Sitges 2018: an odyssey of fantastic films and guests
Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, Peter Weir, John Carpenter, Tilda Swinton, M. Night Shyamalan or Pam Grier are just a few of the Festival’s distinguished guests.
Along with an Official Selection including the latest fantastic genre trends, this year the presentations from the Noves Visions, Òrbita, Anima’t and Seven Chances are also outstanding.
Just one week away from curtain time, and under the watchful eye of the 2001: A Space Odyssey monolith, Sitges has prepared a selection that visits the different territories of cinematic fantasy, new series presentations, while not neglecting the most innovative virtual reality, side events and music. This year the Festival will be offering one of those concerts that its fans have been anxiously awaiting, performed by director John Carpenter, and held in the Meliá Sitges Auditori just one day before the screening of Halloween, directed by David Gordon Green.
Almost 365 days have gone by since Ángel Sala, Director of the Sitges Festival, announced the leitmotiv of its 51st edition. The legacy of filmmaker Stanley Kubrick and his innovative 2001: A Space Odyssey will be present in the seaside town of Sitges throughout the Festival and it will culminate its activities with the screening of the 4K restored version of the benchmark movie by the American filmmaker during the closing gala ceremony. The Festival will also be commemorating the 1978 premiere of Halloween, John Carpenter’s popular film that gave birth to a subgenre known as the slasher –that dominated horror movies until the late 70s and during the 80s-, and of which the Sitges Festival will be offering a comprehensive retrospective. For its October 4th opening, the Festival has selected the eagerly awaited re-imaging of Dario Argento’s 1977 classic, Suspiria, one of the most highly anticipated films among horror lovers that will be presented by its director, Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name), and actress Tilda Swinton, who will receive the Festival’s Grand Honorary Award.
Actress Tilda Swinton will be joined by an almost endless list of stars who will parade down Sitges’ red carpet. Australian director Peter Weir, one of the great figures in contemporary film, will also be receiving the Grand Honorary Award and will be honored with the screening of one of his iconic films The Truman Show (1998). A screening which will also be honoring the American actor, producer and director Ed Harris –co-star of Weir’s movie– who will receive the Festival’s highest recognition. An award that will also be picked up by two key fantastic genre figures: actor Nicolas Cage, who will be landing in Sitges to present Mandy, the thriller directed by Panos Cosmatos that he stars in, and Indian-American director M. Night Shyamalan who will be visiting Sitges in its homestretch to present a preview of his eagerly awaited new movie Glass.
From October 4th to the 14th, Sitges will be offering the very best genre films of the moment in an Official Selection including outstanding names like Lars Von Trier, David Robert Mitchell, Gaspar Noé, Agnieszka Smoczynska, Gareth Evans, Claire Denis or Lee Chang-dong. Also spotlighted in its 51st year are Òrbita, the section dedicated to compiling the latest trends in thrillers, Noves Visions with its commitment to innovation and experimentation with film languages, and the refocusing of the Seven Chances section, now reaching its quarter of a century mark, towards the recovery of fantastic revival films, that were forgotten, ill-treated or simply lost in time. In addition to a Brigadoon section where Italian cinema and documentaries will be featured at an edition presenting its Nosferatu award to German actress Helga Liné.
The Festival will continue to maintain its five screens which will be showing most of the films that make up its official sections: Meliá Sitges Auditori, the Retiro, Prado, Brigadoon and the Tramuntana Room. But you will also be able to see some of them at other Festival theatres, with free admission, like the Movistar+ Virtual Hero Zone, Hort de Can Falç or the Miramar Cultural Center, where we will enjoy virtual reality experiences brought to us by Slatix.
Side events during the Festival
Presentations of books, festivals and DVD and Blu-Ray editions, convos and autograph sessions will be taking place in the now customary FNAC Marquee. Almost a dozen publications –novels, essays, etc- will be presented throughout the Festival at this venue, among them Nieve en Marte (Snow on Mars) by Pablo Tébar, winner of the Minotauro Award, Poyejali! From the Filmografías Esenciales collection, or Sitges 2018’s official book: Michelle Soavi, cineasta de lo macabre (Michelle Soavi, filmmaker of the macabre), attended by their authors. There will also be different convos with Festival guests like actress Traci Lords, FX specialist and producer Greg Nicotero or the writer Marc Pastor, author of the novel El año de la plaga (The Year of the Plague).
Another venue for encounters will be Fantàstic Kids, that the Festival is launching this year in collaboration with Obra Social La Caixa. Workshops on screenplay writing, or on the process of creating a short film will be taught in Hort de Can Falç, for all audiences, by experts in the matter. Also located at this venue will be the traditional Cinema a la Fresca open air screenings. And, following the success of its first year, Sitges 2018 will once again be uniting cinema and cuisine at Sitges Bacanal, a gastronomic offering reinterpreting the Festival’s leitmotiv this year, brought to you by Oriol Castro as sponsor of the event and in collaboration with Disfrutar Restaurant and Chef Daniel Aguilar from the Hotel ME Sitges Terramar.
A total of six exhibitions can be seen this year during the Festival. Joining the one dedicated to the film competition’s leitmotiv, the 50th anniversary of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which will occupy two floors at the Miramar Cultural Center, will be the exhibition Psycho Killers Superstars – A Bloody Comic Tribute: a tribute to the Festival’s second thematic concept this year, the slasher genre. The show, curated by Borja Crespo and coordinated by Diego López and Marta Andreu, pays tribute to the most popular psycho-killers and will be located at the exit of the Meliá Sitges Hotel’s Auditorium.
Yet another important figure that will be honored is Frankenstein, in the exhibition Frankenstein Resuturado (Frankenstein Re-sutured) that can be seen in the Blue Room at the Maricel Palace. There will also be a tribute to the legendary character Pepe Carvalho on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the death of his creator, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, with an exhibition by different artists at the Cau Ferrat and the Maricel Museum.
Photographer Pedro Usabiaga will be the curator of Sitges 2018’s fifth exhibition entitles Mil gritos en la noche (A Thousand Screams in the Night): a selection of pictures of actors and actresses from sixties and seventies genre movies, and that can be seen at the Miramar Cultural Center. And finally, at the Estudi Vidal in Sitges, in the exhibition La textura del crit (The texture of Screams), we will be able to enjoy a selection of original Italian posters from Spanish movies, all from the Roberto D’Onofrio collection.
The Festival continues with its commitment to the genre series format. Among others, featured among the productions that can be seen are the screenings of the first episodes of The Haunting of Hill House and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, both from Netflix, Castle Rock and Dorien from Movistar+, or the first episode of the ninth season of The Walking Dead from the Fox channel.
Consolidation of the Sitges Film Hub
The Festival continues to increase its contribution to the industry and sector, through presentations, forums, debates and convos that represent opportunities to finance audiovisual projects.
The Filmarket Hub online platform and the Sitges Festival have selected, from among more than 200 candidates, the seven feature film projects that will participate in the Sitges Pitchbox 2018. The seven projects that make up the official selection are: 9 pasos by Moisés Romera and Marisa Crespo (Spain), Deus Irae by Pedro Cristiani (Argentina), Eat Me by David Michán (Mexico), The Night of the Crow by Pablo S. Pastor and Fernando Polanco (Spain), The Occupant by Philip M. Howe (Netherlands), The Second Child by Isabella Aguilar and Davide Orsini (Italy) and They Vanished by Inti Carrizo-Ortiz (Chile).
American actor Ron Perlman (Hellboy) –who will be presenting the film Asher in the Òrbita section and will receive the Festival’s Time Machine Award-will be presiding over the Sitges Film Hub’s opening panel, “Cryptocurrency and the World of entertainment”. Other featured activities are the convos with Australian director Peter Weir and with actor Ed Harris, who will be receiving the Festival’s Grand Honorary Award this year; with actress Pam Grier, star of action movies and a regular in blaxploitation movies, who will receive the Time Machine Award; a roundtable with three key figures in 80’s horror: directors Mick Garris and William Lustig and the actress Barbara Crampton; and a master class with the pioneer of special effects Douglas Trumbull, who will explain his technological contributions to three key genre pieces: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Blade Runner.
Taking advantage of the setting of this international film competition, the Festival initiative aimed at bringing literature and fantastic film together, Taboo’ks, will be presenting the four fantastic genre literary projects eligible for becoming movie adaptations. This activity also includes two master classes: the first given by John Ajvide Lindqvist, the Swedish writer specializing in the horror genre, renowned in the cinematic field for his screenplay to Let the Right One In, and the second offered by the critic and writer Christopher Frayling, who will reflect on the Frankestein character. In collaboration with the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, the UPC Science Fiction Award 2018 will also be presented.
Minotauro, official publisher of the Sitges Festival
Minotauro, the fantasy and science fiction label from Grupo Planeta, will once again be participating as the official Sitges Festival publisher. This year, they will be doing so by presenting their main transmedia projects (novel, comic, film) during the event’s sessions. They will also be available to receive new publication proposals. Finally, Minotauro will be giving 4 conferences at the FNAC marquee: an encounter with writer Pablo Tébar, another with writer Sofía Rhei, the presentation of the new Minotauro Games collection and the presentations of the books Historia de la ciencia ficción (A History of Science Fiction) by James Cameron and Alien: Manual de supervivencia con realidad aumentada (Alien: a survival manual with augmented reality).
Virtual reality in Slatix Sitges Cocoon
Slate cryptocurrency (slate.io) is one of the sponsors of Sitges 2018. This year the cryptocurrency ticketing platform, Slatix, lends its name to VR 360 section. For the second year in a row, the Festival will have an official in competition selection dedicated exclusively to virtual reality experiences from all over the world. The general public will be able to enjoy, continuously and free of charge, the 21 in competition pieces that will be judged by a prestigious jury headed by film director Paco Plaza, the founder of the film and emerging technologies lab Garage Stories, Marta Ordeig, and the producer, composer and designer Zlaya Hadzic. These screenings, all free of charge, will take place in the VR Movie Theater located in the Miramar Cultural Center where, using cell phones and Gear VR glasses by Samsung, the Festival’s technological sponsor, viewers can enjoy immersive experiences.
Catalan talent will be present in Sitges
The Catalan production The Year of the Plague –an adaptation of the novel by Marc Pastor The Year of the Plague– directed by Carlos Martín Ferrera, will be presented in the Sitges 2018 Official Selection. Along with it is the world premiere of Superlópez, the adaptation of the character created by the cartoonist Jan who, on his 45th anniversary, will be soaring over the Gran Meliá Auditori in Sitges, thanks to the screen adaptation directed by Javier Ruiz Caldera and starring Dani Rovira. In the Òrbita section, La sombra de la ley (Gun City), the second work by the filmmaker Dani de la Torre following his debut film El desconocido (Retribution), will also have its world premiere in Sitges.
Among the special screenings, we will be presenting El pionero, el cine parapsicológico de Sebastià D’Arbó, and Shattered Fragments, the latest production from Afilm International Film Workshop made by students and teachers from this film school located in Sitges. You can also see the first episode of the new series produced by TV3 based on an original idea by Sergi Belbel, Si no t'hagués conegut.
For the nineteenth year in a row, SGAE, the SGAE Foundation and the Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia will be celebrating the SGAE Nova Autoria Awards, –as a part of the Noves Visions section–, offering emerging auteurs from Catalan film schools the possibility of showing their works and showcasing them in the setting of a festival that’s international in scope. This year 12 schools are participating, presenting a total of 30 audiovisual works. By genre, 19 fiction pieces, 3 animation pieces and 8 documentaries were presented. These works compete for the categories of best screenplay, best directions and best original music. The SGAE Nova Autoría Awards jury is made up of Lluís Arcarazo (screenwriter, director and executive producer), Xavier Capellas (composer) and Carla Simón (director and screenwriter).
Five key figures in fantastic genre make up the Official Fantàstic jury in Sitges this year. On the one hand, John Ajvide Lindqvist, the Swedish writer specializing in the horror genre, renowned in the cinematic field for his screenplay to Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008), where he adapted his first novel. The Spanish actress and producer Carolina Bang, one of the stars of Witching & Bitching, and who recently intervened in the series Dorien, as well as being the executive producer of films like Errementari. The Blacksmith and the Devil or 70 Binladens (70 Big Ones). The writer from Granada Fernando Navarro, author of the screenplays to Toro or Anacleto agente secreto, and who with Veronica and Muse ventures into the fantastic and horror genre; along with writer and journalist Piers Bizony, author of the book 2001: Filming the Future, one of the most complete and referential books on Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Swiss programmer Anaïs Emery, one of the founders of the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival in 1999 and its artistic director since 2005, they are the Sitges 2018 jury.
14th Sitges Carnet Jove Jury
Once again this year the Agencia Catalana de la Joventut (Catalan Youth Agency) through its Carnet Jove program ”Connecta’t” (Get Connected) and the management team of the de Sitges 2018 - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, have selected the 5 young men and women who will be a part of the 14th Sitges Carnet Jove Jury, an official Festival jury that will present the award for Best Feature Length Film in the Official In Competition Fantàstic Selection and the Carnet Jove Jury Award for the Best Feature Length Film in the Midnight X-Treme Section.
The goal of this collaboration is to professionalize film reviewing by giving five young men and women interested in the film world a chance to be a part of one of the official juries at the Sitges Festival.
Support for the 51st Sitges Film Festival
Once again this year, The Festival is grateful for the commitment and collaboration of all the cooperating institutions and companies: Slate and Moritz (main sponsors), Obra Social “la Caixa” (social sponsor), Domènech Vidal (sponsor), Mistinguett - Vallformosa (sponsor), Coca-Cola (sponsor), Mind the Gap (sponsoring Coming Soon), Samsung (technological sponsor), Meliá Sitges (sponsor and official headquarters), Movistar+ (multimedia partner), Deluxe (collaborator), Museums of Sitges (collaborator), Bundó, Enrich & Locanda (gastronomic collaborators), Escola d’Hosteleria de Benapres (collaborator), AEIP (collaborator), La Vanguardia (official newspaper), TV3 (official TV), and BMW Motor Munich, (official vehicle).
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).
The Festival’s institutional press conference has been made possible thanks to the collaboration of the Círculo Artístico de Barcelona (Barcelona Artistic Circle).