Woody Allen's new film to open San Sebastián film festival

<span>Photograph: Javier Etxezarreta/EPA</span>
Photograph: Javier Etxezarreta/EPA

Rifkin’s Festival, the new film by Woody Allen, has been selected to open the San Sebastián film festival in Spain.

Starring Elena Anaya, Louis Garrel and Gina Gershon, Rifkin’s Festival was shot in and around the city in 2019, and according to the plot synopsis takes place during the festival itself. “It tells the story of a married American couple who go to the San Sebastián festival and get caught up in the magic of the event, the beauty and charm of the city and the fantasy of movies. She has an affair with a brilliant French movie director, and he falls in love with a beautiful Spanish woman who lives there.”

The start of production on the film was marked with a press conference in the city during which Allen said he “never thought of retiring”.

Related: The last thing my city needs is Woody Allen selling us to the world | Mikel Agirre-Maskariano

During the film’s production Allen was mired in a legal dispute with Amazon after the studio shelved his previous film, A Rainy Day in New York; Allen launched a $68m legal action alleging Amazon had broken its contract with him. Amazon responded by claiming that Allen had “sabotaged” the prospects of the film – and its predecessor, Wonder Wheel – by his comments about sex abuse accusations by his daughter Dylan Farrow and the #MeToo campaign. The dispute was settled out of court.

Rifkin’s Festival was backed by Spanish media giant Mediapro (which has participated in Allen films including Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris) as Allen has become increasingly shunned in the US after Farrow’s allegations against him, which he denies. Publication of his memoir Apropos of Nothing was cancelled by Hachette after staff protests, and it was rapidly picked up by another publisher, Arcade. Film-maker Spike Lee issued an apology after defending Allen in a radio interview, writing on social media “My words were WRONG.”

The San Sebastián film festival is due to begin on 18 September.