The Spanish festival unveiled several new competition titles, including new films from Diego Lerman, Barbara Albert and the directors of French mega-hit ‘Intouchables.’
James Franco’s buzzy comedy The Disaster Artist, which screened to rave reviews as a work-in-progress at South by Southwest this year, is heading to San Sebastian.
The Spanish A-list festival announced Friday the film, about the making of 2003 drama The Room, one of the worst films of all time, will screen in competition for San Sebastian’s coveted Golden Shell award.
The Toronto Film Festival were first on the Disaster Artist bandwagon. The film, directed by Franco, who also stars alongside brother Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie and Josh Hutcherson, will have its world premiere in Toronto as part of the festival’s Midnight Madness sidebar.
San Sebastian unveiled several other competition titles on Friday, most of them arthouse titles from acclaimed, or up-and-coming international directors. Austrian filmmaker Barbara Albert, last seen in San Sebastian with The Dead and the Living in 2012, returns with period drama Mademoiselle Paradis, the story of a young, blind pianist in 18th century Vienna.
Argentine director Diego Lerman, an international film fest regular, will bring his fifth feature Una especie de familia, to compete for the Golden Shell, as will Greek director Alexandros Avranas with Love Me Not, a drama about a couple who hire a surrogate mother. Avranas, who won the Best Director honor in Venice in 2013 for Miss Violence, made his English-language debut with last year’s True Crimes starring Jim Carrey and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Also returning to San Sebastian and French filmmakers Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, who closed the 2011 event with the world premiere of their comedy The Intouchables, kicking off that film’s international juggernaut success (with a world-wide gross of more than $400 million, the movie is the most successful French-language title of all time.) Nakache and Toledano, who also closed San Sebastian in 2014 with Samba, are hoping for another dose of Catalan magic for C’est la vie!, their latest, a comedy set against the backdrop of a frenzied wedding. The film will be the pair’s first to compete in San Sebastian.
Other competition titles announced Friday include The Lion Sleeps Tonight, the latest from Japan’s Nobuhiro Suwa (M/Other); Soldiers. Story from Ferentari, the feature film debut of Serbian director Ivana Mladenovic; and Sollers Point, a drama from American director Matt Poterfield starring McCaul Lombardi (American Honey) as a small-time drug dealer living under house arrest at the home of his father (James Belushi).
San Sebastian previously announced multiple Golden Shell contenders, including Antonio Mendez Esparza’s Life and Nothing More, Jon Garano and Aitor Arregi’s Handa and Wim Wenders’ Submergence, starring James McAvoy and Alicia Vikander, which will open the 65th San Sebastian Film Festival on Sept. 22.
San Sebastian will also be screening many of this year’s festival highlights, among them Cannes winner The Square and Ildiko Enyedi’s On Body and Soul, this year’s Golden Bear winner in Berlin. U.S. highlights include Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck, starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams; Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick with Kumail Nanjiani and Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name starring Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet.