San Sebastian announces more Competition titles

James Franco, Diego Lerman and Barbara Albert join line-up

by Amber Wilkinson

The Disaster Artist is heading to won San Sebastian's Golden Shell
The Disaster Artist is heading to won San Sebastian's Golden Shell Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
San Sebastian Film Festival announced a selection of the films that will compete at its 65th edition this September - including features from James Franco, Alexandros Avranas, Diego Lerman and Barbara Albert.

Other directors in contention for the Golden Shell include Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano Matt Porterfield and Ivana Mladenovic..

Franco puts himself in front of the camera for his latest film, comedy The Disaster Artist, starring as Tommy Wiseau, the director of the "Citizen Kane of bad movies" The Room. The film showed as a work in progress at SXSW with considerable success and will have its world premiere in Toronto.

Also heading to the festival after a premiere in Canada is Mademoiselle Paradis (Licht), a historical drama about a blind piano prodigy, directed by Austrian filmmaker Albert, who previously competed at the festival with The Dead And The Living (Die Lebende).

Lerman, whose films The Invisible Eye (La Mirada Invisible) and Refugiado both screened in the Horizontes Latinos section of the festival, moves up to the main competition with his fifth feature A Sort Of Family (Una especie De Familia), and Venice Silver Lion winner Alexandros Avranas brings Love Me Not, about a couple who hire a surrogate mother.

Nakache and Toledano, who closed the 2011 and 2014 festivals with The Intouchables and Sama respectively, return with C'est La Vie! (Le Sense De La Fete), a comedy set at a frenzied wedding in an 18th century French castle.

Other titles announced today - which brings the total of titles currently in the section to 15 include Soldiers. Story From Ferentari (Soldaţii. Poveste din Ferentari), the tale a young anthropologist writing a study on pop music among the Roma - the feature debut from Ivana Mladenovic and Matt Porterfield's Sollers Point about a small-time drug dealer under house arrest and starring McCaul Lombardi and James Belushi.

The full list of additional films is below (descriptions provided by the festival)

The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Le Lion Est Mort Ce Soir), Nobuhiro Suwa (France - Japan)
Cast: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Pauline Etienne

South of France. Present day. Jean, an ageing actor caught by the past, settles himself secretly in an abandoned house where Juliette, the great love of his life, once lived. A group of young friends discover the same house, the perfect set to shoot their next horror movie. Jean and the yoiungsters will meet face to face eventually.

C'est La Vie! (Le Sens De La Fête), Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano (France)
Cast: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Gilles Lellouche, Suzanne Clément, Jean-Paul Rouve

For the happy couple this is the biggest night of their lives. But it’s just another of many for Max, from the catering company, Guy the photographer, James the singer, and everyone else working at the event. Pierre and Hélène have decided to celebrate their marriage in a beautiful 18th century castle on the outskirts of Paris. We follow the occasion from its preparation until the sun comes up, almost in real time, but only seen through the eyes of those working at the marriage. This will be a night full of surprises.

Mademoiselle Paradis (Licht), Barbara Albert (Austria, Germany)
Cast: Maria Dragus, Devid Striesow, Katja Kolm, Lukas Miko, Maresi Riegner, Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg, Susanne Wuest, Stefanie Reinsperger, Christoph Luser

Vienna, 1777. The blind 18-year-old 'Wunderkind' pianist Maria Theresia Paradis lost her eyesight overnight when she was three years old. After countless failed medical experiments, her parents take her to the estate of controversial 'miracle doctor' Franz Anton Mesmer, where she joins a group of outlandish patients. She enjoys the liberal household in a Rococo world and tastes freedom for the first time, but begins to notice that as Mesmer's treatment brings back her eyesight, she is losing her cherished musical virtuosity…

Love Me Not, Alexandros Avranas (Greece, France)
Cast: Eleni Roussinou, Christos Loulis

A couple hires a young migrant to be their surrogate mother and moves her to their beautiful villa. While the man is away for work, the woman and the girl start to bond and enjoy the couple's wealthy way of life. But behind her forced cheerfulness, the woman seems more and more depressed. After a few drinks with the girl, she goes for a drive. The next morning, her husband gets a call: his wife is dead.

Soldiers. Story From Ferentari (Soldaţii. Poveste Din Ferentari), Ivana Mladenovic (Romania, Serbia, Belgium)
Cast: Adrian Schiop, Vasile Pavel-Digudai, Stefan Iancu, Nicolae Marin-Spaniolul, Kana Hashimoto, Dan Bursuc

Adi (40), a young anthropologist recently left by his girlfriend, moves to Ferentari (the poorest neighborhood in Bucharest) to write a study on manele music (the pop music of the Roma community). While researching his subject, he meets Alberto, a Roma ex-convict who promises to help him. Soon, the two begin a romance in which Adi feeds Alberto improbable plans to escape poverty while Alberto reciprocates with well-concocted phrases of love. When the money runs out, trouble brews.

Sollers Point, Matt Porterfield (USA, France)
Cast: McCaul Lombardi, Jim Belushi, Zazie Beetz On probation and living in his father's house after a year of incarceration, 24-year-old Keith navigates his deeply stratified Baltimore neighbourhood in search of work and something to give his life new meaning. Though the outside world provides its own share of threats, Keith's greatest enemies are the demons he harbours within.

The Disaster Artist, James Franco (USA)
Cast: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, Jacki Weaver, Ari Graynor, Jason Mantzoukas

James Franco’s The Disaster Artist is the true story of the making of the film The Room, which has been called "the Citizen Kane of bad movies". Tommy Wiseau’s cult classic has been screening to sold-out audiences nationwide for more than a decade. Franco directed The Disaster Artist from a screenplay by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, based on the book by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. Franco leads the cast, along with Dave Franco and Seth Rogen.

A Sort Of Family (Una Especie De Familia), Diego Lerman (Argentina, Brazil, Poland, France)
Cast: Bárbara Lennie, Daniel Araoz, Claudio Tolcachir, Yanina Ávila

Malena is a middle-class doctor in Buenos Aires. One afternoon she receives a call from Dr Costas, telling her she must leave immediately for the north of the country: the baby she was expecting is about to be born. Suddenly and almost without a thought, Malena decides to set out on an uncertain voyage, packed with crossroads at which she has to deal with all sorts of legal and moral obstacles to the extent that she constantly asks herself to what limits she is prepared to go to get the thing she wants most.

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