'Breaking News,' 'Three Extremes,' 'Arsene Lupin' on sked

This article was updated at 4:12 p.m.

MADRID — The 37th Sitges Intl. Film Festival of Catalonia, Spain’s second-largest film event, is beefing up its Euro and local Catalan credentials.

Unveiled Wednesday, this year’s official fantasy film competition boasts seven Asian titles including Johnnie To’s caustic media stakeout drama “Breaking News”; Japanese toon maestro Hayao Miyazaki’s vibrant “Howl’s Moving Castle”; and “Three Extremes,” from Japan’s Takashi Miike, South Korea’s Park Chan-wook and Hong Kong’s Fruit Chan.

Asian fare is balanced, however, by recent European fantasy films. Some are high profile, such as Jean-Paul Salome’s “Arsene Lupin” and Jonathan Glazer’s “Birth.” Others are less well-known including John Simpson’s psycho-thriller “Freeze Frame”; first-timer Robin Campillo’s resurrected-dead drama “They Came Back”; and Jeff Renfroe and Marteinn Thorsson’s futuristic thriller “One Point O,” about a stressed-out computer programmer.

Running Dec. 2-11 in the capital of Catalonia, a half-hour’s drive south of Barcelona, Sitges also bows a sidebar, Imaginary Europe.

The fest is ramping up its traditional spread of productions from Catalonia. This year’s Audiovisual Catala showcase includes a clutch of docs on local painter Salvador Dali; two new TV movies; and seven features, including preems of Alfonso Albacete and David Menkes’ “Entre vivir y sonar” and “Sevigne,” from U.S. indie auteur Marta Bellatbo-Coll.

Film export board Catalan Films & TV will launch a sales office and video library at Sitges, allowing acquisition execs to sample the cream of recent productions.

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