Posted: Mon., Jul. 11, 2005, 9:39am PT

'Tempesta' strikes Sitges
Tickell horror pic to preem at Catalonia fest


MADRID — The 38th Sitges Film Festival of Catalonia, one of Europe's top horror/fantasy meets, will host the world preempreem of Brit helmer Paul Tickell's pic "Tempesta."
The Venice-set art-theft thriller, which toplines Rutger Hauer ("Batman Begins"), Scott Williams ("Backbeat") and Malcolm McDowell ("A Clockwork Orange"), is co-produced by ABS Prod., Kasander Film Company and Delux Productions and is being sold by Beyond Films. Pic will be shown at Sitges out-of-competition at a special screening.

Sitges also has unveiled select titles in the official fantasy film competition, such as the Calista Flockhart starrer "Fragile," directed by Spanish helmer Jaume Balaguero ("Darkness"); Cannes fest opener "Lemming" from German-born Dominik Moll; Dave McKean's kids fantasy "Mirrormask," which premiered at Sundance; Canadian John FawcettJohn Fawcett's thriller "The Dark," toplining BlightyBlighty's Sean Bean; and prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike's "The Big Spook War."

Titles confirmed for the New Visions section include Hal Hartley's sci-fier "The Girl From Monday," mystic U.S. drama "What the Bleep Do We Know?!," helmed by Marck Vicente, William Arntz and Betsy Chasse, and futurist drama "Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachtani?," by Japan's Shinji Aoyama.

"This year's edition will carry over a wide-ranging sense of what constitutes a fantasy film, which worked very well in 2004," said fest director Angel Sala.

Running Oct. 9-18, the fest has moved its dates from last year's early December back to its traditional slot. Sitges’ December dates coincided with Thanksgiving and there were fewer international actors touring Europe than in the fall.

For the second year, Sitges will host a sales office, which will have an Asian emphasis this year, inviting 15-20 top Asian buyers.

Spanish black comedy maestro Alex de la Iglesia ("Ferpect Crime") will receive the Time Machine award. The tribute includes the publication of a book and the screening of his latest production, the TV movie "La habitacion del hijo," co-produced by Filmax and Telecinco's Estudios Picasso.

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Steven SpielbergSteven Spielberg's "Jaws," the fest will screen the documentary "The Shark Is Still Working."