Kubrick's iconic monolith presides over Sitges 2018
Director Peter Weir will receive the Grand Honorary Award and actress Pam Grier, the Time Machine Award
One of film history’s greatest symbols will be featured in the poster for this year’s 51st Sitges Festival. The mysterious monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction classic that’s celebrating its 50th anniversary– leads the way towards a film competition that will be loaded with the very best genre from the past, present and future. And long-awaited titles and world-class guests anticipate a Festival that will be held from October 4th to the 14th: eleven days of the best fantastic genre from all around the planet.
The universes of 2001: A Space Odyssey will be invading the 51st Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia. The poster’s image, created once again this year by the China agency, directly and, at the same time, very poetically, captures this element conceived by Kubrick that has been subject to many different interpretations over the last 50 years.
The film competition will also be banking on other thematic focuses that will complement the primary leitmotiv. On the one hand, it will be addressing fantastic genre films that appeared in the year 1968, like George A. Romero’s seminal Night of the Living Dead. And on the other, Sitges will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the premiere of Halloween, the popular film directed by John Carpenter, and the bicentennial of the Frankenstein myth, especially highlighting its feminine origin and mythology.
A great figure in contemporary film, Peter Weir, will be honored at Sitges 2018. Weir represents the most intelligent combination of mainstream cinema and auteur cinema. Director of films that are now already a part of the social imaginary, this Australian filmmaker is appreciated worldwide thanks to movies from diverse genres like The Year of Living Dangerously (1982), Witness (1985), Dead Poets Society (1989), The Truman Show (1998) or Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), although his first films are especially remarkable –clearly belonging to the fantastic genre – The Cars that Are Paris (1974), Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) or The Last Wave (1977). At Sitges 2018, Weir will be acknowledged with the Grand Honorary Award, in honor of a success-studded career.
Sitges 2018 will be graced with a prominent female presence. The American actress Pam Grier, star of action movies and an example of constant struggle, will be receiving the Time Machine Award. A regular in blaxploitation movies from the seventies –like Foxy Brown (1974) or Sheba Baby (1975)– Grier rocketed to worldwide fame when she starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (1997), following several appearances in films like Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks!. She has also participated in series like Miami Vice, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or The L Word.
Helga Liné, a German actress residing in Spain since the early sixties and an essential figure in national fantastic genre with films like Horror Express (1972) or Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973), will receive the Nosferatu Award bestowed by the Brigadoon section. Her extensive career includes roles in westerns, peplum –during her time in Italy– or comedy, beside filmmakers like Pedro Almodóvar, Umberto Lenzi, Pedro Olea or Amando de Ossorio.
Traci Lords, a true pop culture icon, trendsetter and a feminist referent, will also visit Sitges 2018 to receive the Honorary Maria Award. Lords has worked with many great names in independent American cinema such as John Waters, Greg Arraki and Roger Corman, and with consecrated Hollywood stars such as Johnny Depp. She made her mark in indie thrillers and horror films during the late eighties and early nineties. But it was her portrayal of bad girl Wanda Woodward in John Waters' Cry-Baby (1990) that earned her legions of female fans worldwide. She later reunited with Waters for Serial Mom (1994), followed by guest roles in bigger fantastic genre productions such as Virtuosity (1995) and Blade (1998). In 2012 she was in the critically acclaimed award winning indie film, Excision. Simultaneously, Lords appeared in several television series as a lead cast member, voiced video games, and recorded the critically acclaimed, underground techno album, 1000 Fires. She is currently working on a new EP, and her clothing line, Traci Lords for Couture for Every Body, is available online at PinupGirl Clothing. Lords lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son.
Some of the year’s films most eagerly awaited by genre lovers stand out among the first titles confirmed for the Festival’s 51st edition, many of them presented at Cannes 2018. As in the case of Under the Silver Lake, by David Robert Mitchell, the director who revolutionized terror with It Follows (Sitges 2014) and who now consolidates his status as a cult filmmaker with a paranoidal thriller set in Los Angeles and starring Andrew Garfield.
Another proposal is the fascinating Happy asLazzaro, from Italian director Alice Rohrwacher, which picked up the award for best screenplay (tied) at Cannes. The fantastic, allegorical tale of a friendship, with a cast that includes Catalan actor Sergi López. Burning, the Korean thriller directed by Lee Chang-Dong that adapts a story by Haruki Murakami, can also be seen in Sitges. An elegant love triangle shrouded in mystery and existentialism that exposes the most hidden human obsessions.
The return of Lars Von Trier, The House that Jack Built, couldn’t possibly be missing at Sitges 2018. The always provocative Danish director unleashed a storm of controversy in Cannes with the course of a serial killer, played by Matt Dillon, a film that doesn’t cut back on sadism or excesses. Bruno Ganz and Uma Thurman complete the star-studded cast. Another long-awaited return is that of Gaspar Noé with his Climax. A visual, sensorial and lysergic festival to the rhythm of urban danceand with the dose of perturbation that characterizes this French filmmaker, who already seduced Sitges previously with Enter the Void or Love.
The limits of insanity are also explored in Mandy, from the Italian Canadian Panos Cosmatos, a hard-hitting, aesthetically dazzling, vengeance action film starring Nicolas Cage. The young New Yorker Nicolas Pesce, who presented The Eyes of my Mother at the 2016 Festival, returns to Sitges with Piercing, an indie thriller with touches of dark comedy starring Mia Wasikowska and including the participation of Catalan actress Laia Costa.
Two horror productions will be arriving from Canada with the signature of directors who have visited other Festival editions. Pascal Laugier, the French filmmaker who totally shook Sitges up in 2008 with Martyrs, will be presenting Ghostland, a visceral horror film with psychopaths. On the other hand, the directors of Turbo Kid (Sitges 2015), Anouk Whissell, François Simard and Yoann-Karl Whissell will present Summer of ’84, a retro style teen movie about the hunt for a serial killer.
Parisian zombies are featured in La nuit a dévoré le monde, Dominique Rochers’ debut feature. A horror movie about surviving in the deserted streets of a Paris that’s been ravaged by the living dead. The Spanish documentary Sad Hill Unearthed, directed by Guillermo de Oliveira, brings this first lineup preview to a close with its reconstruction of the cemetery situated in Spain in 1966 to shoot the final sequence of Sergio Leone’s film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Supernatural terror is guaranteed with Aterrados, the Argentinean director Demián Rugna’s proposal that will keep viewers glued to their seats. One of the movies of the year when it comes to genre made in Latin America. Aterrados is just one of the many excellent examples of Latin American genre films that will be in Sitges this year, showing the magnificent moment horror is at in this part of the world.
The Festival and Slate
Sitges is committed to innovation and has become the very first film festival in the world that will be accepting crypto-currency as a form of payment when purchasing tickets and passes. The initiative –announced as a part of the Cannes Festival – is totally groundbreaking in the industry and has been made possible thanks to the partnership established with Slate Entertainment Group (SEG). The Festival will be implementing SEG's blockchain based digital ticketing platform, Slatix, to be able to offer this new ticketing option. Slate is also the promoter of the new Binge platform, with audiovisual and cinematic fiction content, and also using blockchain technology for the first time.
Sitges and “la Caixa” debut a new sponsorship agreement at this 51st edition. Cultural outreach is one of the strategic focuses of Obra Social by “la Caixa”. The initiatives spearheaded by this entity in culture, education and science reached a total of almost six millions visitors in 2018. Among them, they pay special attention to the artistic manifestations conceived in the 20th and 21st centuries and in this vein, they have promoted exhibitions dedicated to big names from the film word, such as Charles Chaplin, Federico Fellini, the Lumière Brothers or Méliès. In addition, this institution contributes to important projects around the country and many of them are related to the seventh art, as in the case of the Sitges Festival.
For the second year running, the Federació de Gremis d'Editors d'Espanya (Spanish Association of Publishers Guilds) and the Sitges Festival are collaborating in the search for literary adaptation opportunities as a part of the Sitges Taboo’ks initiative. Authors and representatives from the audiovisual sector will study the possible adaptation of literary works for fantastic genre films. This year, in addition to the four literary works that will be selected to be pitched in front of audiovisuals producers who are accredited Festival guests, a movie adaptation project will also be selected based on a fantastic genre piece. Entries are open until July 2nd via the Festival’s website.
SGAE Nova Autoria
Conceived as an open window to discover the talent of emerging audiovisual creators, once again this year the SGAE Nova Autoria Awards will be held as a part of the Sitges Festival. Through these prizes, the SGAE and the Fundació SGAE offer young filmmakers from different Catalan film schools the possibility of exhibiting their works and publicizing them among the general public, as a part of a film event of international scope.
Sitges and Vallformosa
The Festival and Vallformosa have reached a sponsorship agreement with the participation of their Domènech.Vidal and Mistinguett brands. Domènech.Vidal are DO Penedès wines that bring together the worlds of art and wine-making. They are products that transmit respect for the earth, the country and its culture. One of their wines obtained the award for Spain’s Best White Wine according to the International Wine Challenge in London.
Support for the 51st Sitges Film Festival
Once again this year, the Festival is grateful for the commitment of all the collaborating institutions and companies: Moritz and Slate Entertainment Group (main sponsors), Obra Social “la Caixa”, Domènech.Vidal i Mistinguett (sponsors), Meliá Sitges (sponsor and official headquarters), Movistar+ (multimedia partner), Deluxe (collaborator), La Vanguardia (official newspaper) and TV3 (official TV).
Sitges 2018 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).