Takashi Miike is welcomed with a standing ovation in the master class he offered at the Festival and where the book dedicated to him by the Festival was also presented
The prolific Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike said that he felt truly moved by his welcome at the Festival. The session also was put to good use to present the book Sitges dedicated to him this year. The director receives the Festival’s honorary award and, in addition to Shield of Straw and Lesson of Evil, a retrospective of his work will be showing. Catalan filmmaker Manuel Carballo also presented The Returned, a film where “it’s not the zombies who are scary but the people”. All that, the day after Gas Natural Fenosa received the Lumière Award in Sitges for its contribution to cinema.
Takashi Miike was welcomed with a standing ovation in the master class he offered at the Festival, where a retrospective of his work and the recent productions Lesson of the Evil and Shield of Straw are also offered. The Japanese director jokingly said that because of this event, now “the Takashi Miike brand would be linked to violence and blood”. Festival director Àngel Sala described Takashi Miike as the director that has screened the most movies in Sitges, and considers him to be the most acknowledged filmmaker on the rich contemporary Japanese scene. He also expressed the Festival team’s adoration for the director’s work, the motive for honorary award he’ll receive tomorrow. At this event, the book, coordinated by Àngel Sala and Desirée de Fez, that the Festival published on the occasion of the tribute to the director and the retrospective of his work, was also presented. Critic and programmer de Fez insisted on the Japanese director’s creative freedom and, for this reason, they also allowed the authors of the book their freedom, offering contradictory views of Takashi Miike’s work.
Also presented in Sitges today was the premiere of The Returned by Manuel Carballo, a young director but who’s a Festival veteran. The director valued Filmax’s support to be able to take genre cinema to the limits, like the production company already did with REC. Manuel Carballo explained that one of the goals of the movie is to return dignity to zombies, who have become a “degraded figure with no type of glamour.” The movie’s zombies, said Carballo, aren’t scary; “the truly scary ones are the human beings in it with some pretty contemptible behaviors”. According to the filmmaker, the screenplay offers an interpretation of the fear of others, in this case the “returned”, borderline beings. For the director, the screenplay was already powerful from the start, but it was developed by a team, finally becoming “a subgenre milestone, where it’s important to be ambitious”. Carballo stated that the film has a realistic appearance but he didn’t get any scientific guidance, and he defined the technical terms presented in The Returned as “the magic of cinema”. Actress Clàudia Bassols explained that the crisis calls for a change in routines and understanding between crews from different countries, and the director feels that you run into restrictions producing a film in any country, so “you depend on a crew that knows how to use the resources available to you”.
For Manuel Carballo, the film’s allusions to cutbacks in scientific research has made them “visionaries in this sense, although I would have preferred not to be one; because many different fields are suffering from it, also culture”. As for genre cinema, Carballo said that fantasy has always enjoyed good health and an unconditional, supportive audience, but we find ourselves at a point of fusion of all artistic fields, something that refreshes conventions. In this sense he said that The Returned can be described both at “post-zombie fantastic cinema” and “that it really is a romantic road-movie drama”. Julio Fernández, ideologist of Filmax’s genre line, informed attendees that the movie has already opened up distribution channels in different countries around the world, and he was very proud that tickets had sold out for the evening screening. The Returned premieres in Spain on 15 November with 115 copies all around the country.
Victor Garcia, who premiered the film Gallows Hill yesterday, was very proud today that his film premiered in Sitges, “a dream”, seeing that it was this Festival where he was trained as a spectator and his first works weren’t presented here. For the director, Sitges is a breeding ground of film crews, and he pointed out that filmmakers who bring their movies here have and international impact afterwards. Victor Garcia said that the end of the film is cyclic and round, and doesn’t suggest a sequel, but more than anything it’s the house’s trademark. The director stated that it’s the first time he faced original material and that his relationship with the producers was more one of conversation and negotiation than of imposition, and that he even managed to do the editing and post-production at home, which allowed him to make more decisions.
Leigh Whannell, the screenwriter for Insidious: Chapter 2 also presented this eagerly awaited movie. He announced that in the third part, the family starring in it will be changing. In addition, Whannell admitted that he’d like to direct, especially a small project, and then later joked that he’d like to be here in Sitges with the film next year. As for his role as actor in Insidious: Chapter 2 he said that it allowed him to be a part of the show after writing the screenplay, given that the screenwriter’s work is more solitary and ends before the rest of the crew’s. He stated that children, toys, and elderly people appear frequently in the movies he’s made with the director and that they always have a place in horror because they combine evil and innocence. He said that he sometimes gets scared writing the screenplay, writing terrible scenes all alone late a night. From the first haunted house movie to the home thriller sequel.
In addition, today MEDIA Antena Catalunya organized a master class and round table discussion about low budget cinema. Participating in this event were Álvaro Alonso, executive producer of Jaleo Films, as well as Albert Morera and Ivan Mas, line producers. At the conference, the importance of production values was claimed as one of the pending subjects in national cinema. Moreover, yesterday the Lumière Foundation gave the Lumière Cinema Medal to Gas Natural Fenosa for its contribution to Spanish movie theaters and film festivals.