Fotograma de Pearl (Ti West, 2022)

Sitges 2022: Hyperconnected to Fantastic

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  • Dario Argento will receive the new Golden Honorary Award, while Quentin Dupieux, Ti West and Masaaki Yuasa will be honored with the Time Machine Award
  • Added to the previously announced line-up are Ti West's 'Pearl', Masaaki Yuasa's 'Inu-oh', Eduardo Casanova's 'La piedad' and Mike Flanagan and Leah Fong’s 'The Midnight Club', among many others
  • The Festival will have the honor of receiving a visit from Eva Green, who will be coming to present Lorcan Finnegan's 'Nocebo'

 

Sitges 2022's virtual worlds are ready and waiting. This year the Sitges - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia is presenting a diverse and daring lineup, symptomatic of the excellent state of recent fantastic genre filmmaking. Among the almost 200 feature films that make up this 55th edition, you will find both long-standing fantastic genre masters as well as promising up-and-coming filmmakers. From October 6th to 16th, the seats of the Auditori, Prado, Retiro, Tramuntana and Escorxador will once again be abuzz with the passion and enthusiasm of Festival fans.

During his stay in Sitges, Dario Argento will be receiving the Golden Honorary Award for his monolithic contribution to the horror genre. This veteran producer and director, who already received the Time Machine Award in 1999 and the Grand Honorary Award in 2012, became a genre film institution in the 70's and 80's, a period during which he popularized the giallo subgenre. To his credit he has cult classics like Suspiria, Deep Red, Phenomena or Tenebrae. This year he will be attending his date with the Festival to present Dark Glasses, his first film in ten years.  

In addition, Sitges regular Quentin Dupieux will also be honored with the Time Machine Award. This year the French filmmaker, who has provoked roars of laughter in the Auditori on numerous occasions (Mandibles, Rubber, Reality, etc.) will be presenting Incroyable mais vrai and Smoking Causes Coughing, two different approaches to the absurd comedy that characterizes him so well.

From the USA, Ti West delivers Pearl, the long-awaited prequel to X. Set decades before the grisly events of X, Mia Goth returns as the future psycho-biddy Pearl, here a starry-eyed farm girl with a short fuse and a deadly ambition. In addition, the Festival will have the honor of welcoming Ti West, who will be receiving the Time Machine Award for his incredible contributions to the horror film genre.

An essential figure in Japanese animation over the last two decades, Masaaki Yuasa, couldn't be absent from this year's Sitges Film Festival. After presenting Night is Short, Walk On Girl and Lu Over the Wall in 2017, and Ride Your Wave in 2019, the renowned Japanese filmmaker will be attending the Festival to receive the Time Machine Award, and to present his new feature length film, Inu-oh. This new, psychedelic creation aims to reimagine Japan's ancient history by combining its theatrical tradition with an irresistible rock spectacle, embellished with all the touches of surrealism that characterize Yuasa's animation.

The Sitges Film Festival will also be welcoming the national premiere of two eagerly awaited Spanish productions. Eduardo Casanova returns to the Sitges Film Festival after having presented a fragment of his debut feature, Pieles, at the 2016 edition. La piedad, his confirmation film, is a blend of horror and melodrama bathed in an omnipresent pink color that showcases the director's trademark over-the-top, baroque style.

Regarding the line-up of series, Sitges will be presenting the first two episodes of The Midnight Club, the new series created thanks to the alliance between Mike Flanagan and Leah Fong, produced by Netflix. With highly acclaimed productions including Midnight Mass and The Haunting of Hill House, Flanagan has made a name for himself as a horror series creator, producer, screenwriter and director, and is considered to be one of the contemporary genre masters. This project is an adaptation of the novel by Christopher Pike, where a group of terminally ill patients at a hospice gather at midnight to share horror stories with each other.

Finally, the Festival will be honored to welcome Eva Green, who’s going to be presenting Nocebo, Lorcan Finnegan's third feature film. The well-known actress from Sin City:  A Dame to Kill For and Dark Shadows plays a fashion designer suffering from a strange illness in this mysterious thriller. All in all, it's a commentary on exploitation and consumer culture.

 

Official Selection

The Official In-Competition Fantàstic Selection will once again be offering a diverse selection of films, featuring completely different subjects and styles. After Lamb's big win last year, Sitges will once again be hosting the best in international folk horror with productions like Tereza Nvotová's Nightsiren and The Knocking, by Max Seeck and Joonas Pajunen, two films that, based on the exploration of family ties, return to the forest as a breeding ground for the mysterious.

Childhood and brotherhood also come to the surface in Simon Rieth's Summer Scars, a fantasy adventure that reunites two brothers hiding a secret, and in Édouard Salier's Tropic, a metaphor on the acceptance of identity conveyed by Tristan, an aspiring astronaut who transforms into a monster after coming into direct contact with toxic waste. Likewise, several spawns of the devil will also be present, such as Kjersti Helen Rasmussen's NightMare and Michelle Garza’s Huesera, which deal with the subject of a tortuous and supernatural pregnancy, a classic horror film trope.

The in-competition Official Selection will also be presenting a sampling of very unique artistic expressions. Veteran Rithy Panh's Everything Will Be OK is a case in point. This political documentary, winner of a Silver Bear at the Berlinale for its outstanding artistic contribution, uses puppets to explore deep-rooted political issues such as democracy and totalitarianism. On the other hand, newcomer Andrew Cumming's The Origin will transport audiences to Paleolithic times through its stunning Scottish locations, while Thomas Hardiman's debut feature Medusa Deluxe will address the intrigue inherent to whodunits using an extremely formal approach, the single-shot, and a context as unusual as it is attractive, a hairdressing competition.

And finally, two period films. Representing the war genre arrives Sisu, the third feature film by Finnish director Jalmari Helander, who was a big winner at the 2010 edition with his mischievous debut feature Rare Exports. On this occasion, Helander has conceived an action film that follows a Finnish soldier who will have to protect the gold he's found in the Lapland wilderness from the hands of Nazi soldiers. Meanwhile, representing 19th century drama will be Emily, actress Frances O'Connor's directorial debut, which tells the story of the short life of Emily Brönte, author of the best-seller Wuthering Heights.

As for the out-of-competition special screenings, they will be marked by the presence of horror movie monsters, like the killer goblins in UK director Jon Wright's Unwelcome; the demon that tries to possess the protagonist of Adrián García Bogliano's La exorcista; or, from the comedy angle, the ferocious sharks of L'anne du requin, whose directors, the Boukherma Brothers, were award winners at the Festival's 2020 edition for their unforgettable Teddy. On the other hand, Catalan filmmaker Víctor García will be returning to Sitges a decade after Gallows Hill, this time with La niña de la comunión, which we had the chance to see the trailer of at last year's edition. Set in the 80's, the story follows Sara and Rebe, two teenagers from a town in the depths of rural Spain who, after going out partying and finding a doll dressed in communion clothing, start to experience a genuine nightmare.

 

Òrbita / Noves Visions

After two years of absence, for its 55th edition the Sitges Film Festival is bringing back the Òrbita section, that historic cradle of action movies and thrillers. And naturally, it will be arriving with plenty of surprises. Jonas Govaerts' H4Z4RD, an action film on wheels that will make theaters rumble with its fans' applause, will be starting its engines. Wai Ka-Fai, Johnnie To's frequent directing partner, will be presenting Detective vs Sleuths, a new thriller that follows in the long tradition of Asian noir, which also includes Bad City, Kensuke Sonomura's second feature film. Finally, Diabolik, by the Manetti Brothers, will be offering the most eclectic side of crime movies, while Thomas M. Wright's The Stranger will be bringing the most dramatic side after its screening at the Cannes Film Festival. These are in addition to the previously announced As bestas, Hunt and The Roundup, among others. 

More new developments in Noves Visions, an infallible gauge of contemporary fantastic films. After its screening at Locarno this summer, Ann Oren's Piaffe will be opening this section. We will also be treated to classic science fiction conflicts like the time-space games in Andrew Legge's LOLA and La paradoja de Antares, the solo debut of Spain's Luis Tinoco; breathtaking natural landscapes that bring out the supernatural, like the Alps in Jacky Caillou, Lucas Delangle's debut feature, and La montagne, by French director Thomas Salvador; and genre approaches to current political issues in Dušan Milić's Darkling, Jean Luc Herbulot's Saloum, and Natalia Sinelnikova's We Might As Well Be Dead. We will also be able to see the eagerly awaited Domingo and the Mist, Ariel Escalante's second feature film, which was recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival and will represent Costa Rica at the 2023 Academy Awards.

 

Panorama Fantàstic / Midnight X-Treme

More than thirty films make up the two most fandom-oriented sections of the entire Festival. The applause from the Auditori, Prado and Retiro will be echoing all over Sitges with extreme approaches, from a classic perspective (Lee Thongkham's The Lake; Nyla Innuksuk's Slash/Back; Chava Cartas' MexZombies; Bill Hinzman's FleshEater and Sean Lahiff's Carnifex) and with twists on traditional storylines (Satoshi Miki's What To Do with the Dead Kaiju?, Jacques Molitor's Wolfkin and Travis Stevens' A Wounded Fawn), without forgetting reflections on the social problems of our times (Kirsten Carthew's Polaris, Kane Senes and Hannah Barlow's Sissy, and Peter Hengl's Family Dinner). Crime thrillers (Tales from the Occult, by Fruit Chan, Fung Chi-Keung and Wesley Hoi Ip Sang, Ryûhei Kitamura's The Price We Pay, and Rodrigo Gudiño's The Breach) will also have a space in these sections. Furthermore, it's important to point out the presence of the fifth installment of the highly acclaimed V/H/S saga, entitled V/H/S 99, already a classic found footage movie. This time it includes episodes directed by Johannes Roberts, Vanessa Winter, Joseph Winter, Maggie Levin, Tyler MacIntyre and Flying Lotus.

 

Anima’t

In addition to the previously announced Oink, which will open this section, The Other Way and Unicorn Wars, among many others, Anima't will also feature a number of additional works. The always stimulating Japanese animation will account for almost half of the section. These include Battlecry (directed by Yanakaya), which, with its videogame-like aesthetics, explores the criminal world of narcotics, and Break of Dawn, by Tomoyuki Kurokawa, which envisions the imminent collision of a deadly meteorite with our planet. Out of competition is Yaya e Lennie: The Walking Liberty, the third feature film by Italian animator Alessandro Rak, an ecological fairy tale that was screened at the most recent Locarno Festival. The Indian animation classic Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama, created by Ram Mohan, Koichi Saski and Yugo Sako no less than thirty years ago, will also be rediscovered.

 

Sitges Clàssics / Sitges Documenta

The 55th Sitges Film Festival will also be rediscovering great fantastic genre classics, both screening them directly and through documentaries that explore their merit and heritage. In the first category, the Sitges Clàssics section will be dedicating the "Hidden Macros" retrospective to the digital worlds and retro-futuristic visions that have populated science fiction since film is film. Celebrated filmmakers including Chris Marker (Level Five), Masaki Kobayashi (Kaidan), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (World on a Wire), Peter Weir (Picnic at Hanging Rock) and Olivier Assayas (Demonlover) will delight the audience's cinephile memories with their respective classics. Likewise, the more recent but no less remarkable Neptune Frost, by Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman, and Verbo, by Eduardo Chapero-Jackson, will be screened again.

As for the second, the Sitges Documenta section will be recalling the enormous impact of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Phillip Escott's The Legacy of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; giving a voice to fans of the Mad Max saga with Beyond the Wasteland, directed by Eddie Beyrouthy and paying tribute to two pillars of horror movies from the last fifty years, Stephen King and Robert Englund (Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story, by Gary Smart and Chris Griffiths, and King on Screen, by Daphné Baiwir). These join the previously announced [REC:] Terror sin pausa, Lynch/Oz, Mad in Belgium and Jurassic Punk.

Meanwhile, Catalan fantastic film production will be highlighted once again this year with the Catalunya Imaginària section, which will be screening Denver, the intriguing classic by Carles Balagué, and La barca sin pescador, a fantastic drama by Josep María Forn, who will serve as an homage to the late filmmaker.

 

Brigadoon

This classic section that fills the Escorxador's seats has added several premieres to its previously announced lineup, including What the Waters Left Behind: Scars, the sequel to What the Waters Left Behind, both directed by Argentine Nicolás Onetti, and 13 Notes en rouge, a French giallo by François Gaillard.

The Spanish selection is marked by the premiere of Vampiras: The Brides, Iván Mulero's second collaboration with the Goldheart Production Company following his short film Las Parcas, and Emerge, the new feature film by Catalan filmmaker Rafa Dengrá.

And finally, there will be a special screening of Raúl Artigot's classic film The Witches Mountain, celebrating half a century since its premiere. In tribute to the film, the Festival will have the honor of welcoming the legendary actress Monica Randall.

 

Woman In Fan : Second Edition

The program for the promotion of female fantastic genre creators will be taking place at this year's Festival with numerous activities, dedicated both to the historical recognition of the work done by benchmark women filmmakers as well as to a professional stimulus for women who are presently exploring the fantastic genre. A large number of female guests will also be participating at the upcoming Sitges Film Festival in a program open to debate and reflection on the opportunities available to women in the fantastic film industry.

The winner of the WomanInFan contest is Estíbaliz Burgaleta, who will obtain funding to make the teaser-short film for El chino, her feature film project. Burgaleta is a screenwriter and director with a long track record, especially in television, working on series including Velvet, Cable Girls, Morocco: Love in Times of War and Ciega a citas. She also co-wrote and directed the short films Bichos raros, Mañana and La leonera. El chino blends the local flavor of Shaun of the Dead, the black humor of REC 3: Genesis or Train to Busan and the nods to Spain's reality of The Day of the Beast to tell the story of a zombie invasion in a supermarket.

In addition, during the Festival there will be a round table discussion entitled Female Fantastic Genre Film Creators, where four women from different artistic backgrounds will share their creative processes in the fantastic genre field. Participating will be Argentine writer Mariana Enríquez; the co-founder of the Etheria Film Festival (a showcase for short films directed by women), Heidi Honeycutt; German director and actress Astrid Frank, one of the leading figures in horror short film directing, and the director of Piggy, Carlota Pereda.

In addition, at all the main screenings, a campaign will be shown to defend the work of women filmmakers in fields as diverse as animation, special effects and directing.  With this, Sitges recovers the memory of a whole series of fundamental women in horror, fantastic and science fiction films who have been overshadowed by history. This is the case of Millicent Patrick, a pioneer in special effects design, or Alice Guy-Blaché, director of history's first ever narrative fiction film.

Within this context of recognizing women in fantastic genre, director, programmer, producer and film critic Kier-La Janisse will come to Sitges for the second year in a row on the occasion of the presentation of the new edition of House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films. The author will sell and sign books at the end of the event. 

Finally, for the 2023 edition, the contents of a new book will be presented under the WomanInFan label, entitled Mistress of Fan. Monsters, Nightmares and Creatures Spawned by Them, and its parallel exhibition, on monsters designed or created under the direction of women filmmakers. The intention is to reinforce the historical value of women’s storytelling and the creation of references for today's female professionals.

 

Support for the 55th edition

Once again this year, the Festival is grateful for the commitment of all the cooperating institutions and companies: Moritz (main sponsor), Prime Video (multimedia partner), Sunglass Hut (fashion partner), So de Tardor (official white wine), Primavera Sound (featured partner), Lavazza (official coffee), Vilamòbil Audi & Volkswagen (official vehicle), TV3 (official TV network), La Vanguardia (official newspaper), Catalunya Ràdio (official radio) and Meliá Sitges (sponsor and official headquarters).

The Festival confirms its agreements with Cinemes Verdi, China Madrid, CineAsia, Cobega-Coca Cola European Partners, D.O. Ribera del Duero, Dama, DRoom, Ediciones Minotauro, ESCAC, Flaix FM, FNAC, Fotogramas, FX Animation, Hong Kong Trade Office, Iberia, IES Joan Ramon Benaprès Catering School, Japan Foundation, Manuel Bundó Marqués S.L., Montaz Media, Ocimag, Patates Piqué, Port d’Aiguadolç de Sitges Marina, Reial Cercle Artístic, Renfe, Sensacine, SelectaVisión, SGAE and the SGAE Foundation, The Original Cha-Chá, Vertix and Wallbox.

Sitges 2022 is organized thanks to the participation of the Sitges Town Hall, the Retiro and Casino Prado movie theaters in Sitges, the Catalonian Generalitat’s Department of Culture’s Institut Català de les Empreses Culturals (Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises), and receives financing from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports’ Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales (Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts), the Barcelona Diputació (City Council), the Servei Públic d’Ocupació de Catalunya -Conferència Sectorial d'Ocupació i Afers Laborals (Catalan Public Employment Service - Sectorial Conference for Employment and Labor Affairs), and the Carnet Jove - Departament de Benestar i Família (Department of Welfare and Family).

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