'Orphanage' will haunt Sitges

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Juan Antonio Bayona's grim ghost story "The Orphanage" will open this year's International Film Festival of Catalonia at Sitges, organizers said Thursday as they unveiled the initial details of the festival's 40th anniversary program.

Sitges, which has become a must for fantasy filmmakers, runs Oct. 4-14 in the Mediterranean coastal town just south of Barcelona and is the main festival for Spain's northeastern Catalan region.

The image of this year's festival is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of "Blade Runner." Visiting Sitges will be two of the people responsible for the visual genius of Ridley Scott's film: production designer Syd Mead and head of visual and photographic effects Douglas Trumbull.

Sitges also will be an important showcase for Spanish productions this year, with the territory represented by such films as Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza's "Rec," Nacho Viglondo's "Timecrimes," Gonzal Lopez-Gallero's "King of the Mountain," Manuel Carballo's "Los Justos" and Adria Garcia and Victor Maldonado's animated "Nocturna."

In addition, the Official Fantastic Section will include some of the season's most-awaited motion pictures, including "I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK," directed by Park Chan-wook; "The Fall," directed by Tarsem Singh; and Sundance hit "Teeth," directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein. All will compete for the festival's Maria prize.

The Fantastic Premiere sidebar, featuring out-of-competition fantasy genre films, includes Mike Barker's horror thriller "Butterfly on a Wheel," starring Pierce Brosnan.

Tom Shankland's "Irish Waz" and Alexandre Bustillo and Julian Maury's "A l'interieur," considered to be one of the bloodiest movies in recent French cinema, also will screen during the festival, along with Mikael Hafstrom's Stephen King adaptation "1408."

The festival will dedicate a retrospective to U.S. horror movies from the '70s and '80s, with director George Romero on hand to receive a lifetime achievement nod.
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