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About Spain

News about Spanish film festivals and Spanish films participating worldwide

by Inés Barreda de Biurrun

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Candidates to XVI Sebastiane Award


This year, the Sebastiane Award celebrates its 16th year at the San Sebastian Festival; sixteen years of endeavouring to present its award to the production that best reflects the realities, freedoms and social progress made by LGBTI people. 

This collective and its particularities have remained hidden for years in both society and cinema. Today awards such as the Sebastiane at the leading Film Festivals seek to turn the spotlight on films that lend visibility to the LGBTI worlds. Productions of an increasingly excellent cinematic quality every year.

Along with the Sebastiane Award, we will present the 3rd Sebastiane Latino. This award, in keeping with San Sebastian Festival’s line of supporting Latin American cinema, chooses the best Latin LGBTI film of the year. The film by Marco Berger, Mariposa, will receive the Award on September the 20th and can be seen in the Zabaltegi section.


Among the films shortlisted for the XVI Sebastiane Award are hallowed filmmakers alongside new directors. The candidates are:

EL REY DE LA HABANA Official Selection

Director: Agustí Villaronga  Country: Spain – Dominican Rep.

Agustí Villaronga adapts the novel of the same name by Pedro Juan Gutiérrez. Recently escaped from reformatory, young Reinaldo tries to get by in the streets of Havana in the late 90s, one of the worst decades for Cuban society. Hopes, disillusionment, rum, good humour and above all hunger, accompany him in his wanderings until he meets Magda and Yunisleidy, survivors like himself. In one or the other’s arms, he will try to escape the material and moral misery surrounding him, living love, passion, tenderness and uninhibited sex to the limit.

FREEHELD Official Selection Director: Peter Sollett Country: USA

Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon, Steve Carell and Josh Charles star in this film based on true events. The true love story of Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree and their fight for justice. A decorated New Jersey police detective, Laurel is diagnosed with cancer and wants to leave her hard earned pension to her domestic partner, Stacie. However the county officials, Freeholders, conspire to prevent Laurel from doing this. Hard-nosed detective Dane Wells, and activist Steven Goldstein, unite in Laurel and Stacie’s defence, rallying police officers and ordinary citizens to support their struggle for equality.


Michal Vinik

BARASH New Directors Director: Michal Vinik Country: Israel

17 year old Naama Barash enjoys alcohol, drugs and hanging out with like-minded friends. Her activities are an escape from a home where her parents always fight, and a rebellious, army-enrolled sister, who, one day, disappears. As a new girl shows up at school, Barash falls deep in love for the first time, and the intensity of the experience at once confuses her and gives her life new meaning.


EL CLUB Horizontes Latinos 

Director: Pablo Larraín 

Country: Chile

Pablo Larraín won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the last Berlin Festival with this film. Four men share a secluded house in a small beach town, sent there to purge the sins they have committed in the past

DESDE ALLÁ Horizontes Latinos Director: Lorenzo Vigas 
Country: Venezuela

Armando, aged 50, looks for young men in the streets of Caracas and pays them to come back to his house with him. He also regularly spies on an older man with whom he seems to have ties from the past. One day he meets Elder, aged 17, leader of a small band of thugs. Competitor in the Official Selection of the Venice Festival.


MARIPOSA Zabaltegi Director: Marco Berger Country: Argentina 

A butterfly’s flapping wings divides Romino and Germán’s universe into two parallel realities: in one of them they grow as siblings who conceal their desire for one another; while in the other they are two youngsters who have an unusual friendship. Winning film of the Sebastiane Latino 2015 Award.

Winning film of the Sebastiane Latino 2015 Award.



OUT OF COMPETITION (Thematic Retrospective)


New Japanese Independent Cinema 200-2015

Director: Isao Yukisada

Country: Japan, 2009

Premiered at the Berlin Festival, this film by Isao Yukisada is a sharp psychological study of four flatmates. Their lives seem to be routine and uneventful until the appearance of a strange boy who highlights the fragility of the system they live in. Who is the fifth occupant of the flat? Could he be the serial killer who has been marauding the neighbourhood?



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