Sitges to embrace ‘Darkness’

Fest to award first Brigadoon Prize for fantasy short

MADRID — One of the most-awaited Spanish films of the year, Jaume Balaguero’s English-lingo debut “Darkness,” will kick off the 35th Sitges Intl. Film Fest of Catalunya (Oct.3-13).

A Dimension pick-up for the U.S., “Darkness” toplines Anna Paquin, Lena Olin, Giancarlo Giannini, Stephan Enquist and Spanish thesps Fele Martinez and Fermi Reixach.

Balaguero’s debut, the Filmax-produced “The Nameless” sold worldwide. It opened in Italy July 12 to a fifth-place $210,370 off 88 prints.

“Darkness” will screen in Sitges’ Fantastic fantasy pic section with David Cronenberg’s “Spider,” Rob Bowman’s “Reign of Fire” and Oxide and Danny Pang’s “The Eye.”

Fest’s general Gran Angular section showcases the thriller “Salton Sea,” directed by D.J. Caruso as well as the Spanish preem of Roger Avary’s “Rules of Attraction” and Woody Allen’s “Hollywood Ending.”

Retros include a look at fantasy pics from Australia and New Zealand and a EuroWestern focus featuring pics from Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci and Antonio Margheriti.

The Sitges fest will award the first, Canal Plus-sponsored Brigadoon Prize for fantasy short. Distribs DeAPlaneta and Manga Films will team with the fest to launch their DVD collections, Orient Express and The Hammer Collection.