'13' lucky number at Fantastic fest


BRUSSELS -- Thai dark comedy "13 Beloved" won the jury's Golden Raven award Tuesday at the 26th annual Brussels International Festival of Fantastic Film.

The film, written and directed by 26-year-old Chukiat Sakweerakul and starring Thai-American singer-actor Krissada Terrence, is a gritty thriller about a man forced through progressively challenging, degrading and dangerous stunts by mysterious callers via an underground reality game show. Heavily garlanded in Thailand, the remake rights already have been bought by the Weinstein Co.

The two runners-up, awarded Silver Ravens, were Stuart Gordon's horror thriller "Stuck," with Mena Suvari and Stephen Rea, and "[Rec]," co-directed by Spain's Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza. "[Rec]," a zombie horror drama set in Barcelona, also claimed the Pegasus public prize.

The top prize for a European film, the so-called Silver Melies, was awarded to the apocalyptic French chase movie "Frontier(s)," directed by Xavier Gens. The 7th annual Parallel prize for best new discovery went to Argentine drama "The Aerial," directed by Esteban Sapir.

Among the shorts, Yann Jouette's 3D cartoon "Berni's Doll" won the Grand Television Prize and the Public Prize; "The Boxed," directed by Australia's Bryn Rhys Chainey, won the Special Jury Prize; and "Of Cats & Women," directed by Belgium's Jonas Govaerts, won the Golden Melies Finalist award.

A fixture for horror and sci-fi fans, the 13-day BIFFF featured six world premieres among the 86 films on display.