Grand Piano, the Catalan film produced by Adrián Guerra and Rodrigo Cortés, and directed by Eugenio Mira, will open the 46th edition of the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia. Among the highlights this year will be the presence of the directors Johnnie To and Takashi Miike, as well as a focus on emerging markets and low-cost productions.
Sitges 2013, which will take place this year between October 11-20th, has already advanced part of its line-up in an edition that will witness the re-birth of Evil and its many faces – as Roman Polanski advanced in Rosemary's Baby. We will also discover new ways of approaching this art form and new business models that have risen from the current recession. This will be a Sitges of new formats, emerging markets, low-cost filmmaking, and new opportunities, that, despite all, arise with vigor from the economic dowturn. It will also be the Sitges that showcases the latest films of emblematic directors such as Takashi Miike, Johnnie To, Jim Jarmusch, and Nicolas Winding Refn.
Grand Piano, a co-production between the Catalan production company Nostromo and Antena 3, along with the participation of TV3, will inaugurate Sitges 2013. Set during a a piano concert, this solid-as-a-rock thriller confirms the extraordinary talent of Spanish helmer and Sitges veteran Eugenio Mira. The film stars Elijah Wood, John Cusack, Alex Winter, and Kerry Bishé. Sitges continues to bet on local talent and on the fantastique genre to bring a top quality film to the forefront of the nº1 genre festival in Europe.
The flagship of the Festival, section Oficial Fantàstic, presents some of the most eagerly awaited movies of the year, such as Only God Forgives by Nicolas Winding Refn – director of Valhalla Rising and Drive; Jim Jarmusch's latest film Only Lovers Left Alive, an eternal love story between two vampires; A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swann III, a surrealist comedy by the hand of Roman Coppola; The Congress, a spectacular adaptation of Stanislaw Lem directed by Ari Folman – responsible for Vals with Bashir –, that combines animation with a science-fiction story starring Robin Wright and Harvey Keitel; Sitges 2013 will also represent the return of Kiyoshi Kurosawa to the fantastique genre with Real.
Sitges 2013 will mark the much expected comeback of cherished filmmakers such as Alejandro Jodorowsky and his unique imaginarium with La danza de la realidad, or Neil Jordan with the vampire themed Byzantium. Oficial Fantàstic will also showcase young maverick directors such as Sebastián Silva and his Magic, Magic, and genre auteurs like Shane Carruth with his new film Upstream Color, or Marina de Van with Dark Touch.
Takashi Miike, one of our most celebrated directors in Sitges, will be one of our main guests. The Festival, who would like to thank the Japan Foundation for its support in bringing Mr. Miike to Sitges, will pay tribute to the director’s prolific career screening his two latest films: Lesson of the Evil and Shield of Straw.
Another Asian director, and also a Sitges veteran, that will grace the red carpet is Johnnie To, who will present the Sitges audience his two last films: Drug War and the black comedy Blind Detective.
The most radical and experimental section of the festival will welcome new titles from consecrated fimmakers like Ho Sang-soo (Nobody's Daughter Haewon), Phillippe Grandieux (White Epilepsy) and Peter Greenaway (Goltzius & The Pelican Company). It also will include unconventional new proposals such as Denis Coté's Vic et flo ont vu un ours, the Korean film Fatal, or the most innovative fiction represented through The End of Time by Peter Mettler. In the documentary section, film itself will be matter of debate and controversy with portrayals of great auteurs like Milius by Joey Figueroa and Zak Nutson – a close look at the films of the director that brought us Conan The Barbarian.
The year the Festival will support quality films made with little means – the so-called low-cost filmmaking. In the program Emergents which will include the spectacular zombie film The Battery, directed by Jeremy Gardner; the final version of La tumba de Bruce Lee by Canódromo Abandonado or El lobito by Antonio Dyez. Emergents will also pay special attention to new film markets and trends, vehicles for young talent.
Asia in Sitges
Asian cinema, that this year will count on the support of institutions such as The Brussels Hong Kong Economic Trade Office, Japan Foundation, and the Korean Film Council, will continue to be omnipresent in the Festival – across all sections, including Focus Asia.
In addition to Japanese, Korean, and Hong Kong films – that are always present in Sitges – Sitges line-up will also include films from other territories such as the Philippines, with the lastest work from director Erik Matti: On the Job. India will also be present with the film noir Ugly, by the director Anurag Kashyap, whom last year brought us Gangs of Wasseypur.
Animation will be one of the central points of this year's Festival, within its own section, Anima't, as well as in Oficial Fantàstic, and even in a retrospective that we will announce soon. The spectacular 009 RE-Cyborg, in 3D, from the makers of Ghost in the Shell, or the Otaku phenomena Evangelion 3.0 – both are good examples of the presence of animation in the year's edition. As in previous years, the festival will also count on their animation shorts competition.
Panorama/ Midnight X-treme
Terror for fans of strong emotions will also be present, especially in the Panorama and Midnight X-treme sections with titles that are already becoming hits in the international markets like Big Ass Spider, by Mike Mendez; Frankenstein’s Army, by Richard Raaphorst; Contracted, by Eric England; Kiss of the Damned, by Xan Cassavettes; Milo, by Jacob Vaughn or the much awaited Hellbenders 3D, by J.T. Petty, as well as the latest entry from the Hatchet slasher saga.
Our popular Zombie Film Marathon, that is kicked off anually with the famous Zombie Walk, will open with the film Battle of the Damned – a Robots-vs-Zombies actioner with Dolph Lundgren as the massacre master.
Documentaries will weigh heavily in the Brigadoon sections, with films such as Sangue Marginal - Relatos de cinema e vídeo underground, dedicated to Brazilian fantastique and horror film; or The Outsider - Il cinema di Antonio Margheriti, an overview of the works of the Italian director Antonio Margheriti.
Spanish director Jess Franco, deceased a few months ago, will be present in Brigadoon’s line-up this year. We will pay tribute to him by screening two of his un-released films, both co-directed with actor/director Fata Morgana: Lascivia (2007) y Monte de Venus (2006).
Jess Franco will also receive another tribute in Sitges 2013, in this case in the Mondo Macabro sections. His films Miss muerte, Los depredadores de la noche and the documentary La última película de Jess Franco (2013), direted by Pedro Temboury – a worldwide premier for Sitges. The screning will be presented by different experts on Jess Franco's work and will held a post-screening Q&A.
Sitges will celebrate 20 years of the Seven Chances section with a special collaboration with the Filmoteca de Catalunya. Seven Chances is a section that has made history during the last decades screening a kind of cinema always under the radar of the mainstream.
Sitges 2013 will launch the Phonetastic Sitges Mobile Film Festival – a new project for short films shot with smartphones and tablets. Phonetastic takes advantage of the new formats and platforms to give a chance to new talent from all around the world.
New Business Models
The economic recession that has impacted the film business is the reason that so many companies are reconsidering their business model. From this kind of introspection and challenge, many new companies that have grown parallel to the Festival these last few years, are coming out strong combining production, distribution and the new technologies. Such as the North American companies MPI Media Group and XYZ Films, with around 6 films in Sitges 2013, among them On the Job (Erik Matti), Frankenstein’s Army (Richard Raaphorst) and Contracted (Eric England), as well as The Rambler (Calvin Reeder) or Killers, a coproduction between Japan, Indonesia and the United States. This last one is directed by the The Mo Brothers– the Indonesian duo whose film Macabre was in Sitges in 2009.
The Festival would like to thank once again the support of their sponsors that, for another year, have confirmed their patronage: Gas Natural Fenosa (Main Sponsorl), Meliá Sitges y El Periódico de Catalunya (Sponsors), Deluxe (Collaborator), TV3 (Oficial Television Station) Telentrada de CatalunyaCaixa (Ticket Sales), Autolica – Mercedes Benz (Official Vehicle), Bacardi (Official Cocktail), Mortiz, (Official Beer) y Movistar (Technology Partner)
Sitges 2013 will also be possible thanks to the Sitges City Council, the Department of Culture of the Government of Catalunya and the Institute of Cinematography and Audio-visual Arts. The organization of the 26th year of this Festival is already working towards this coming edition, which once again will count on the Carnet Jove Jury, thanks to its relationship with the Catalan Youth Agency – the governmental agency responsible for the Carnet Jove.
Photo 1: Only God Forgives
Photo 2: Grand Piano
Photo 3: Byzantium
Photo 4: La danza de la realidad
Photo 5: Rosemary's Baby