Guillermo del Toro's 'The Shape of Water' opens the first day of a star-studded Sitges
Filmmaker William Friedkin receives the Grand Honorary Award at a stunning opening gala
The 50th anniversary edition of the Sitges - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia is a reality. The Festival, which kicked off this morning with the presentation of the commemorative lottery ticket that ONCE has created for this edition and the screening of part two of Proyecto Tiempo, produced by Gas Natural, had its climax with the opening gala and the screening of The Shape of Water, by Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, and the presentation of the Grand Honorary Award to director William Friedkin.
Sitges has raised the curtain for its 50th anniversary edition, and it did so spectacularly. Up to twenty different stars came together on the opening gala’s red carpet around six o’clock in the afternoon. With Mexican filmmaker Gulliermo del Toro as master of ceremonies and the Festival’s grand ambassador, a sublime list of guests accompanied him at the entrance to the Meliá Sitges Auditori: Stars like William Friedkin, Dario Argento, Ryoo Seung-wan, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Santiago Segura, Carmen Machi, or Ana Asensio who attended the opening of Sitges 2017.
But the first to set foot in the Hotel Meliá Auditori were the children who came for the traditional screening for schools. Today’s program continued at 11 in the morning in the Hotel Meliá gardens, with the presentation of the commemorative lottery ticket designed by ONCE (the National Organization of the Blind in Spain) to commemorate the Festival’s 50th anniversary; its drawing will be held on Sunday October 15th. Continuing with presentations, soon afterwards Gas Natural Fenosa, the Sitges Festival’s main sponsor, presented part two of Proyecto Tiempo, directed by Isabel Coixet and produced by the energy company, as a part of Cinergía, its initiative to generate content to raise awareness about energy saving and efficiency among the general public.
Opening day had its climax at the opening gala in the Sitges Meliá’s Auditori when Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro said a few words as the honorary ambassador of this 50th Festival edition, years after the Festival gave him the opportunity to debut in 1993 with Cronos, a film for which he received the Award for Best Screenplay. A preamble of applause accompanied the entrance of the great William Friedkin –director known worldwide for films like The Exorcist, The French Connection or Sorcerer– who received the Festival’s Grand Honorary Award from the film competition’s director, Ángel Sala.
The opening gala was also brought to a spectacular close by Guillermo del Toro and his marvelous The Shape Of Water, the latest film written and directed by the Mexican filmmaker that recently won the Golden Lion in Venice. As the filmmaker commented during the press conference, "what attracts me about genre is its poetry". This love story between a monster and a lonely woman is a fairy tale that reflects the greatness of fantastic genre, and which promises a 50th Sitges anniversary edition... to remember.