nadie (2016), will participate with La roya / The Rust, a tale of rural identity.
The Romanian Emanuel Parvu, who has also worked as an actor with directors including Cristian Mungiu, Adrian Sitaru and Constantin Popescu, bagged the best director and actor awards at Sarajevo Festival with his debut, Meda or The Not So Bright Slide of Things (2017) and will now compete at San Sebastian with Marocco / Mikado, a film about decisions, distrust and guilt.
Having participated in New Directors with Tigre (2017), Argentine Silvina Schnicer and the Catalonian settled in Buenos Aires, Ulises Porra, returns to the section with Carajita, following the breakdown of the relationship between a young girl and the nursemaid who raised her.
The Chinese filmmaker Sun Liang, whose first work Kill the Shadow (2017) was selected for Montreal and Shanghai, among other festivals, will compete with Shu Qi Shi Guang / Lost in Summer, about a teenage boy struggling to deal with the confusion in his life.
2021 San Sebastian Festival Kutxabank-New Directors Lineup
SILVINA SCHNICER (ARGENTINA), ULISES PORRA (ARGENTINA)
Country(ies) of production: Dominican Republic – Argentina
Cast: Cecile Van Welie, Magnolia Núñez, Adelanny Padilla, Genesis Buret, Javier Hermida, Richard Douglas, Clara Luz Lozano, Yuberbi De La Rosa
Sara (17) and her nanny Yarisa (36) have a relationship that seems to transcend their class conditions: they are the closest thing to a daughter-mother, but an accident will test their intimate loyalty and the innocent illusion of never separating. Second feature film by its directors.
ESE FIN DE SEMANA / THAT WEEKEND
MARA PESCIO (ARGENTINA)
Country(ies) of production: Argentina – Brazil
Cast: Miss Bolivia, Irina Misisco, Laura KramerVI Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum
Julia returns to the neighbourhood she left years ago after being swindled. She’s here to sign a travel permit, but more than anything she’s come back to recover that money which would solve a lot of her problems. The reunion with her past is nothing like she expected it to be. Debut film.
HON-JA SA-NEUN SA-RAM-DEUL / ALONERS
HONG SUNG-EUN (SOUTH KOREA)
Country(ies) of production: South Korea
Cast: Gong Seung-yeon, Jung Da-eun, Seo Hyun-woo, Park Jeong-hak, Kim Hannah, Kim Mo-beom
Jina is the best employee at a credit card company call center. She avoids building close relationships, choosing instead to live and work alone. Jina maintains her solitary lifestyle well until her irritating neighbor, who would attempt to strike up conversations with her, is discovered dead a few days after his lonely death. From that moment, tons of relationships she decided to ignore suddenly start to bug her: her father hounding her over her mother’s inheritance, Sujin, a new recruit, who is bothersome but likeable, and nonchalant Seonghun, her new neighbor. Debut film.
İKI ŞAFAK ARASINDA / BETWEEN TWO DAWNS
SELMAN NACAR (TURKEY)
Country(ies) of production: Turkey – France – Romania – Spain
Cast: Mücahit Koçak, Nezaket Erden, Burcu GölgedarWIP Europa 2020
After a worker is severely injured in their family business, Kadir is forced into making a moral decision, which will have an impact on his dreams, his family and the life of the injured worker’s wife. Debut film. WIP Europa Industry Award and WIP Europa Award in 2020.
INVENTURA / INVENTORY
DARKO SINKO (SLOVENIA)
Country(ies) of production: Slovenia
Cast: Rados Bolčina, Dejan Spasić, Mirel KnezWIP Europa 2020
Boris Robic is, as we say, an ordinary kind of bloke. One evening, however, someone tries to shoot him. The investigations reveal nothing. No enemies, no suspects. You could say that Boris is the last person anyone would want to kill. After the police close the investigation, Boris decides to make his own enquiries. As he searches for the suspect, we see the tragi-comedy unfold of a man who discovers that a lot more people hate him than he ever realised, and that the way he sees his own life was an illusion. Debut film.
JOSEFINA / JOSEPHINE
JAVIER MARCO (SPAIN)
Country(ies) of production: Spain
Cast: Emma Suárez, Roberto Álamo, Miguel Bernardeau, Olivia Delcán
Juan, a prison officer, silently observes the visit every Sunday of Berta, mother of one of the imates. The day he finally approaches her, he surprises himself by pretending to be another visiting father and inventing a daughter inside the jail: Josefina. The need to fill the vacuum of their lives prompts Juan and Berta to continue meeting outside the reality around them. Debut film.
LA ROYA / THE RUST
JUAN SEBASTIÁN MESA (COLOMBIA)
Country(ies) of production: Colombia – France
Cast: Juan Daniel Ortíz, Paula Andrea Cano, Laura GutierrezVI Europe-Latin America Co-production ForumWIP Latam 2020
Jorge is the only one of his generation who has decided to stay in the countryside. The local festivities are just round the corner, and with them comes the reunion with his ex-girlfriend Andrea, back from the city. Her arrival throws him into physical and mental torment. Second feature film by its director.
LAS VACACIONES DE HILDA / HILDA´S SHORT SUMMER
AGUSTÍN BANCHERO (URUGUAY)
Country(ies) of production: Uruguay – Brazil
Cast: Carla Moscatelli, Edgardo Castro, Gabriel VillanuevaFilms in Progress 36
Hilda is a lonely woman who lives in the town of Concepción, Uruguay. She intentionally breaks any type of emotional relationship with the people in her close environment. Her life is interrupted by the notice that her son is coming to visit after several years. So she begins preparations to improve her house, since her whole life has declined in recent times. Close to the date of his visit, he cancels the trip and postpones it indefinitely. Now Hilda must relive a summer of her past. Debut film.
LE BRUIT DES MOTEURS / THE NOISE OF ENGINES
PHILIPPE GRÉGOIRE (CANADA)
Country(ies) of production: Canada
Cast: Robert Naylor, Tanja Björk, Marie-Thérèse Fortin, Alexandrine Agostini, Naïla Rabel, Marc Beaupré, Maxime Genois
Alexandre, an instructor at the Canadian customs college, will finds himself under surveillance by police investigators trying to get to the bottom of the sexually explicit drawings that have been troubling the town. Debut film.
MAROCCO / MIKADO
EMANUEL PARVU (ROMANIA)
Country(ies) of production: Romania
Cast: Serban Pavlu, Ana Indricau, Crina Semciuc
One day, teenager Magda offers her expensive necklace to a sick child in the hospital she volunteers for- her father is certain she is lying again. When she proves her innocence, he is ashamed and guilty but also incapable to admit he was wrong. Relationships are now broken and in chaos, and past decisions have irreversible outcome. Second feature film by its director.
FRAN KRANZ (USA)
Country(ies) of production: USA
Cast: Reed Birney, Ann Dowd, Jason Isaacs, Martha Plimpton
Years after an unspeakable tragedy tore their lives apart, two sets of parents (Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton, Reed Birney and Ann Dowd) agree to talk privately in an attempt to move forward. Debut film.
NICH’YA / UNWANTED
LENA LANSKIH (RUSSIA)
Country(ies) of production: Russia
Cast: Olga Malahova, Vladimir Shabelnikov, Tatiana Tihmeneva, Slava Baranov, Ivan Ivashov, Tatiana Vorotnikova
Fourteen-year-old Vika lives in a small provincial town in Russia’s Ural region. She picks wild berries that grow on the wetlands and helps her mom sell them in the street market. She enjoys choreography classes in school. And she has a baby that nobody should ever know about. Debut film.
SHU QI SHI GUANG / LOST IN SUMMER
SUN LIANG (CHINA)
Country(ies) of production: China
Cast: Yue Xiaoke, Yang Bo
In the summer after high school, a teenage boy who confronts with his life confusion tries everything to find a way out but fails, including a murder. Second feature film by its director.