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San Sebastian Pulls Out Of Pablo Larrain & Ciro Guerra-Backing Lab Films In Progress, Will Launch Own LatAm Initiative

Tom Grater

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The San Sebastian Festival, one of Europe’s most prestigious film events, is pulling out of Films in Progress, the twice-yearly event that was launched in 2002 to back the production of Latin American cinema.

The event has welcomed directors including Pablo Larrain, Ciro Guerra, Sebastian Lelio and Amat Escalante in the past. It is run with French festival Cinélatino Rencontres de Toulouse, which will continue to operate the initiative at its annual event in March in a revamped version with new partners, a statement said. This year’s fest in Toulouse was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, with some industry events held remotely, but it is intending to return in full next year

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At this year’s San Sebastian festival in September, a new work in progress event focused on Latin American cinema will be launched to fill the void left by Films in Progress. The Spanish fest said it would unveil new details of the program in due course.

Of the 209 films that have participated in the 18 years of Films in Progress to date, 95% have been completed. A further 114 of those have screened at San Sebastian, and 112 at Cinelatino in Tolouse. Pics from the scheme have also played Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Sundance.

Depending on how the pandemic progresses, San Sebastian could find itself with added importance this year, and potentially a wider crop of films to choose from, as the spring and summer festivals are widely cancelled or scaled-back by the virus containment. The Spanish fest arrives just after Venice and overlaps slightly with Toronto.

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