‘R.I.P.’ and ‘Mr Ray’ Anthology Series Gain Buzz Before Sitges Pitchbox

A trend for horror anthologies is emerging from the competing titles in this year’s Sitges Pitchbox event, as organizers Filmmarket Hub and the Sitges Film Festival announce this year’s line up.

And, as the movie project showcase opens up its doors to series for the first time, it’s buzzy titles such as “R.I.P “ and “Mr Ray” which appear to be embracing the anthology format.

Developed during a 2019 Manhattan Institute Film Workshop “Mr Ray” is created by Antoine Bours – a series creator on Belgian-French scripted crime series “Ennemi Public” (“Public Enemy”).

Pitching itself as “Penny Dreadful” meets Tim Burton’s “Big Fish,” the series is described as “a love letter to the anthology series” and a tribute to one of its pioneers, the early twentieth century Belgian horror writer Jean Ray.

The eight-part series begins in the early 1960s, following Ray’s estranged daughter Molly as she travels to Belgian to uncover the horrific truth surrounding her mother’s death.

The fictional Ray turns out to be a flamboyant and pathological liar and the retelling of Molly’s origins quickly transforms into tales of terror spun out into 52-minute episodes.

“R.I.P.” meanwhile, is a scripted horror anthology comprising of ten self-concluding episodes penned by film director and writer Caye Casas (“Matar a Dios”) and produced through Barcelona-based Alhena production.

The series was spun out of Casas’ 2017 Sitges-winning short of the same title, and the theme binding each 20-minute episode is death.

Accidents, suicides and murders prelude each story – although its makers describe the tone of the Spanish-set series  as “cartoonish and freaky.”

Casas – who makes his series debut with this project – also made an anthology film earlier this year– the Argentine horror “Asylum – Twisted Horror and Fantasy Tales.”

In the feature category selected projects include “Blue as Your Blood” produced through Berlin-based genre production outfit Schmerbeck Entertainment  (whose credits include the You-Tubers-stuck-in-an-Asylum yarn “Heilstatten” (“El Manicomio”).

Directed by Ivan Sainz-Pardo “Blue as Your Blood” focuses on a group of young women who find themselves locked in a luxury house with a mystery drug and some lizard-like owners.

Also selected for the event is on-the-rise Demián Rugna’s possession horror “Cuando Acecha la Maldad” which follows hot on the heals of his Argentine paranormal horror hit “Terrified”  – slated for a U.S. remake with Guillermo del Toro attached.

Another feature, “Precious Blood,” the new film from Mexican director of “Feral,” Andrés Kaiser, also marks another trend among this year’s Pitch Box entries: Fantasy meets period drama.

Pitched as “Name of the Rose” meets “The Witch”, the film centers around a priest sent to investigate a series of murders inside a convent.

Sitges Pitchbox takes place virtually over four days during the Sitges Film Festival, with the seven series projects running on Oct. 8t and 9t and Oct. 15-16 dedicated to the seven feature films.

Candidates have seven minutes each to pitch with the opportunity for one-to-one meetings with companies such as Atresmedia Studios, El Estudio, Film Factory, Filmax, Gaumont, Lionsgate and XYZ Films.

Four cash awards to support development expenses are also up for grabs: the best feature film will be awarded with €5,000 ($5,800) while the two runner up feature films will receive €1,000 each ($1,170).

An award of  € 2,500 ($2,900) will be granted to the best scripted series

Sitges Pitchbox 2020 Official Selection 

Scripted Series: 

“Be Happy or Else!” 

Estonia

Created by Chinh Van Tran, Mauricio Tunaroza Romero and Eric Romero

Written by Chinh Van Tran

Directed by Eric Romero

Produced by Mauricio Tunaroza Romero

“Daedalus”

Germany

Created by Blakbulb

Written by Anakaren Gomez and Bárbara Almeida Ladeia

Directed by Bárbara Almeida Ladeia and Adedunmola Olanrewaju

Produced by Leopold W. Hofmann (Ampics Media)

“Dubois”

Italy

Created by César González Álvarez

Written by César González Álvarez and Mario Felipe de la Maza

Directed by César González Álvarez

Produced by Adele Dell’erario (Occhi di Giove) and Salvatore Lizzio (Revok Films)

“La Grieta”

Spain

Created and written by Maria Calafat

“Lemoniz”

Spain

Created by Pablo de la Chica

Written by Pablo de la Chica and Elisa Puerto Aubel

Produced by David Torres (Salon Indien Films)

“Mr Ray|

Belgium

Created by Antoine Bours

Written by Antoine Bours, Christophe Mavroudis, Christophe Joaquin and Pierre Puget

“R.I.P”

Spain

Created, written and directed by Caye Casas

Produced by Norbert Llaràs (Alhena Production)

Feature Films:

“Beyond the Veil “ 

United Kingdom

Written by Michael Mortimer

“Blue As Your Blood”

Germany

Written by Ivan Sainz-Pardo and Juan Moscardo Rius

Directed by Ivan Sainz-Pardo

Produced by Till Schmerbeck (Schmerbeck Entertainment)

“Cuando Acecha la Maldad”

Argentina

Written and directed by Demian Rugna

Produced by Fernando Díaz (Machaco Films)

“El Arcoiris Negro / “Searching for the Black Rainbow”

Colombia – Argentina

Written and directed by Juan Diego Escobar Alzate

Produced by Javier Diaz (Coruya Cine)

“Frontera” 

Spain

Written by Sergio Rozas, Igor Legarreta and Francisco Javier S. Donate

Directed by Sergio Rozas

“La Novia de La Muerte”  “Death’s Bride” 

Spain

Written and directed by Antonio Morales

Produced by Jon Arrospide (Antonio Morales P.C.)

“Preciosisima Sangre”  (“Precious Blood”)

Mexico

Written by Andrés Kaiser and Francisco González

Directed by Andrés Kaiser

Produced by Nicole Maynard Pinto (Cine Feral)

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