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Sitges festival reveals selection

Genre lineup includes 'Julia's Eyes,' 'Agnosia'

BARCELONA — October’s 43rd edition of the Sitges Intl. Film Festival, Europe’s biggest genre confab, will see bows from top local helmers, a sprinkling of pedigree pics, and some ground-breaking auteur work — with a nod to the daddy of them all with a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.”

Official section will bow two local genre heavyweights set for fall openings — Guillem Morales’ “Julia’s Eyes,” a world preem, which is produced by Guillermo del Toro, Rodar y Rodar and Universal Pictures Intl., and Eugenio Mira’s period thriller “Agnosia,” from Barcelona shingle Roxbury Films and Telecinco Cinema.

“Eyes” and “Agnosia” will hope to emulate a string of boffo titles that hit the ground running at Sitges — such as Juan Antonio Bayona’s “The Orphanage,” and “Rec” and “Rec2” from helmers Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza.

Other local titles hoping Sitges magic will rub off are English-language pics “14 Days with Victor,” directed by Spanish debutant Roman Parrado and produced by Ibon Cormenzana, and supernatural thriller “The New Daughter,” starring Kevin Costner and directed by Spaniard Luis Berdejo.

Just over half Sitges’ main packed competish section was revealed by Sitges director Angel Sala at a Barcelona press conference on Tuesday. “In the battle against piracy, we need to offer a real cinematic experience in perfect screening conditions,” said Sala.

Competish standouts include noirish thriller “Easy Money,” from Swedish director Daniel Espinosa; “Outrage,” the yakuza thriller return of Japanese thesp-helmer Takeshi Kitano; Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s “A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop,” a remake of the Coen Brothers’ “Blood Simple”; U.S. director Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In,” a remake of Tomas Alfredson’s ” Let the Right One In”; and much-awaited horror thriller “The Last Exorcism,” from German-born helmer Daniel Stamm.

“In a specialized fest like Sitges the downturn hasn’t made itself felt in terms of production values. In fact new territories are producing fantasy genre films. The number of low-budget features may have actually increased,” said Sala.

Lineup also includes chiller “The Silent House,” from Uruguayan helmer Gustavo Hernandez; gore fable “We Are What We Are,” from Mexican Jorge Michel Grau; “A Serbian Film,” from first-timer Serbian Srdjan Spasojevic; and “Dream Home” from Chinese helmer Pang Ho-cheung, the latter two served with plenty of ketchup, as well as spoofs in the shape of U.S. Gregg Araki’s sexy sci-fi thriller “Kaboom” and “Rubber,” from Frenchman Quentin Dupieux.

Latest Palme d’Or winner mystic fantasy “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” from Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and Reha Erdem’s magic-realism fable “Kosmos” add some A-level pedigree to proceedings.

Fest will also host a special 3D screening of pioneering European stereoscopic 3D stop-motion “O Apostolo,” from first-timer Fernando Cortizo. “Apostolo” is a mystery drama set in a Galician village.

Promotion consortium Catalan Films and TV and regional pubcaster TVC will host a videogame symposium on Oct. 15, plus a Brazil-Italy-Catalonia co-production conference.

Fest runs Oct. 7-17.

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