The Festival presents its most comprehensive lineup: 255 feature films, series and virtual reality
Six exhibitions headline the list of parallel events that top off a record breaking edition
Sitges 2017 is ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary. And to do it, the Festival has prepared a menu that promises to go down in history. From October 5th-15th, Sitges will become the fantastic genre universe that is committed to strengthening its status as a meeting place for professionals from the genre film industry and opportunities for the initiatives of young filmmakers.
Almost half a century has gone by since curtain time in Sitges for a Festival that would wind up being the most important one on this planet for fantastic genre films. It took place at the Casino Prado movie theater on 28th September 1968 with the screening of Aelita (Yakov Protazanov, 1924), a Soviet science fiction classic. Over these fifty years, innumerable movies have passed through Sitges, some of them already classics when they arrived –like Cat People–; others that have become classics over time –like Darkman or Reservoir Dogs–; and an infinite list, genuine works of art acclaimed by a loyal audience that is the basis of this Festival. Over these 50 years, filmmakers who were just starting their careers have come to Sitges –like Sam Raimi or Quentin Tarantino–, but also already renowned directorial maestros like David Cronenberg. Around the streets of a town where it’s still summer in October, actors searching for their first big role have rubbed shoulders with stars like Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Fay Wray or Max von Sydow. This is the story of Sitges. 50 years of love of fantasy.
Sitges 2017 is prepared to commemorate its 50th anniversary. With a new image, but preserving the classic gorilla as an emblem and the essence that makes it unique in the world, this film competition would like to share the celebration of its 50th anniversary with its loyal audience and all spectators interested in fantastic genre and cinema in its broadest sense.
At the front line this year is one of the Festival’s most endearing guests: filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who will be the ambassador or “padrino” of the commemoration. The Mexican director’s relationship with the Festival is one that began when he came to Sitges in 1993 to present his debut feature film, Cronos. Sitges only has words of gratitude for the person who will be its master of ceremonies, and who will be opening the Festival next Thursday October 5th with the unique The Shape of Water, recent winner of the Golden Lion Award in Venice. Guillermo del Toro will be the great host of a Festival that will be visited by important stars like Susan Sarandon, Frank Langella, William Friendkin, Vince Vaughn, Udo Kier, Dario Argento, or Robert Englund. From Asia to Europe, via the United States and Latin America, the new fantastic genre talent will be visiting Sitges, but without forgetting big classics, like The Rocky Picture Show –a screening that promises to be unforgettable with the presentation of the Grand Honorary Award to actress Susan Sarandon–.
The Festival will be screening 255 films, most of them included in their official sections, which will be screened in the four theaters: Auditori Meliá Sitges, El Retiro, Prado and the Tramuntana Room. But some of them can also be seen at the Festival’s other venues, with free admission, like Brigadoon, Espai Movistar +, Hort de Can Falç or the Miramar Cultural Centre, where we can see the virtual reality that has taken root in the Festival thanks to Samsung. At Sitges 2017, the public will also be able to enjoy an endless number of activities for all tastes.
Six fantastic exhibitions
Six is the number of exhibitions that can be seen in Sitges this year. Added to the two dedicated to commemorating the Festival’s 50th anniversary –which will be housed in the Miramar Cultural Centre, and that could be seen previously at the Catalonian Film Library and the Cercle Artístic de Barcelona–, is the exhibition Ink of Dracula-A Comic Tribute: a tribute to the Sitges 2017 leit motiv, coordinated by Borja Crespo and located at the Hotel Meliá Sitges Auditori exit. Along with Dracula, Lovecraft will also we receiving a tribute with illustrations by Joseph Díaz and Guillem H. Pongiluppi. An exhibition that can be seen at Maricel Palace. In addition, local artists will also be paying tribute to the Festival’s 50th anniversary with their works that can be visited at the Estudi Vidal as well as the Àgora3 at gallery. And finally, Casa Bacardí, along with the veteran magazine Fotogramas, join forces to offer Fotogramas Fantàstic, a show where 16 artists review seven legendary covers of this film magazine with a fantasy tone.
The 50th anniversary will be present every day and in every breath at a Festival that was already introduced to society in Los Angeles in February and at Cannes in May. The tribute to its founders (today, Thursday, the Prado) and the closing that will be featuring La Fura dels Baus or other moments where the Festival will be recalling its track record. The commemoration of the Festival will also be reflected in an Once lottery ticket dedicated to the film competition next Thursday October 5th.
Talks, round tables, presentations, meetings and master classes
In the usual FNAC Marquee, this multifaceted Sitges will be providing presentations of books, comic, editions of films on DVD and Blu-ray. Presented there will be, among other publications, the book that won this year’s Minotauro Award, Nieve en Marte (Snow on Mars), by Pablo Tébar, and this year’s Sitges Festival book: Sitges 50 años celebrando la oscuridad (Sitges 50 Years Celebrating Darkness), a book commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, a recap of recollections, guests and experiences from the first five decades of the Festival. At the same time, the book reviews the history of fantastic genre cinema that played an important role at the film competition. In addition, the FNAC Marquee will be the venue chosen for the presentation of the book Algo en la Sangre (Something in the Blood), by David J.Skal. A biography of Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, and creator of one of the myths with the most adaptations for film.
The Noray Marquee at the Hotel Meliá Sitges will be the place where the Master Classes will take place this year. Both accredited visitors and the general public will be able to attend these programmed encounters with the Festival’s guests, among them Susan Sarandon, William Friedkin or Frank Langella. These sessions are a new opportunity for the Festival to bring the stars closer to the fans. Also at the Hotel Meliá Sitges –in the area located in the Atrium– you can access some of the activities for the audiovisual industry, which will also be relocated to other venues, like Brigadoon or the Maricel Palace.
The Sitges Festival de Sitges reinforces its relationship with the industry: Sitges Film Hub
Once again, the Festival increases its contribution to the profession and the sector, through presentations, forums, debates and –one of the most applauded initiatives– meetings that are opportunities to finance audiovisual projects.
The Filmarket Hub online platform and the Sitges Festival have selected, from among the more than 150 candidates, the seven feature film projects to participate in the Sitges Pitchbox 2017, the international pitching event that will be taking place at the Festival’s fiftieth edition. The seven projects that make up the official selection are: Biopunk by Liam Garvo (United Kingdom), Conexo by Carlos García (Spain), Matilda Corkscrew by Victor Jaquier (France), Pochinok by Daniel M. Caneiro (Spain), Restore Point by Robert Hloz (Czech Republic), Teo by Víctor Manuel Checa (Peru), and The Monster Within by Rodrigo Susarte (Chile).
In addition, the Federación de Gremios de Editores de España (FGEE) – The Federation of Spanish Publishers – and the Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia have reached an agreement of collaboration for authors and representatives from the audiovisual sector to study the possible adaptation of books for fantastic genre films. Through this initiative, Taboo’ks, the intention is to generate opportunities for both sectors and, at the same time, boost Sitges as a platform for the promotion of, not only film industry works, but also for other related cultural industries.
Among the outstanding activities in the Sitges Film Hub are the roundtable on The Spanish Fantastic, which will be attended by Jaume Balagueró or Carlos Vermut; presentations, like the Master Degree on Fantastic Film and Contemporary Fiction that has been developed by the Festival along with the Open University of Catalonia; and, in this case linked to gastronomy, the Sitges Bacanal: a unique food tasting event offered by the famous chef Nando Jubany, related to the Dracula leit motiv.
For more information, the Sitges Film Hub activities dossier is available.
Virtual reality is established as a competitive section thanks to the Samsung Sitges Cocoon
The exponential evolution virtual reality is having as a brilliant new audiovisual narrative has made it possible for this year’s Festival –in its agreement with the technological company Samsung– to set up two totally free venues with Samsung Gear VR technology: the Samsung VR Experience Tent located outside the Hotel Meliá Sitges and the Samsung VR Cinema at the Miramar Cultural Centre. If in the tent, the public can enjoy uninterrupted screenings of diverse fantastic themed content, in the Samsung VR Cinema venue you can attend the screenings of about 15 pieces from all around the world in an innovative synchronized VR movie theater. These pieces make up the Samsung Sitges Cocoon section, and will compete for the award for best VR experience as judged by a prestigious jury. The audience will also be able to serve as a jury thanks to its virtual vote, choosing its favorite immersive experience.
Catalan talent present at Sitges 2017
For this anniversary edition, the Sitges Festival will be joined by one of the indisputable figures in Catalan fantastic genre, filmmaker Jaume Balagueró. The director’s work is a part of Sitges’ history, ever since he presented his short film Alicia in 1994, where he debuted as a filmmaker. This year, the director presents his latest work in the Out of Competition Official Selection, the mystery drama Muse. Also in the Official Selection, you can see the new film by Sadrac González-Perellón Black Hollow Cage. Along with them, the presence of three Catalan productions that have entered among the selected in-competition short films –remember that last year the winning short film at Sitges 2016 picked up the Oscar in its category–.
For the eighteenth year in a row, the SGAE, the SGAE Foundation and the Sitges - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia will be celebrating the SGAE Nueva Autoría Awards, —as a part of the Noves Visions section—, offering up and coming authors from Catalonia’s film school the chance to exhibit their works and present them to the general public as a part of an audiovisual event with international scope. This year, there are 17 participating schools, which have presented a total of 41 audiovisual works. By genre, they have presented 28 fiction works, 7 animation and 6 documentaries. The jury of Noves Visions will be formed by Lluís Arcarazo (scriptwriter, director and executive producer), Xavier Capellas (composer) and Carla Simon (director and screenwriter).
Another aspect to highlight this year is the increase in the subtitling of films in Catalan, which has grown from 95 to 107 titles, representing 60% of the total amount of films screened at the Festival.
50th anniversary edition jury
Five celebrities from the fantastic universe, both in its literary and its cinematic dimension, make up the Official Fantàstic Jury for the 50th Sitges Festival. First of all we find American filmmaker Gary Sherman, also a writer and a producer, author of one of the great cult fantastic genre movies, Dead and Buried, which he himself, along with director William Lustig, will be presenting on Sunday October 8th in the Brigadoon section. The second jury member is the writer and film critic David J. Skal, known for his analysis and research of both horror films and literature, and who this year will be presenting the book Algo en la Sangre (Something in the Blood), Bram Stoker’s biography. American screenwriter and author Nick Antosca, creator of the TV horror series Channel Zero –which will be presented as part of the Serial Sitges lineup this year-, along with screenwriter and film director Alberto Marini, and the independent producer Hattie Yu, who complete an Official Jury that is closely linked to the parallel events that will be taking place during the Festival’s 50th anniversary.
Support for the 50th Edition
Once again this year, the Festival is grateful for the commitment of all the collaborating entities and companies: Gas Natural and Moritz (main sponsors), and Torres (sponsors), Samsung (technological sponsor), Meliá Sitges (sponsor and official headquarters), Movistar+ (multimedia partner), Deluxe (collaborator), La Vanguardia (official newspaper), TV3 (official TV), Autolica - Mercedes Benz (official vehicle), and Bacardí (official cocktail).
Sitges 2017 is organized thanks to the participation of the Sitges Town Hall and the Catalonian Generalitat’s Department of Culture’s Institut Català de les Empreses Culturals (Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises) and is supported by 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) and the Carnet Jove - Departament de Benestar i Família (Department of Welfare and Family).
The Festival’s institutional press conference has been held thanks to the collaboration of the Catalan Film Library.
Sitges 2017 Guests
Grand Honorary Award
William Friedkin (director)
Susan Sarandon (actress)
Frank Langella (actor)
Time Machine Award
Kornél Mundruczó (director)
Vincent Price (actor), accepted by Victoria Price
Santiago Segura (director)
Udo Kier (actor)
Honorary Maria Award
Juan Mariné (director of photography)
Fred Tsui (producer)
Sergio Martino (director)
Denise O'Dell (producer)
Juan Giménez (comic book artist)
Tony Isbert (actor)
Bacardí Sitges Indomitable Spirit Award
Official Fantàstic Jury
Gary Sherman (director)
David J. Skal (writer)
Hattie Yu (producer)
Nick Antosca (writer)
Alberto Marini (director)
Noves Visions Jury
Guillerm Clua (screenwriter)
Ivan Guyot (Canal+)
arlota Moseguí (critic)
Blood Window / Méliès Jury
Nicolás Ronchi (casting director)
Eduardo Trías (director)
Pedro Usabiaga (art curator)
Focus Àsia – Anima’t Jury
Annete Trumel (casting director)
JR Young (producer)
Mirito Torreiro (programmer)
Paco Plaza (director)
Àlex Blasco (programmer)
Anna Bogutskaya (producer)
Mercè Coll (critic)
José Luis Llosa (critic)
Guillem F. Marí (critic)
Samsung Sitges Cocoon Jury
Javier Olivares (director)
Jaume Balagueró (director)
Miguel Ángel Ruiz (programmer)
Carnet Jove Jury
Xavier Mogrovejo Acosta
Laia Puig Fontrodona
Maria Montserrat Morales Sanchez
Tanit Fernandez Ciria
Alejandro Hinojosa Moscoso
Dario Argento (director)
Lamberto Bava (director)
Victoria Price (Time Machine Award for Vincent Price)
William Lustig (director)
Carlos Vermut (director)
FEATURE AND SHORT FILM CREWS:
The Shape of Water (Opening)
Guillermo del Toro (director)
The Lodgers (Closing)
Brian O’Malley (director), Charlotte Vega (actress)
Proyecto Tiempo: Parte II (Cinergia)
Hiba Abouk (actress), Pablo Rivero (actor)
Alexandre Philipe (director), Robert Muratore (producer), Kerry Deignan Roy (producer)
Paul Urkijo Alijo (director), Álex de la Igesia (producer), Carolina Bang (co-producer), Kandido Uranga (actor), Uma Bracaglia (actress), Luis Oza (producer), Rodolphe Sanzé (producer), Araceki Pérez Rastrilla (producer), Kiko Martínez (producer), Mar Álvarez (producer)
Guillermo Amoedo (director), Vanesa Restrepo (actress), Gabriela de la Garza (actress), Rodrigo Bello (producer), Rodrigo Trujillo (producer)
Sergio G. Sánchez (director), Sandra Hermida (producer), Belén Atienza (producer), Ghislain Barrois (producer), J.A.Bayona (producer), Paolo Vasile (producer), Álvaro Agustín (producer)
You Only Live Once
Federico Cuevas (director), Santiago Segura (actor), Arancha Martí-Marín (actress), Hugo Silva (actor), Maria Luisa Gutiérrez (producer)
Stephan Rick (director), Brett Forbes (producer), Patrick Rizzotti (composer), Stepfan Schulzki (composer), Jens Grotzschel (composer), Felix Cramer (director of photography), Richard Tintelnot (VFX), Alexander Shkolnikov (VFX)
P. David Ebersome (director), Todd Hughes (director)
The Wandering Soap Opera
Galut Alarcón (film editor)
SITGES CLASSICS - DRACULA UNCHAINED
El vampiro (1957)
Daniel Birman Ripstein, Rosario Soto
SITGES CLASSICS - HONG KONG MOVIE EXPERIENCE
Johnnie To (director), Kei-chi To (producer)
Millie Bobby Brown (actress), Noah Schnapp (actor)
Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo (director), Alberto Sánchez-Cabezudo (director), Eduard Fernández (actor), Carlos Bardem (actor), Alexandra Jiménez (actress), Emma Suarez (actress), Alba Galocha (actress)
José F. Riveiro (director)
Francesc Xavier Capell (director)
Arturo de Boadilla (director)
Jordi Marcos (director)
In the Interstices of reality
Joa Monteiro (director)
Daniel Amstrong (director)
Video Bizarro Local 63
Dolores Montaño (Director), Marian Juárez (director)