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Maillo’s ‘Eva’ opens Sitges

Strong Spanish presence, Landis makes cut

Helmer Kike Maillo’s “Eva” will open the 44th Sitges Festival, Europe’s biggest genre movie confab, on Oct. 6.

“Eva” toplines Daniel Bruehl as a shy young genius who works for his former university, building robot software. Lluis Homar (“Lost Embraces”), Alberto Ammann (“Lope”) and Marta Etura (“Cell 211”) co-star.

Targeting family audiences, “Eva” is “a robot sci-fi melodrama but ultimately turns on human relationships,” Maillo told Daily Variety.

Maillo’s first feature, “Eva” is produced by Barcelona’s Escandalo, which produces films made by alums of the city’s prestigious Escac film school.

Screenplay is by Sergi Belbel, Maillo, Marti Roca and Aintza Serra. In late October, Paramount will release “Eva” in Spain. Pic is sold by Wild Bunch.

Budgeted at $9 million, “Eva” is an upgrade in Escandalo’s international ambitions.

The 11-day fest will also screen Carles Torrens’ debut, “Emergo,” written by Rodrigo Cortes (“Red Lights”) and produced by Versus Entertainment and France’s Kinology. Kai Lennox and Michael O’Keefe topline.

Other homegrown standouts in Sitges’ lineup include Filmax’s “Sleep Tight” from Jaume Balaguero (“REC”) and Alejandro Brugues’ sophomore outing “Juan of the Dead,” a Cuban zombie film produced by Havana’s 5ta Avenida and Seville’s La Zanfona.

Sitges will also screen John Landis’ black comedy “Burke and Hare,” about the real-life 19th century grave robbers.Other films include Magyar master Bela Tarr’s minimalist period drama “The Turin Horse,” a Berlin Jury Grand Prix winner; Na Hong-jin’s propulsive crime thriller “The Yellow Sea,” a Cannes hit; supernatural mockumentary “Grave Encounters,” by Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz; and Michel Ocelot’s Berlin competition toon feature, “Tales of the Night.”

Fest will also host a 3D horror focus, screening such singular titles as Gareth Maxwell Roberts’ “The Mortician” and Christopher Sun’s Hong Kong box-office hit, “3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy.”

Promotion board Catalan Films and TV will host a symposium on Internet-VOD production strategies, plus a vidgame-film production conference, the latter organized with regional pubcaster TVC.

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