San Sebastian, SPAIN, August 2, 2006 â€“ Horror or sci-fi? Erotica or fantasy? Auteur or mainstream? Independent or studio? Features, shorts or documentaries? What kinds of movies turn you on? For cinema buffs Spain is the place to be this fall, as the country hosts some 18 festivals from September through November. The San SebastiÃ¡n International Film Festival (September 21-30) will honor Ernst Lubitsch and Barbet Schroeder while the Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia (October 5-14) will pay tribute to David Lynch as it presents sci-fi and fantasy films and the Valladolid International Film Festival (October 20-28), which always focuses on Mediterranean cinema, will have a retrospective of Luchino Visconti.
Now in its 54th year, the San SebastiÃ¡n International Film Festival (www.sansebastianfestival.com) is one of the worldâ€™s most important platforms for film. Over the years, Hollywood stars, European New Wave directors, documentary filmmakers and aspiring starlets â€“ Federico Fellini, Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Luc Godard, Anthony Quinn, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Welles, Luis BuÃ±uel, Sophia Loren, FranÃ§ois Truffaut , Pedro AlmodÃ³var and Antonio Banderas â€“ just about everyone who is anyone in cinema has made the trip to this elegant seaside resort city on Spainâ€™s Atlantic coast.
The festivalâ€™s theme of emigration â€“ one of the major issues facing the world today â€“ is particularly timely. Todayâ€™s migratory movements from Africa to Europe are showcased with outstanding cinematographic energy in European and North African films. Certainly not a phenomenon exclusive to today, emigration has been happening for centuries and the festival will showcase some classics as well as more recent films on the subject. Some of the 30 titles expected to be shown are: SaÃ¯d, by LlorenÃ§ Soler (Spain, 1999); LÂ´Horizon perdu, by LaÃ¯la Marrakchi (Morocco, 2000); Pelle Erobreren (Pelle the Conquerer), by Bille August (Denmark, 1987); Espaldas mojadas, by Alejandro Galindo (Mexico, 1955); Utvandrama (The Emigrants) and Nybyggarna (The New Land), by Jan Troell (Sweden, 1971); America America, by Elia Kazan (U.S., 1963); Bwana, by Imanol Uribe (Spain, 1996); In This World, by Michael Winterbottom (UK, 2002) and Las cartas de Alou, by Montxo ArmendÃ¡riz (Spain, 1990).
Two film greats will be honored with retrospectives: French director, producer and actor Barbet Schroeder, a pioneer in documentary-fiction fusion and an acute observer of different countries and cultures and Ernst Lubitsch who made Greta Garbo laugh in Ninotchka (1939) and dared to ridicule Hitler in To Be or Not to Be (1942). Making his directorial debut with the cult film More (1969) and its Pink Floyd soundtrack, Schroeder received an Oscar nomination as best director for Reversal of Fortune (1991) and competed at Cannes with Barfly (1987). The cinematic genius of Lubitsch can be seen in his comedic masterpieces: The Shop around the Corner (1940) and Bluebeardâ€™s Eighth Wife (1938), his stirring anti-war drama Broken Lullaby (1932) and as far back as in his silent films: Lady Windermereâ€™s Fan (1925) and Die Austernprinzessin (1919).
The other film festivals in Spain this fall include:
Â¨ September 7-16 â€“ Film Festival of the Atlantic â€“ Alcances in CÃ¡diz www.alcances.org/base.html
Â¨ September 30 â€“ October 6 â€“ Film Festival of Albacete, www.abycine.com
Â¨ October 4-8 – Barcelona International Erotic Film Festival, www.ficeb.com
Â¨ October 5-15 – Barcelona International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival,
Â¨ October 6-15 – Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia,
Â¨ October 19-26 – Mostra de Valencia Cinema del Mediterrani, www.mostravalencia.com
Â¨ October 20-28 – Valladolid International Film Festival, www.seminci.com
Â¨ October 20-November 4 – 17th Annual Horror and Fantasy Film Festival, www.donostiakultura.com/terror in San Sebastian
Â¨ November 1-30 â€“ Alcine Film Festival of AlcalÃ¡ de Henares, www.festivalcinealcala.com(shorts and video)
Â¨ November 2-12 – International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival of Madrid www.lesgaicinemad.com
Â¨ November 3-11 – Seville Film Festival, www.festivaldesevilla.com/esp/index.php
Â¨ November 10-18 – Lâ€™Alternativa Barcelona Independent Film Festival www.alternativa.cccb.org
Â¨ November 18-25 – Latin American Film Festival, www.festicinehuelva.com In Huelva
Â¨ November 23-December 1- GijÃ³n International Film Festival, www.gijonfilmfestival.com
Â¨ November 27-December 2 – International Festival of Documentary and Short Film of Bilbao, www.zinebi.com
Other Spanish cities hosting film festivals include Lâ€™AlfÃ s del Pi Film Festival in Alicante which just ended (July 9-18). Next year from March 23 to 30 there is the Latin American Cinema Festival of Lleida www.mostradelleida and the Festival of MÃ¡laga also in March www.festivaldemalaga.com, among others.
For information about Spain, contact your travel provider or the Tourist Office of Spain in New York (212-265-8822); Miami (305-358-1992); Chicago (312-642-1992) or Los Angeles (323-658-7188) or go to www.spain.info