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San Sebastian festival begins

September 21, 2007

MADRID -- Political and social stories again take center stage at the San Sebastian film festival -- the oldest and most prestigious in the Spanish-speaking world -- which kicked off Thursday.

The Iraq conflict gets high-profile attention at the 10-day festival with Nick Broomfield's "Battle for Haditha" in the official competition, an investigation into the 2005 killing of 24 civilians in Haditha by U.S. Marines.

Also featured: 18-year-old Iranian director Hana Makhmalbaf's film "Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame," about a girl's daily struggle to go to school in Bamiyan, the Afghan village where Taliban soldiers demolished centuries-old Buddha statues in 2001.

Sixteen films will vie for the festival's top prize, the Golden Shell.

Winners are to be announced Sept. 29.

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