Stars to descend on San Sebastian film fest

Ewan McGregor, Sigourney Weaver, Richard Gere, Monica Bellucci, Gael Garcia Bernal and Javier Bardem among stars who will walk the red carpet

13:06 September 18, 2016

Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut will compete with the latest offerings from Chinese star director Feng Xiaogang and Baltasar Kormakur of Everest fame at the San Sebastian film festival that started on September 16.

The 64th edition of what organisers call the “smallest of big festivals” after Cannes, Berlin and Venice will also play host to an array of Latin American directors, who consider the glitzy event in the northern Spanish seaside resort a springboard to Europe.

Sigourney Weaver, Richard Gere, Monica Bellucci, Gael Garcia Bernal and Javier Bardem are among the stars who will tread the red carpet during the nine-day movie celebration.

“We’re convinced this is one of the big editions,” festival director Jose Luis Rebordinos said, pointing to the mix between famous directors and film debuts, commercial offerings and more risky bets.

The festival is the highest-profile film event in the Spanish-speaking world.

It was originally intended to honour Spanish language films but has established itself as one of the most important film festivals in the world.

The festival kicks off on Friday with the screening of 150 Milligrams, a film by French actress/director Emmanuelle Bercot based on the true story of Irene Frachon, a doctor who brought to light the deadly side-effects of popular diet drug Mediator.

Her film is one of 17 competing for the coveted Golden Shell prize, including Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut American Pastoral based on the Philip Roth novel of the same name.

Feng Xiaogang’s film I Am Not Madame Bovary and Baltasar Kormakur’s The Oath will also be in the running.

Out of competition, San Sebastian will be the scene of the European premiere of A Monster Calls, a film starring Sigourney Weaver who will also be handed a lifetime achievement award.

Directed by Spain’s Juan Antonio Bayona, the movie is based on the children’s novel of the same name by US author Patrick Ness.

It tells the story of Conor, a young boy who is repeatedly visited by a monster while his mother is dying of cancer.

The Odyssey, a Franco-Belgian production about legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau and his estranged son Philippe, will also be screened in San Sebastian as will Oliver Stone’s Snowden.