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Sitges Film Festival news

17/09/2014

Sitges 2014, the fantastic film 'festival of festivals', presents its complete lineup

sitges film festival 2014

The Sitges - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, worldwide benchmark in its category, has everything ready and waiting for its 47th edition. Between 3 and 12 October, the Festival will be bringing together some of the gems of fantastic cinema and new audiovisual languages that have been a big hit all over the world. Films like Adieu au langage, the latest metaphor-filled 3D piece from the genius of nouvelle vague, Jean-Luc Godard, or David Cronenberg’s decadent portrayal of the film industry, Maps to the Stars, with an all-star cast including Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson and John Cusack, will be at the Festival. Jaume Balagueró’s eagerly awaited REC 4 will be opening the competition, while Musarañas, produced by Álex de la Iglesia, Damián Szifrón’s Wild Tales, or Carlos Vermut’s Magical Girl will also be in Sitges. Read more

16/10/2013 

Juan Cavestany defends a cinema of ideas in Sitges with ´Gente en sitios´

sitges film festival 2013

 sitges film festival

Juan Cavestany arrives in Sitges to present Gente en Sitios. The director stated that this chorale film aims to be a recognition, more than of cinema made with little resources, of a cinema of ideas, “intellectual in the best sense of the word”. The filmmaker is accompanied, this afternoon, by Tristan Ulloa, Carlos Areces, Najwa Nimri and a numerous representation of actors from the crew to visit Sitges. In other news, Gonzalo López-Gallego reflected on  the delocalization of Spanish cinema at the presentation of Open Grave, and announced a  new modern western project to be produced by Atlas Independent. Dark Touch, by filmmaker Marina de Van, a Festival regular, was yet another of today’s premieres. 

Among the multiple premieres these days is the outstanding Spanish production Gente en Sitios, a compendium of surreal scenes that undermine everyday expectations. Juan Cavestany’s film has brought some of the country’s most famous faces to Sitges like Tristan Ulloa, Carlos Areces or Enrique Najwa Nimri. Desirée de Fez, programmer and film critic, showed the Sitges Film Festival’s clear desire to include Cavestany’s movie, despite the fact that it doesn’t strictly fit into genre parameters, but answers to a type of cinema that is being made today in Spain and that doesn’t receive the promotion it deserves. 

Cavestany explained that he shot Gente en Sitios himself, camera in hand for most scenes, and with the support of other cameramen he wanted to work with. In addition, he also explained that the film was shot entirely with natural light. Despite stating that he doesn’t have the resources to shoot in weightier way, he also said that he feels comfortable with the procedure. He indicated that this work method is a sociological experiment where he explores different atmosphere. Actor Carlos Areces, on the other hand, spoke ironically about the difficulties to shoot the natural scenes, where people interfered and, when asked about the experience of filming it, he said that he only worked for “two hours, they took me to a driving school sat me down in a chair, I have no anecdotes to explain”. Areces also wanted to praise Cavestany’s work, recalling his chance viewing of Dispongo de barcos. As for the structure of the piece, Cavestany stated that he found a format, the sum of scenes, that allows him to explain “funny, liberating things” and, although he doesn't need many material resources, he wants to defend a cinema of ideas and not low-cost cinema. Finally, the director said that now he’d like to work with non-professionals actors; in other words, with “people in places”. 

In addition, the premiere of Open Grave was also screened in Sitges, with certain technical problems with the DCP that were ironed out over the course of the morning. Gonzalo López-Gallego, director of the film, said that there isn’t enough Spanish cinema and that this is the reason directors who want to make movies with a certain infrastructure have to look for American financing. In Los Angeles (Hollywood), he explained, there are possibilities “if you’re perseverant and patient”. He also said that the American film industry positively values the work done by Spain’s film crews. As for Open Grave, the movie he presented at the Festival, he defined it as a distinctive approach to the zombie subgenre. In stylistic terms, the filmmaker wanted to highlight his preference for filming in 35 millimeter instead of digital. 

Today Sitges also saw the premiere of the French-Irish co-production Dark Touch by Marina de Van, a Festival regular, where she previously presented films like Ne te retourne pas or Le petit poucet. De Van explained that the reason for shooting the film in Ireland was that the Central Commission for the of Children wouldn’t let them film in France due to the crudeness of the  screenplay and the fact that the actors were minors. Regarding the film’s contents, Marina de Van said that she is optimistic about the ability to overcome traumas and that, therefore, that is precisely what her movie expresses. Finally, the director concluded by explaining that she wrote the screenplay for Dark Touch by constructing a main character that is a mirror, in the case that Marina de Van had gone through the same circumstances as the film’s protagonist.

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15/10/2013 

Álex de la Iglesia is enthusiastically welcomed in Sitges and maintains, agreeing with Àngel Sala, that the film industry must give consumers more options

sitges film festival 2013

sitges film festival

Álex de la Iglesia was welcomed warmly and enthusiastically in Sitges, where he said that he feels at home. The famous director highlighted the interest of a festival dedicated to genre cinema, something that causes it to have a very special audience, and explained the keys of the genre codes in his cinematic works. In other news, the director of the Barcelona International Auteur Film Festival, Carlos Rodríguez, visited Sitges to present the Auteur Cinema Catalogue. Along with Àngel Sala, they pointed out the need for film production, distribution and exhibition to find new forms of expresion in Spain.

Director Álex de la Iglesia said that he feels at home in Sitges during the master class he offered the Festival’s public. The Spanish director was thankful for the characteristics of an event totally dedicated to genre cinema, and expressed his satisfaction with Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi. De la Iglesia described his latest movie as “a comedy in a horror movie with a monster at the end”. He ironically hinted at the possibility of making a sequel only because of how funny the title would be ,“Zugarramurdos”, a hypnotic film that would be even “more genre”, with “more monsters and more covens” even though he feels it will be hard to actually get it done. He stated that horror, fantasy and science fiction are his favorite genres and the ones he feels most comfortable in, but he has his doubts about the possibility of financing for  new films. The director of ’El día de la Bestia maintains that cinema has been globalized and democratized with the new technologies, but that, at the same time, it is getting harder and harder to make a living in this profession. Despite his admiration for low cost productions, De la Iglesia said that it’s hard for these smaller production to “generate industry”. In addition, he admitted that Spanish cinema has been suffering a crisis “since the beginning, but more now”. De la Iglesia, who was also the chairman of the Academia of Spanish Cinema, referred to his period at this institution with the pride of having expressed what he thought and now considers that time has proven him right about his way of seeing cinema, despite having stepped down from the board of directors for not agreeing with the majority opinion. He also condemned the lack of a legal and reasonable cinematic supply in Spain, and the need for the industry to adapt to consumer’s necessities. Anecdotally, Carlos Areces, the star of Balada trista de trompeta, went up to the table to explain, parodying himself, his nude scene in the movie; afterwards, Álex de la Iglesia compared this nudity to the exposure a film director is subject to when making a movie, referring to receiving negative reviews. Carlos Areces is in Sitges as a part of the crew for Juan Cavestany’s film Gente en Sitios, which will be screened tomorrow on the Festival’s screens.

Borgman, premierin last night, was presented today by the director of the film, Alex Van Warmerdam –who received the Time Machine Award yesterday for his lifetime achievement- and actress Annet Malherbe.  Alex Van Warmerdam stated that it satisfies him to know that people don’t know how to interpret the film, despite the Biblical phrase it begins with and that gives it its meaning (“And they came down to earth to replenish their ranks”). Van Warmerdam explained that he tried to prevent the final cut from having a humorous tone despite it being unavoidable to some degree. He also emphasized the presentist aspect of his films, where the characters have no past and, as Malherbe concluded, no future either. For the filmmaker, the mission of his characters is an endless, playful spiral through the centuries with no defined landmark. Despite not explicitly trying to fit his film into the codes of horror genre, he did admit that Borgman has frequently been classified in the home invasion subgenre,or in this case, a home invitation. The director said he was surprised by the acknowledgement his work has received recently, and joked about the fact that having turned sixty-one might have made him “enter the list of directors over 60 ” whose work is reviewed by the cultural institution. Finally, he considers that he’s not always aware that, while he goes on with his own life, his films travel by themselves around the world “without giving them explanations, they have their own lives”. Hooked Up, a movie Pablo Larcuen filmed entirely with a cell phone, also had its premiere at the Festival, as well as the long awaited giallorevisitation L'Étrange Coleur des Larmes de ton Corps.

On the other hand, the director of the Barcelona International Auteur Film Festival, Carlos Rodríguez, visited Sitges to present the Barcelona City Council’s Auteur Cinema Catalogue. The project –with the support of interregional institutions– is born with the intention of promoting an alternative circuit for auteur films, and to encourage the recovery of movie theaters in an economic context bringing about their closure. For now the initiative includes 18 spaces, some of them beyond Barcelona’s provincial territory, committed to screening the films. 

The catalogue for this first edition contains Catalan, European, North and Latin American productions, that were screened at the Barcelona Auteur Film Festival, and it is expected that next year it will be extended with new films from the 2013 and 2014 festival editions. The director of the Sitges Film Festival, Àngel Sala, pointed out that the present panorama of the film industry is, especially in Spain, “changing and confusing”, and that “the traditional channels of production, distribution and exhibition are now antiquated”. That causes films that are a big hit among audiences and critics in Sitges to not ever be released in this country, as is the case with films by established directors like Brian de Palma. Besides the “strange” purchase habits of Spanish distributors, Sala remarked that the international companies should change their prices and lower them in accordance with the possibilities of Spanish income. And it is precisely in this adverse context that he highlighted that the initiative of the Auteur Cinema Catalogue is extraordinary.

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14/10/2013

 

Alex Van Warmerdam picks up the time machine award while ´Los Inocentes´makes the young Catalan creators a big hit

sitges film festival

sitges film festival

Sitges said goodbye to Charles Dance with the presentation of Mark Hartley’s film Patrick, a movie that also features Pino Donaggio, renowned for some of his soundtracks for Brian de Palma, and Sharni Vinson. Cult director Brillante Mendoza brought his horror movie Possession to Sitges and gave thanks for his first stay at the Festival. Finally, the twelve directors of Los Inocentes explained their film’s creative process to the public, alluding to their friendship and hinting that they’re preparing the sequel. In addition, Alex van Warmerdam picked up the Time Machine Award from the Festival in recognition of his life achievement.

Charles Dance continued his stay at the Festival presenting Patrick, accompanied by actress Sharni Vinson, composer Pino Donaggio and the film’s director Mark Hartley. Hartley expressed his desire to turn the first movie Patrick into something very different, with a much darker atmosphere than the original one. In addition, the filmmaker pointed out that in Australia genre films have to be made thinking about the rest of the world because there are no audiences for genre cinema in his country. Sharni Vinson explained that before working as an actress she was an athlete and that the filming of Patrick was the best in her life because “it allowed her to perform physically” with blows and jolts that would have been sheer punishment for any other actor but that, in her case, she had always wanted to shoot; on the other hand, director Mark Hartley stated that he’d never seen anyone move as fast as her and that in many sequences they didn’t need stunt people. In addition, Hartley also expressed his appreciation and satisfaction for having worked with composer Pino Donaggio, who gave the film’s soundtrack its sensitivity.

What is more, Brillante Mendoza presented Possession, a foray into horror by this filmmaker who, while he’s at it, offers a forceful criticism of the dynamics of mass media. Brillante Mendoza explained that, in the Philippines, the media works by manipulating reality looking for controversy instead of truth. As for his cinematic style, Brillante Mendoza said that he wants to continue doing audiovisual work that shows the world as it really is, and not conforming to broader styles. He also said he is opposed to describing some or other types of cinema as more or less accessible because each audience has its preferences for some styles or others and determining what should be more acceptable would imply being inconsiderate to a part of these audiences. Finally, the Filipino filmmaker gave thanks for the treatment he’s received on his first stay in Sitges.

The twelve young directors of Los Inocentes explained that one of their goals when shooting the film was precisely bringing it to Sitges, at a conference they offered the public to talk about their production. The filmmakers were accompanied Lluis Segura, their mentor from ESCAC who guided them, and explained the production process of their horror slasher and how their bonds of friendship made co-directing between so many people much easier. Among the references they turned to, they mentioned Hostel, Silent Hill, one of the sequels of Saw, John Carpenter, Brian de Palma and even romantic comedies. They also explained that they are thinking about a second part of the film, at the disposal of the possible producers present in the room.

In the Sitges View section, the eagerly awaited Spanish preview of an episode from the fourth season of The Walking Dead was screened simultaneously with FOX TV. And continuing with awards, actor, screenwriter and director Alex van Warmerdam received the Time Machine Award in recognition of his life achievement. Alex is in Sitges presenting the film Borgman.

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13/10/2013

Charles Dance packs the room at the screening of Game of Thrones and Mindscape defends the internationalization of film production

sitges film festival

 

Charles Dance, who received a Time Machine Award this afternoon at the Festival, was the center of attention today for the public, and the Tramuntana Room was packed with fans of the series Game of Thrones. The third day at Sitges 2013 also defended the internationalization of film production with the worldwide premiere ofMindscape, that brings together director Javier Dorado and the film’s stars Mark Strong and the acclaimed Taissa Farmiga. The day also included a round table of experts and professionals in fantastic and horror cinema to reflect on the role of women in genre movies. 

Among the multiple stars that have paraded through Sitges these days, the public’s attention was drawn to actor Charles Dance, who arrives to present an episode of Game of Thrones plus the film Patrick, a film that has a soundtrack composed by Pino Donaggio. The Tramuntana Room, headquarters for the Sitges View screenings where TV series are screened, was packed full of fans that gave standing ovations to Charles Dance’s statements, who said that he was so grateful for being received as  “a rock star”. The British actor, with a long personal career also received the Time Machine award. Dance has also brought to Sitges the production Patrick, a remake of the 1978 thriller by the same name directed by Richard Franklin and Everett de Roche –which, by the way, can be seen for free at Brigadoon–, directed in this new version by Mark Hartley. Tomorrow the filmmaker will present the movie in Sitges accompanied by Charles Dance, actress Sharni Vinson and composer Pino Donaggio. 

On the other hand, Mindscape celebrated its world premiere in Sitges, with director Jorge Dorado and actors Mark Strong and Taissa Farmiga. The film is the director’s feature length debut, a thriller looking for international scope. As with Grand PianoHooked Up or The Returned, a Spanish national crew is accompanied by Anglo-Saxon actors to construct a story and mise en scene according to shared movie standards. From Catalonia, but shot in the U.S, the documentary American Jesus by Aram Garriga was also screened, an exploration of the American territory based on multiple religious practices and questioning the whole cultural system. 

Today was also a day for in introducing the genre dimension at the Festival via a round table of important experts under the title From Bram Stoker to Glam Stalkers, the role of women in horror films. Consuelo Halter, deputy art director and programmer for the Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival; Francine H Raveney, executive director of EWA; Shelagh Rowan-Legg, movie critic, professor and programmer; Kier-La Janisse, director of the Fangoria website, Naomi Holwill, producer, Mar Tarragona, producer, and Sara Pons, filmmaker. The speakers discussed the diversification of the roles of women in genre films and different stereotypes like lady vampires or the victims of monstrous aggressions. The event was also an occasion to present the EWA, a network of women from the audiovisual industry who have set out to combat gender inequality in film and audiovisual performance and production in general. 

In addition, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels participated at Sitges today by sponsoring the films in the Focus Àsia category, a section that brings together interesting proposals arriving from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Chinas and India.

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12/10/2013 

Terry Gilliam and Eli Roth introduce a critical view of new technologies

sitges film festival 2013

The stars during the Festival’s second day are Terry Gilliam and Eli Roth; with a critique from both filmmakers on the social impact of digital technologies. Terry Gilliam offered a master classregarding his latest film, The Zero Theorem, while Eli Roth presented his latest production, The Green Inferno. Catalan cinema presents new up-and-coming figures with the eagerly awaited Los Inocentes. In other news, the Sitges Zombie Walk has brought an army of the undead to the streets, kicking off the three zombie marathons programmed for tonight and filled the town’s streets more than ever.

Terry Gilliam, one of the Festival’s most  outstanding figures, offered a master class for his followers to talk about his latest film, The Zero Theorem, an also about film production in com general. The filmmakers presented his critical view in Sitges, suggesting thatThe Zero Theorem offers many interpretations but that to a large degree, it can be understood as a questioning of the isolation caused by the new technologies, alienation in the workplace and consumption. Regarding his work system, the ex Monty Python member stressed the importance of the filmmaker performing like the audience would, with spontaneous reactions that the actors can perceive and banking on proximity. The film’s existentialism guided the director’s answers, and he stated: “I don’t know the meaning of life; otherwise, I wouldn’t continue making movies”. 

On the other hand, Eli Roth presented The Green Inferno accompanied by actress Lorenza Izzo and producer Nicolás López. The filmmaker reiterated his criticism of what he calls “lazy activism”, referring to the paralyzing effect of demonstrations limited to social networks. After recalling his first visit to Sitges eleven years ago with Cabin Fever, and his shock at genre cinema being celebrated with such enthusiasm, he concluded that the Festival “is the best in the world”. The producer of The Green Inferno, Nicolás López, highlighted the importance of the film bringing Latin American crews to international screens. Nicolás López, also a filmmaker, presents the zany Mis Peores Amigos: Promedio Rojo el regreso today  too.  

Eli Roth also took advantage of his visit to present the pilot of the series Hemlock Grove, directed by him, in the Sitges View section dedicated to series, and that also screened Bates Hotel today. Television, in this case cable TV, also played a prominent role in Sitges with the session organized by Canal+Xtra #Cinebasura.

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11/10/2013 

Sitges 2013 kicks off with Grand Piano and great expectation for the arrival of Terry Gilliam

sitges film festival 2013

 sitges film festival

Sitges 2013 has finally gotten underway and it did so with the marked expectation caused by stars like Elijah Wood, Terry Gilliam and Eli Roth, who all walked up the red carpet at the opening screening this evening. Grand Piano, directed by Eugenio Mira, opened the Festival that, on its first day, also featured the exhibition on The War of the Worlds, sponsored by Gas Natural Fenosa and that is a tribute to the legendary novel, radio broadcast and movies. 

The 46th Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia opened today with the presentation of Eugenio Mira´s film Grand Piano. Àngel Sala, the Festival director, stated that the competition is committed to Catalan and Spanish cinema, and that he feels that there are plenty of top quality proposals, referring to Grand Piano but also to the rest of the Catalan productions and others from all around the country that will be appearing on Sitges 2013´s screens. On the other hand, Elijah Wood, who is back at the Festival again, pointed out that he feels “at home” here. In addition, he mentioned the value of his experience of filming in Barcelona, besides how challenging it was to star in a film like Grand Piano. The director, Eugenio Mira, spoke about the importance of the producer’s role in making cinematic projects possible, and thanked Rodrigo Cortés for banking on him as the director. 

The Festival’s red carpet also saw other eagerly awaited faces, like Eli Roth or Terry Gilliam. And precisely tomorrow, Terry Gilliam will be the protagonist of several different events in Sitges. As well as presenting his latest work, The Zero Theorem, the ex-Monty Python member will be offering a press conference and a master class open to the general public. 

The Festival’s opening gala ceremony was also the moment chosen to hand out the Golden Méliès Award for the best feature length film screened at 18 European fantastic film festivals, that went to the forceful In the Name of the Son, by Vincent Lanoo. 

With the start of the Festival and the influx of spectators in Sitges, the local stores and restaurants have decorated their display windows to create just the right atmosphere for the main themes of the Festival. Via the Festival’s Facebook page, fans can vote for the display windows they like the most and the three that receive the most likes between today and October16th will receive a prize.

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09/10/2013

The Phonetastic Sitges Mobile Film Festival kicks off at Sitges 2013 with a commitment to democratizing fantastic cinema

sitges film festival

 

Mobile World Capital Barcelona backs this initiative signing a collaboration agreement. Ferran Mascarell, Minister of Culture, presides over the signing of this agreement, with the participation of the Sitges Film Festival and the Dr. Watson and Dicom Events agencies 

Sitges 2013 will be holding the first edition of the Phonetastic Sitges Mobile Film Festival, the first worldwide, fantastic-themed festival of short films made with cell phones and tablets. The agreement to make Phonetastic happen was signed by Miquel Forns, Mayor of Sitges and Chairman of the Fundació Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia Foundation; Agustí Cordón, Director General of Fira Barcelona and Vice-President of the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation and Enric Picó and Juan Ramón Rodríguez, representing Phonetastic, S.L. 

This first edition of the Phonetastic Sitges Mobile Film Festival will include an interactive point at its stand right in front of the Auditori at the Hotel Meliá. There, throughout the entire Festival, the Festival’s public can try out a giant prototype of the app to download to mobile devices. This installation is one of the central parts of this new project that is committed to creativity and new technologies as the backbone making the democratization of cinematic production a possibility. 

At Phonetastic’s stand you can watch shorts made with mobile devices. In addition, the Sitges Film Festival has programmed the screening of the 25 shorts accepted to compete in this first call at the Brigadoon zone, on Sunday 13 at 21:00. The winner of this year’s edition will receive the first Phonetastic Award at the Festival’s closing ceremony on Saturday 19 at the Hotel Meliá’s Auditori. 

The Phonetastic Sitges Mobile Film Festival is an initiative of Phonetastic S.L. and the Sitges Film Festival, with the support of Mobile World Capital as partner and promoter of the completion an in collaboration with the Sr. Watson agency and Dicom Events.  

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07/10/2013

The extensive and heterogeneous fantastic universe converges in Sitges

sitges film festival

Takashi Miike, Charles Dance, Pino Donaggio, Renny Harlin, Alex Van Warmerdam and Simón Andreu are the stars of our tributes

The fantastic universe’s multiple faces and different formats come together at Sitges 2013 in an edition that confirms the Festival as the genre capital in all of its narrative spheres: TV series, literature and the opportunities generated by the cell phone are also a part of our program. The Festival, held from 11 to 20 October, has designed a lineup where the most famous films that have picked up awards at the latest international festivals coexist with works arriving from emerging markets and low cost productions. The Minister of Culture, Ferran Mascarell; the Mayor of Sitges, Miquel Forns, and the Festival Director, Àngel Sala, presented the 46th edition today.

Takashi Miike will receive the Festival’s Honorary Award, while the Time Machine Awards will go to actor Charles Dance, composer Pino Donaggio and directors Renny Harlin and Alex Van Warmerdam. The Nosferatu Award will be for Simón Andreu.

Cinema and culture as a whole are being hit hard by the crisis. But even so, the crisis is also an opportunity for an outburst of new formats and expressions of a cinema that wants to preserve its role as a catalyst and generator of creative dreams and languages. Sitges, well aware of this tendency and sensitive to its fans’ tastes and affinities, opens the door to works, formats and proposals that have now become a reality in today’s popular culture. The Festival confirms its commitment to talent, creation, the industry and intellectual property.

Sitges 2013 will be the year of Takashi Miike, who will be honored with a well-deserved tribute in collaboration with the Japan Foundation. The Japanese filmmaker will be in Sitges with six movies, will pick up the Festival’s Grand Honorary Award and will be the star of an eagerly awaited master class. And Sitges 2013 will also be the stage to see some of the most important and daring genre proposals, made by Eli Roth, Nicolas Winding Refn, Johnnie To, Jim Jarmusch, Brillante Mendoza or Jorge Dorado. These are just a few of the filmmakers that are a part of Sitges 46’s Official Fantastic Selection, where a total of 28 films are competing.

Fantasy occupies a large part of our lineup with four other genre sections: Fantàstic EspecialFantàstic GalesFantàstic Competició and Fantàstic Panorama Especial. A wide-ranging shower of works by legendary filmmakers who are Sitges regulars, like Neil Jordan, Terry Gilliam, Robert Rodríguez, Alejandro Jodorowski, Vicenzo Natali, Brad Anderson or Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

The Noves Visions category, that explores proposals using the most innovative audiovisual language, will be dedicated this year to Iranian Jafar Panahi, victim of his country’s censorship. Noves Visions will be the platform for pieces by Jean-Luc Godard, Peter Greenaway, Edgar Pêra, Nick Cassavettes, Jeremy Gardner, Denis Côté, Sion Sono, Takashi Murakami or Meul O. Noves Visions is organized in four subsections: Ficció, No Ficció, Experimenta and Emergents. SGAE Nova Autoria, also a part of Noves Visions, will be screening and presenting awards for works from the different film schools participating in this initiative.

The Focus Àsia category, programmed in collaboration with The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels, will bring works from different scenarios from around the continent (Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, India and the Philippines), while Anima’t will be the territory for long-awaited works by Masahiro Hosada, Hideaki Anno, Bill Plympton or Luiz Bolognesi. Midnight X-treme, on the other hand, comes to Sitges 2013 with the label of the very best independent horror and films by Joe Begos, Haylar Garcia or Christian James.

The Seven Chances category celebrates its twentieth anniversary as the critics’ point of reference in Sitges –with the participation of the Catalonian Film Library– and celebrates it with seven deluxe proposals from Brian de Palma, James Franco, Valerio Zurlini, Jean-Claude Brisseau, Joss Whedon, Pang Ho-cheung and the duo Lucien Casting-Taylor with Verena Paravel.

The proposals aimed at the children’s audience arrive with Sitges Family with the legendary The Wizard of Oz in 3D and others by Kim Yong-hwa and Park Young-kyun. In addition, Hayao Miyazaki’s latest work will be in Sitges at a special screening.

The recently deceased Jesús Franco will be starring in a double screening in Mondo Macabro and three others in Brigadoon. This section will also be paying tribute to the extensive career of Simón Andreu –­who will pick up the Nosferatu Award–, be screening premieres by Antonio Mayans and Luciano Onetti, will reserve a preferential space for documentaries and review the work of Columbian Jairo Pinilla.

 

Jury

The jury of the Official Fantàstic In Competition Selection is made up by filmmaker Fede Álvarez (Evil Dead); Catalan Actress Aina Clotet; Franck Ribière (La Ferme Productions); director and screenwriter Miguel Ángel Vivas (Kidnapped), and the director of the Lund International Film Festival (Sweden), Christian Hallman. The critics’ jury, presenting their own awards for the Festival’s screenings, is made up this year by Alejandro G. Calvo (Sensacine, El Cultural, Rockdelux), Gerard Alonso (Fotogramas, Caimán, Transit) and Marta Armengou (‘La Cartellera’, de BTV).

The Noves Visions jury consists of filmmaker and designer Javier Chillón; film critic Stéphanie Zacharek (Village Voice), and journalist Alfons Gorina. The Noves Visions Emergents and Experimenta subsections have a jury made up by critic Víctor Esquirol and Catalan filmmaker Denise Castro.

The Focus Àsia / Anima’t jury consists of the art director of the BAFICI festival in Buenos Aires, Marcelo Panozzo; producer, distributor and ex-director of the Sitges Film Festival, Xavier Catafal, and illustrator and screenwriter Cels Piñol.

The Méliès Awards jury is made up by writer Miquel Fañanàs; director and father of the Balearic festival MareMostra, Álvaro Iglesias, and producer Fouad Challa.

The Brigadoon section’s jury consists of journalist Susana Soldado, filmmaker Sam (El ataque de los Kriters asesinos) and the driving force behind Almas Oscuras, Joan Lafulla.

The Carnet Jove jury, that assesses the Midnight X-Treme category, is presided over by Carlos Carvajal Gómez and made up by Vanessa Leiva, Víctor Parkas and Marc Tortosa. This is the ninth edition of this initiative carried out in collaboration with the Catalan government’s Secretaria General de Joventut de la Generalitat.

And finally, the SGAE Nova Autoria jury is formed by screenwriter Lluís Arcarazo, composer Álex Martínez Casamada and actress and filmmaker Mireia Ros.

 

Sitges View: the series

The emerging field of TV genre series will also play an important role in Sitges. Under the epigraph Sitges View, the Festival opens a door to this phenomenon, which is accumulating legions of fans, as demonstrated when the seven programmed screenings were announced. Sitges View will be showing premieres, pilots, unreleased material or reviews of the series The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Hemlock GroveThe Fjällbacka Murders, Bates MotelHannibal and Sleepy Hollow. Screenings will be in the Tramuntana Room and will be free for the general public. Some of the screenings will be attended by filmmakers, actors and producers, like Eli Roth and Charles Dance.

 

Genre literature

Genre literature and works reviewing great authors and filmmakers will have a significant role at Sitges 2013. The FNAC zone, in front of the Auditori, will be hosting talks and presentations on genre literature. Writers Lorenzo Silva –winner of the 2012 Planeta Award–Toni Iturbe, Santi Pérez, Gerard Guix, Martín Piñol or Julián Sánchez are a part of this space’s lineup, that also highlights the presentation of genre collections, comics and recent works dedicated to  Quentin Tarantino, John Carpenter, Lucio Fulci or the history of Spanish fantastic cinema. These activities are added to the Sitges Books initiative, created by the Festival last year and that is dedicated to selling eBooks of fantastic literature, thrillers and essays.

 

Phonetastic Sitges Mobile Film Festival

Sitges 2013 will also be hosting the very first edition of the Phonetastic Sitges Mobile Film Festival, the fantastic themed festival of short films made with cell phones and tablets. Phonetastic will also have an interactive part in the form of a stand in the Hotel Meliá’s Auditori throughout the entire Festival, and will be screening the 25 shorts accepted to compete in this first call. The showings will be in the Brigadoon zone, on Sunday 13th at 21:00. The winner of this year’s edition will receive the first Phonetastic Award at the Festival’s closing ceremony on Saturday 19th.

The Phonetastic Sitges Mobile Film Festival is an initiative of Phonetastic S.L. and the Sitges Film Festival, with the support of Mobile World Capital as the festival’s promoter partner and with the collaboration of the Sr. Watson agency and Dicom Events.

 

Sitges Coming Soon

The new space Sitges Coming Soon was one of the big sensations last year, where spectators got a chance to get to a close up look at the films of Jaume Balagueró and the Pastor brothers, among others. Sitges 2013 has also reserved a teaser screening, presenting the works of David Muñoz and Jorge Rodríguez, among others.

 

SGAE Nova Autoria

Appearing now from out of Catalonia’s film schools is an interesting breeding ground of screenwriters, directors and soundtrack composers who have problems to be known and appreciated. In the spirit of discovering, promoting and helping to publicize the talent of our country’s audiovisual creators, The SGAE’s Fundació Autor (Author Foundation) organizes and holds, as a part of the Festival’s Noves Visions category and for the 13th year running, the SGAE Nova Autoria Awards. These creators’ works will be screened on Saturday 12 October at the Cinema Prado.

This year there are 16 participating schools and universities that have presented a total of 38 works and, from among them, the Festival’s lineup selection committee has selected 10 works from 9 schools that are the ones that will be screened. The 2013 SGAE Nova Autoria Awards jury is made up of Lluís Arcarazo, film and television screenwriter; Àlex Martínez Casamada, soundtrack composer and orchestrator, and Mireia Ros, actress, screenwriter and film director.

 

The exhibitions

The 75th anniversary of The War of the Worlds is the motif of the exhibition sponsored by Gas Natural Fenosa in the space located in front of the Auditori and that pays tribute to the novel, the radio broadcast and the movies. This space, which will open on Friday 11 October, at 11:00 a.m., depicts life in a typical 1930’s American home, under the threat of a supposed alien invasion.

The Palau de Maricel, on the other hand, will be presenting the posters from all the previous editions of the Festival, since it was born in 1968 as the International Fantasy and Horror Film Week.

The exit hall at the Auditori will pay a small tribute to Jesús Franco with different posters from his extensive filmography.

And the Auditori’s entrance hall will recreate a small installation with original pieces from the film The Grand Piano, in a collaboration between the Festival and the specialized website Cuernavilla.

 

Sitges Zombie Walk

The country’s biggest and most eagerly awaited zombie manifestation will be held on 12 October this year. Starting at 20:00, the Sitges Zombie Walk will travel the streets of downtown Sitges and end on Primer de Maig Street.

 

Sitges increases its collaborations

The Festival’s desire to establish agreements with institutions and theaters around the country has resulted in two new proposals this year: the Catalonian Film Library will be programming a selection of the best films screening in the Seven Chances category over the last twenty years, while the Girona cinemas join in the tribute to Dutch filmmaker Alex Van Warmerdam, with a cycle of his previous films, like The Northerners (1992), The Dress (1996), Grimm (2003), Waiter (2006) or The Last Days of Emma Blank (2009).

 

Three cinemas and three more theaters

The Festival’s screening map has been extended with new spaces. Added already last year to Sitges’ three cinemas (the historic El Retiro and Prado) and the modern Auditori, was the Escorxador, which in 2013 will be programming Brigadoon again. This year, the Festival incorporates two more screening areas: The Tramuntana Room (in the Hotel Meliá itself), where we will be showing films, TV series and there will be master classes, debates and talks; and the Hort de Can Falç, in the heart of town, were we’ve programmed Sitges a la Fresca outdoor cinema, with free genre classic screenings.

 

A participative Festival

Precisely Sitges a la Fresca –recovering the spirit that Anima’t a la Fresca had back in the nineties– is one of the proposals to reinforce the Festival’s atmosphere and presence in the center of town. The display widows decorated with fantastic and horror motifs, the fantastic menus offered by some twenty-odd restaurants and different activities being carried out at diverse entities and spaces complete this spirit. Like last year, the Festival will once again have a double opening (at the Retiro) and closing (at the Prado), where the first series of Sitges 2013’s awards will be handed out).

 

Festival Support

Once again the Festival shows its gratitude for the commitment of its sponsors who, yet another year, have confirmed their support: Gas Natural Fenosa (Main Sponsor), Meliá Sitges and El Periódico de Catalunya (Sponsors), Deluxe (Collaborator), TV3 (Official TV), Telentrada de CatalunyaCaixa (Ticket Sales), Autolica – Mercedes Benz (Official Vehicle), Bacardi (Official Cocktail), Moritz (Official Beer), Movistar (Technological partner) and Lufthansa (Official Airline).

Sitges 2013 will also be possible thanks to the support of the Sitges Town Council, the Catalonian Generalitat’s Department of Culture and the Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales (Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts).

Renfe Rodalies has also renewed its support of the Festival and its public by putting in operation its usual Fantastic Train, a special service connecting Sitges and Barcelona, at 1:30 at night from October 11th to the 20th.

Text and Photo Sitges Film Festival