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Catalonia’s Sitges Fest to Honor Roland Emmerich

Catalan genre fest unveils Blood Window, Cine365Film Award, first competition titles

MADRID – Announcing its first heavyweight creative presence at Spain’s Sitges Festival, L.A.-based scribe-helmer-producer Roland Emmerich, director of “Independence Day,” “2012” and “Stargate,” will receive the Grand Honorary Award.

The 47th Sitges Intl. Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia’s Spanish line-up – one of its key attractions since Spain burst onto the world’s genre scene in the late 1990s – includes Jaume Balaguero’s already-announced fest opener “[REC] 4: Apocalypse,” the anticipated ’50 Spain-set “Shrew’s Nest” from Esteban Roel and Juan Fernando Andres and produced by Alex de la Iglesia and Sergi Caballero’s Rotterdam Fest competition player “The Distance.”

Also announced Tuesday, the Sitges Festival, Europe’s leading genre confab, will bow section Blood Window in a link-up with Buenos Aires’ Ventana Sur, as recognition of the burgeoning vibrancy of the Latin American genre production.

As film financing dwindles in Spain, Sitges will team with “The Impossible” producers Apaches Entertainment and Cine365 to offer the Cine365Film Award, carrying a €10,000 ($13,600) cash prize for a new film by a director with a short at this edition.

Major highlights for Spanish audiences include Jean-Luc Godard’s “Goodbye to Language,” which shared Cannes Jury Prize; another Cannes competition film, David Cronenberg’s “Map to the Stars,” with Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson and John Cusack; Fabrice Du Welz’s Directors’ Fortnight player “Alleluia,” and Jim Mickle’s “Cold in July,” an IFC U.S. pick-up from this year’s Sundance.

Other high-profile titles include Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin,” which split critics at last year’s Venice, Richard Ayoade’s “The Double” and Marjane Satrapi’s “The Voices.”

Among first titles announced at Sitges’ new Blood Window is “Late Phases,” the latest movie from Adrian Garcia Bogliano, which turns on a war vet battling to the death with a werewolf.

One of the founding fathers of modern Argentine genre, Garcia Bogliano’s increasingly prolific and varied career has, in a symptomatic development for an Argentine genre auteur, seen him move from Argentina to Mexico for “Here Comes the Devil” co-produced out of the U.S. by MPI Media Group and then set up camp in the U.S. to direct “Late Phases,” produced by U.S.-based Dark Sky Films, Glass Eye Pix and Site B.

Also in Blood Window, Uruguay’s Gustavo Hernandez, whose feature debut, “The Silent House” wowed Cannes and international markets, will present “Local God,” produced by Hernandez’s Montevideo label, Mother Superior Films, and Toronto’s A44 Films. “Silent House” is being remade in the U.S. with Elizabeth Olsen starring and Chris Kentis and Lara Lau directing.

“Local God” tracks three young rock band members who retreat to an old gold mine to shoot a musicvid of their latest album where they unleash a demon that plays on their deepest fears.

A third Blood Window title, rabies outbreak-themed “Darkness by Day,” helmed by Argentine’s Martin Desalvo, is sold by Germany’s M-Appeal.

Sitges runs Oct. 3-12. More major announcements – of honorees, films and events – are expected.

Emilio Mayorga contributed to this report.

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