Catalan thrillers land at fantasy fest

BARCELONA — The world preem of Catalan suspense-thriller “The Body,” from first-time helmer Oriol Paulo, will open the 45th Sitges Fantastic Film Festival, Europe’s biggest genre pic event, on Oct. 4.

On Tuesday fest director Angel Sala unveiled most of the main Competition line-up, which boasts a significant U.S. presence, multiple French titles and samples Catalonia’s vibrant genre industry.

“The Body” is a morgue-set suspenser starring Belen Rueda, Jose Coronado and Hugo Silva. It is produced by Barcelona-based Rodar y Rodar and Antena 3 Films. Sony Pictures Releasing de Espana handles Spanish distribution; DeAPlaneta reps international rights.

Also world preeming is “El Bosc,” helmed by Oscar Aibar (“Flying Saucers”), starring Tom Sizemore, from a story by best-selling author Albert Sanchez Pinol.

A third Catalan entry, “Painless,” from debutant Juan Carlos Medina, is a psychological thriller produced by Roxbury Films from a script by Medina and Luiso Berdejo (“The New Daughter”). Elle Driver handles foreign sales

Four Competition contenders played Cannes: Leos Carax’s “Holy Motors”; Franck Khalfoun’s slasher classic remake “Maniac,” with Elijah Wood; Ben Wheatley’s Directors’ Fortnight hit “Sightseers” and David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis.”

Further Sitges players include “Chained,” starring Julia Ormond and Vincent D’Onofrio, from Jennifer Lynch, who topped Sitges in 2008 with “Surveillance”; Pascal Laugier’s Jessica Biel starrer “The Tall Man,” produced by France’s SND-M6 Group; Scott Derrickson’s “Sinister” and “Lovely Molly,” a haunted-house thriller from “Blair Witch’s” Eduardo Sanchez.

Sitges has added a BBC fantasy production showcase, backed by the pubcaster and 3XL, the youth channel of Catalan pubcaster TVC. Section features “Doctor Who,” “Sherlock” and “Misfits.”

Fest runs Oct. 4-14.

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