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Lund International Fantastic Film Festival highlights

The 11th edition of Lund International Fantastic Film Festival takes place between the 16th and the 25th of September. During ten days almost 100 films from 19 countries are screened, which means that the festival is bigger than ever.

Opening film
This year's opening film is Hayao Miyazaki's animated masterpiece Howl's Moving Castle. The Japanese director, who won an Academy Award for his last film Spirited Away, will receive an honorary Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival at September 9.

Films in competition
Five feature films and seven shorts will compete for the prestigious Silver Méliès for the best European fantastic film. In the feature film section, two much talked about films from the UK are screened. One is the fantasy film MirrorMask produced by renowned The Jim Henson Company that celebrates 50 years in the business this year. Besides TV-shows as The Muppet Show, The Jim Henson Company has also produced fantasy films like The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. MirrorMask is directed by Dave McKean with a script by Neil Gaiman. The two have worked together before for example with the comic book masterpiece Sandman.

Also coming from the UK is the horror film The Descent, which has been a success at home both among critics and at the box office this summer. The film is directed by Neil Marshall whose previous film Dog Soldiers was screened at Lund International Fantastic Film Festival 2002. The other three films competing for the Silver Méliès is the Austrian science fiction film Ainoa by Marco Kalantari, the Spanish horror thriller Romasanta by Paco Plaza, and the dark surrealist tale Nuit Noire directed by the Belgian Olivier Smolders.

The seven films competing in the short film section are the following: Auge um Auge and Der Beste from Germany, L'etrange portrait de la dame en jaune and A Message From Outer Space from Belgium, Las Viandas from Spain, Du skal ikke... from Norway, and The Ten Steps from Ireland.

The Jury
The jury that will select the winners of the Silver Méliès consists of three people with different backgrounds within film and television. Emma Gray Munthe is a film critic, editor, mostly known for co-hosting the show "Filmkrönikan" at Swedish National Public Service Television. Måns Nilsson is one half of the duo "Anders & Måns", renowned from the Swedish TV-show with the same name and different shows for Swedish national radio channel P3. Nathan Larson is a rock and roll film composer/record producer originally from New York City, now living in Malmö, Sweden. He has scored over twenty controversial and critically acclaimed films, among them Boy's Don't Cry, Lilja 4-ever and recently A Love Song for Bobby Long.

Asian films
A special section of the festival is devoted to films from Asia, a part of the world that has proven to be maybe the most vital during the past few years when it comes to films in general and fantastic film in particular. This year the festival focuses mainly on films from Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan. The Thai film industry boomed a couple of years ago among other things with the help from the Hong Kong born Pang Brothers and their films Bangkok Dangerous and The Eye. At this year's festival, Oxide Pang's latest film, Ab-normal Beauty, a psychological thriller co-produced by Hong Kong and Thailand, is screened. Shutter by Thai directors Parkpoom Wongpoom and Banjong Pisanthanakun, is maybe last year's most talked about horror film from Asia. From Thailand too comes the controversial ghost story P, directed by Paul Spurrier from England. The film has stirred up bad blood in Thailand because of the naked depiction of the Thai sex industry.

Per Åhlin & Terry Gilliam
This year's edition of the Lund International Fantastic Film Festival devotes two special sections to two big director's profiles, with among other things their imaginative animations in common. The Swedish pioneer within animation, Per Åhlin, runs PennFilm Studio from Hököpinge, 25 kilometres south west of Lund. Besides screenings of film classics like Dunderklumpen and Voyage to Melonia, a retrospective exhibition with material from PennFilm's productions will be held at the festival palace.

Terry Gilliam started his long career as one of the members of Monty Python. Since then he's directed about ten films, amongst them classics like Time Bandits, Brazil and Twelve Monkeys. This autumn he is out on the festival circuit with two new films, The Brothers Grimm and Tideland. A complete retrospective of Terry Gilliam's films is screened together with the Lund Student Film Society starting during the festival and continuing during the rest of the autumn.

Closing film
The festival closes with the American blockbuster Serenity, directed by Joss Whedon. Whedon is mostly known as the creator of the TV-hit-series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Serenity is a science fiction film, based upon "Firefly", another one of Whedon's cult TV-shows. The closing screening of Serenity at Lund International Fantastic Film Festival will be held a couple of days before the big US premiere.

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