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William Friedkin dazzles Sitges



The Festival opens its 50th anniversary exhibition at the Miramar Cultural Center

The activities and screenings were multiplied on Day 2 of the Sitges Film Festival. In addition to the presence of filmmaker William Friedkin and actress Susan Sarandon, today was the opening of exhibition paying tribute to the Festival’s 50th anniversary, the presentation of the UOC’s Master Degree in fantastic film, and the launching of the virtual reality section, Samsung Sitges Cocoon. As regards the Official Selection, The Endless and The Killing of a Sacred Deer keep up the level achieved with The Shape of Water at yesterday’s opening.

The recollection of the moment when William Friedkin, yesterday evening, received the Grand Honorary Award, with the entire Auditorium giving him a standing ovation, was still in the air today at the press conference the director offered this morning. The filmmaker that terrified the world in 1973 with The Exorcist, continues to lavish the energy that’s characteristic of a creator at the age of 82: “I’ll retire when I die”, is one of his favorite phrases. During a half an hour, William Friedkin reviewed the history of Hollywood: “Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Ford, Orson Welles... they are my grand masters”, he commented to a packed press room where he once again sent a nod to Catalonia, like he did yesterday at the opening.

The Festival’s media attention baton was then passed to Susan Sarandon, another of the big stars visiting Sitges this year. During her encounter with the press, she referred to the way that social networks have changed the meaning of being famous: “it has changed everything, today young people aren’t interested anymore in being musicians or movie directors; what they want is to be famous”. Susan Sarandon, who continues to shine like she did in Thelma & Louise, also referred to the new exhibition and production platforms: “it’s in the series where actors can find riskier characters, in contrast to what is happening in film”.

The parallel events also multiplied today. Five minutes were enough time for Guillermo del Toro to give a master class about how to become a film director, at the opening of the third edition of Sitges Pitchbox. “The art of being a creator is the art of saying no and, above all, of knowing how to say it at the right time”. Following this event, the filmmaker, along with Festival Director Ángel Sala, headed over to the Miramar Cultural Center where they opened the exhibition 50th Anniversary Sitges - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia 1968 - 2017. Memòria del Fantàstic (Remembering the Fantastic), curated by Diego López, one of the Festival’s programmers. The Connecta’t Experience also took place today, where four Carnet Jove card holders shared an encounter with Catalan filmmaker Jaume Balagueró; as well as the presentation of the Master Degree Fantastic Film and Contemporary Fiction, born as a result of  collaboration between the Festival and the Open University of Catalonia; and the opening of the show Fotogramas Fantásticos, one of the seasons’ most original, cinephile exhibitions, born from the initiative of the Festival, the movie magazine Fotogramas, and Casa Bacardí.

Virtual reality has a lot to say at this anniversary edition of Sitges. At 6:00 this afternoon, the Samsung Sitges Cocoon was opened. An event attended by Ángel Sala who stated that he was “very satisfied to be able to count on Samsung as a partner that has opened the Festival up to virtual reality”. Immediately afterwards, there was a presentation for the press of Talismán, the virtual reality short film directed by Carlos Therón and starring Berto Romero. For the second year, Samsung Electronics is participating in the Sitges Festival de Sitges, as its technological sponsor and with the Samsung Sitges Cocoon section, offering viewers 27 different fantastic and horror productions in virtual reality and free of charge.

There were many diverse screenings throughout the entire day today. From the blockbuster Anabelle: Creation, to the documentary about Hitchcock’s masterpiece Psycho, 78/52, and including the French thriller La serpent aux mille courpures, in the Órbita section. In the Official Selection, American filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead returned to Sitges with The Endless, following the success of their previous film Spring back in 2014. The movie, which kicks off like a sect film, evolves as the storyline develops until taking on echoes of Lovecraft: “Our intention isn’t to mix genres, it’s something instinctive that takes place during the shoot”, Aaron Moorhead commented during the course of the press conference. The Killing of a Sacred Deer, by Greek Yorgos Lanthimos, showed once again that he is one of the most exceptional filmmakers in fantastic genre today.


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