The atmosphere of 'Mad Max' invades a post-apocalyptic Sitges 2019
The Festival’s 52nd edition will be looking towards fantastic genre from 1979 and rediscovering films from Italian science fiction exploitation
Sitges 2019 breathes in dust from the desert and rusty iron. This year’s upcoming film competition, to be held from 3 to 13 October, will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Mad Max, directed by George Miller. An important date that inspired the poster, a retrospective and the Festival’s official book, one which will pervade Sitges for eleven days.
The first installment of the most emblematic dystopian saga in film history is the poster for Sitges 2019, with the China Agency’s unique signature. "Appearing in the image is a car destroyed by rust, abandoned in the middle of an infinite desert, with no trace of any characters. An enigmatic, simple and powerful composition that drinks from an iconography as unmistakable as Miller’s saga and its color palette of oranges, ochers and yellows. It is a tribute to a work with a unique graphic universe, which lends itself like few others to the synthetic and iconic format of the billboard”, explains the executive creative director, Rafa Antón. The Mad Max phenomenon, arriving straight from Australia, will be eagerly experienced in every corner of Sitges.
The Sitges - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia will also be commemorating the 40th anniversary of another iconic title in genre films from 1979: Alien, by Ridley Scott, a film that marked an era and that still continues to be very present today, amassing a legion of fans. Likewise, other tributes to essential fantastic films will have their own space for reminiscence at Sitges 2019.
The Apocalypse Domani retrospective will bring together key titles from among Italian sci-fi exploitation films developed in the late 70s as a result of the success of American movies like Star Wars, Alien or Escape from New York, but especially the first two installments of Mad Max. They were products designed for the international market, which in some countries - like Spain – went on to be huge commercial hits, directed by Italian genre film veterans such as Enzo G. Castellari (1990: The Bronx Warriors, The New Barbarians: Warriors of the Wasteland), Joe D'Amato (Endgame), Sergio Martino (2019, After the Fall of New York), Lucio Fulci (The New Gladiators) or Luigi Cozzi (Contamination).
In recent years, many of these movies have become cult films sought by fans around the world, generating a phenomenon of vindication and rediscovery of their artistic and industry importance.
Apocalypse Domani. La década dorada de la exploitation italiana de ciencia-ficción (1977-1990) / Apocalypse Domani. The Golden Decade of Italian science-fiction Exploitation (1977-1990) is the title of Sitges 2019’s official book that, coordinated by Ángel Sala, will be released this upcoming month of October. This will be the second collaboration between the Festival and Editorial Hermenaute, following last year’s publication of the essay Michele Soavi. Cineasta de lo macabro/ Michele Soavi. Filmmaker of the Macabre.
The book analyzes the Italian exploitation phenomenon from the perspective of the science fiction genre, reviewing its precedents, its contents and the impact that this type of productions motivated. A didactic journey through its most representative films, movies that still have thousands of fans around the world today. The publication also wants to vindicate the figure of a good number of Italian directors, among them Antonio Margheriti, Sergio Martino, Enzo G. Castellari, Luigi Cozzi, Ciro Ippolito or Joe D'Amato.
Apocalypse Domani retrieves films focusing on dystopian cities, apocalypse and gang movies; in its passages, the reader will find the analysis of films influenced by peplum, spaghetti western and horror. Barbarian warriors, cyborgs, aliens, bikers, all kinds of monsters, emulators of Conan the Barbarian or classic mythical heroes. A world of fantasy that, for a decade, gave Italian cinema its most uninhibited version committed to fantastic genre.
The book includes the signatures of film critics and specialists in the field such as Violeta Kovacsics, Diego López, Ruben Lardín, Jesús Palacios, Xavi Sánchez Pons, Lluís Rueda, Mònica Garcia, Jordi Sánchez Navarro, Desirée de Fez, Manlio Gomarasca, Domingo López and Ángel Sala himself.
The Sitges Festival has created Fantastic 7, together with the Cannes Film Festival’s Marché du Film and the founder of Blood Window, Bernardo Bergeret. It is a forum designed to foster talents within the genre industry and support their connection with potential business partners. Fantastic 7 held its first edition at this past Cannes Festival, and it was attended by a large number of genre industry agents from all over the world.
The session, Godfathered by the director J.A. Bayona, brought together seven different international festivals: the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (South Korea), the Cairo International Film Festival (Egypt), the Guadalajara International Film Festival (Mexico), the International Film Festival and Awards – Macao (China), the Austin South by Southwest (United States), the Toronto International Film Festival (Canada) and the Sitges - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia. Each festival defended, through a pitching session, a fantastic genre proposal. Sitges presented the new production by the Basque filmmaker Juanma Bajo Ulloa, Baby.
The event at Cannes was attended by the Minister of Culture and Sports, José Guirao; the director of the ICAA, Beatriz Navas; the director of the ICEC, Miquel Curanta; the director of its audiovisual area, Francisco Vargas, as well as other representatives of institutions and organizations related to the audiovisual industry
The confluent paths between the audiovisual and editorial industries will once again coincide in Sitges hand in hand with Taboo'ks, the Sitges Festival’s initiative that brings fantastic genre literature and films closer together. The program, which will open its application submission period during the first week of June, selects four works (novel, play or graphic novel) from among all the projects received (novel, theater or graphic novel) and one case study of a project already in the process of being adapted to present them to producers attending the Festival, for the purpose of promoting agreements for adaptations of literary works as audiovisual projects.
Taking advantage of the setting of the international film competition, Taboo’ks becomes a copyright market specializing in fantastic genre. The activity includes a book of contacts and a master class offered by an important figure from the film and literary sector.
Support for the 52nd Edition
Once again this year, the Festival is grateful for the commitment and collaboration of all the cooperating institutions and companies: Moritz (main sponsor), Obra Social “la Caixa” and Mistinguett Sparkling (sponsors), Meliá Sitges (sponsor and official headquarters), Deluxe (collaborator), La Vanguardia (official newspaper), TV3 (official TV), SGAE, Iberia, Renfe, FNAC, Ediciones Minotauro, Fundació Japó, FX Animation and Cha-Chá (collaborators).
Sitges 2019 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).