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San Sebastian Film Festival Unveils First Competition Titles

 San Sebastian Film Festival/ All Lights Film MagazineThe San Sebastian International Film Festival on Friday unveiled 15 Spanish titles set to screen in various sections of the event's upcoming 67th edition.

Three of them will screen in the competition of the official section, while Netflix original film Seventeen (Diecisiete), a production of Atipica Films, was invited to screen in an out-of-competition slot as part of the official selection. From director Daniel Sanchez Arevalo, the road movie focuses on the relationship between a troubled teenager (Biel Montoro), his big brother (Nacho Sanchez) and his missing therapy dog.

Set at the start of Spain's Civil War and focused on the evolving stance towards the war of distinguished Spanish writer Miguel de Unamuno, competition title While at War (Mientras Dure la Guerra) marks Alejandro Amenabar's first Spanish-language feature since Oscar winner The Sea Inside (2004) starring Javier Bardem. His most recent films include mystery Regression (2015), starring Emma Watson and Ethan Hawke, and the historical drama Agora (2009). His 1997 thriller Open Your Eyes was remade in the U.S. as Vanilla Sky. War is a production of Movistar+, MOD Producciones, Himenoptero, K&S Films. It's sold internationally by Film Factory Entertainment.

Also competing for the festival's top Golden Shell award is director Belen Funes' debut feature, A Thief's Daughter (La Hija de un Ladron), about a young woman (Elisa & Marcela's Greta Fernandez) who wants to distance herself from her father (Eduard Fernandez, also co-starring in While at War) when he is released from prison. The film is produced by Oberon and BTeam Pictures.

The third Spanish film announced for the official competition is La Trinchera Infinita, starring Antonio de la Torre, who won a Goya award this year for The Realm, as a man who hides in his house for 33 years following the start of Spain's Civil War in 1936. It is directed by San Sebastian regulars (and locals) Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goenaga, the team behind Flowers (Loreak), which premiered in San Sebastian in 2014 and was Spain's first-ever Basque-language nominee for the foreign-language Oscar. La Claqueta, Irusoin, Manny Films, Moriarti Produkzioak and Trinera Film co-produce.

Another Spanish-language film that will get a special screening in the official section is Argentina-born Sebastian Borensztein's dramedy Heroic Losers (La Odisea de los Giles) starring Ricardo Darin and his son Chino Darin. The Argentina-Spanish co-production is set during the economic crisis of 2001 in Argentina and is based on a novel by Eduardo Sacheri, author of the novel that inspired 2009's The Secret in Their Eyes (remade in the U.S. in 2015 with Nicole Kidman, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Julia Roberts).

Two Spanish directors will debut features in the New Directors section: Lucia Alemany's teen tale La Inocencia, and Maider Fernandez Iriarte's Las Letras de Jordi, based on the relationship the director forged with a 51-year-old man with cerebral palsy. As previously announced, Oliver Laxe's Cannes Un Certain Regard jury prize winner Fire Will Come will screen in the San Sebastian Pearls section of the festival.

Two series, including the world premiere of Emmy winner Justin Weber's Nisman (El fiscal, la presidenta y el espia) and part of the new season of Leticia Dolera's Canneseries best series prize winner Perfect Life (Vida Perfecta), the animated feature La Gallina Turuleca, two shorts and a medium-length film round out Friday's unveiled films for other festival sections.

Lastly, Paco Cabezas (Penny Dreadful, American Gods) will present his return to cinema, the Seville-set detective thriller Adios, at the RTVE Gala at San Sebastian.

The festival runs Sept. 20-Sept. 28.