'The Lighthouse', 'Lux Aeterna' and 'El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie' are added to the most eagerly-awaited updates at Sitges 2019
Visits from both Aaron Paul and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau - two very popular faces among series fans - join the film competition’s list of guests
Actress Asia Argento will receive the Méliès Award, presented by the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation
‘The Vigil’, Keith Thomas’ electrifying feature debut set in an Orthodox Jewish community, will close the Festival
The thousand faces of fantastic genre will be on display at Sitges 2019. The Festival, which will be held from October 3rd to 13th, has prepared a lineup that is the spearhead of genre films from around the world. A bold, dynamic and wide-ranging selection incorporating the latest trends and combining them with already proven filmmakers, offering a comprehensive map of fantastic in its present, past and future.
Robert Egger’s (The Witch) new film, the critically-acclaimed The Lighthouse, joins the Official Fantàstic Selection (out of competition) at Sitges 2019. The director, who revolutionized genre with his first feature film, transports viewers to a small offshore island - in Maine, in the early 20th century - where the only two protagonists, a veteran lighthouse keeper (Willem Dafoe) and a young assistant (Robert Pattinson) have to live together for four weeks, with all that this entails.
Also in the Official Selection (out of competition), and just a year after winning the award for best feature film at Sitges 2018 with Climax, Gaspar Noé returns to the Festival with a surprise for all his fans. In Lux Aeterna - a 50 minute medium-length film starring Béatrice Dalle and Charlotte Gainsbourg - the French filmmaker presents a film essay about respect for beliefs, the actor's work and the art of directing with an ending that is, as always, surprising.
Sitges will be the perfect setting for the European premiere of El Camino: a Breaking Bad movie. Written and directed by the creator of the Breaking Bad series, Vince Gilligan, the film is a Netflix Original that follows fugitive Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) as he goes on the run from his captors, the law and his past, right after the series’ curtain falls. Fans will be able to learn all the details firsthand at the Q & A with Aaron Paul that will be held following the screening.
The series universe will also feature another well-known face at Sitges 2019. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the popular Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones, will be visiting the Festival to present the world premiere of Suicide Tourist, the new film by Jonas Alexander Arnby (director of When Animals Dream).
Sitges 2019 will be closing on Saturday October 12th with The Vigil, a terrifying proposal directed by newcomer Keith Tomas and set in an Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn. A perfect ending to eleven days during which Sitges becomes the world capital of fantastic genre films.
The Best Fantastic Showcase in the Official Selection
Once again this year, the in competition Official Fantàstic Selection promises magnificent titles and surprises. The crew from the heart-warming The Anthem of the Heart returns with a surprising story full of romance and youthful longings. In Her Blue Sky, Japanese director Tatsuyuki Nagai speaks to us about reencounters, time travel and loves. In Corporate Animals, the director of Creep, Patrick Brice, orchestrates a very black comedy headed by a wonderfully hateful Demi Moore, where workplace tensions literally lead to cannibalism. Also in After Midnight, by Jeremy Gardner (who also stars in and penned the screenplay) and Christian Stella (in charge of cinematography), all romantic comedy codes are gracefully blown away in this film of monsters and unsolved painful breakups.
Thrillers and horror will also have a prominent space in this section. Swallow, Carlo Mirabella-Davis' film, constructs a dark thriller revolving around the body, based on a disorder that will drive our heroine towards a transformation that’s hard to digest. Inspired by a race held every year in Japan, Samurai Marathon, directed by Bernard Rose, is packed with action, epic grandeur and intrigue, among samurais, feudal lords and infiltrated ninjas. And in Particles, the French-Swiss production directed by Blaise Harrison, it is clear that being in your teens and at the same time surrounded by the most powerful particle accelerator in the world is not the best option for going through that complex age.
Almost a decade after Mirages, Talal Selhami returns with Achoura, a horror story halfway between France and Moroccan folklore. Fear can also be smelled in Orçun Behram’s dystopian Turkey with The Antenna, where the Government launches a new communications system to control all of the country’s inhabitants; and in Katrin Gebbe's second feature film, Pelican Blood, set in Germany, where the idyllic life of a single mother, solidly played by Nina Hoss, suddenly changes when her second daughter goes from being shy and charming to being dangerous and uncontrollable.
The melancholic, anti-spectacular flip side of superhero movies also has its place in the Official Selection. In Blind Spot by Patrick-Mario Bernard and Pierre Trividic, Dominick has the gift of turning invisible, but that doesn't make his life any better. And to put a close to the new updates to the Official Fantàstic Selection, two interesting adaptations of short films to feature films. On the one hand, The Cleansing Hour, where director Damien LeVeck and co-writer Aaron Horwitz adapt their original short film for a piece on demons and exorcisms between millennials and entrepreneurs. And out of competition, Code 8 will be screened, a feature film adaptation of the short of the same name directed by Jeff Chan in 2016.
Action, Thrillers and Personal Universes in Òrbita and Noves Visions
One of the big surprises this year in Noves Visions will be the visit and master class by Glenn Danzig, the punk rock myth who finally consummates his love for horror movies by making his directorial debut with Verotika, an anthology adapting three stories that Danzig originally published in comic book form. Violent stories with highly erotic overtones, which emerged from the mind of a true genre lover. Not as surprising but always good news for the Festival, for the third consecutive year, the theater group Gekidan Shinkansen, directed by Takuji Izumi and with Hidenori Inoue in stage direction, will present the audiovisual adaptation of its spectacular Kabuki revisions in Sitges, Siren in the Shadows. And another eagerly-awaited special screening, in this case in the Òrbita Section, Diao Yinan’s The Wild Goose Lake, a film a frenetic pace and stylized forms that Quentin Tarantino stood up to applaud that in the stalls at the latest Cannes Film Festival .
For years now, action movies and thrillers have an important weight within the Festival in the Òrbita Section. Added to the previously announced films in the official selection such as Huachicolero (The Gasoline Thieves), Charlie Says or The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, is the story of clandestine gangs that organize real duels to the death in Jason Leim Howden's Guns Akimbo, and the opposite end of the spectrum with Bartosz Konopka’s The Mute, where violence and hatred are set the Middle Ages with two knights traveling to pagan lands located in the mountains for the purpose of Christianizing their people.
In the personal fantastic universe created by Noves Visions, this year's lineup is loaded with bold and different projects. Hand in hand with the producers of Bullhead and the director of Peaky Blinders, Tim Mielants, comes Patrick, a tragicomic portrait of a peculiar man who lives with his parents at a naturist campsite. Daniel Hui presents Demons, a horror satire about the power, art and systemic violence that society conceals. Makoto Nagahisa’s We Are Little Zombies is the story (with its spaced-out colorism) of four kids in search of their emotions. In Johannes Nyholm’s Koko-di Koko-da, three extravagant psychopaths are ready to eradicate the couple again and again, in a loop that seems like the macabre version of Groundhog Day. In Mope, Lucas Hayne dramatizes in the form of extreme comedy one of the most sordid, delusional and tragic episodes in the history of pornography. With You Don’t Nomi Jeffrey McHale ventures into the inner history of Paul Verhoeven’s film Showgirls, analyzing its cult and iconic power of fascination. Bertrand Bonello resurrects the poetics of Jacques Tourneur in Zombi Child to delve deep into a France echoing with the ghosts of its colonialist past. With Starfish, A. T. White introduces himself as a new, unique and fascinating voice. Xavier Bröhm presents a Faustian journey through the night in O ??Beautiful Night. And Rob Grant comes up with a black comedy crossed with Knife in the Water in his film Harpoon.
Sitges Documenta will be screening Penny Lane’s Hail Satan?, a chronicle of the extraordinary rise of one of the most controversial religious movements in the history of the United States. Hail Satan? documents the history of The Satanic Temple, from its meager beginnings in the media to the proliferation of followers. Funny, provocative and fascinating, the film explores an often misunderstood group.
Panorama and Midnight X-Treme: Broad Mindedness and lots of Horror
More than twenty films make up the Fantastic Panorama and Panorama Documenta Section. Magicians, black magic, undead, psychopaths, all these characters and many more are an indispensable part of the most visceral horror that can be seen at Sitges 2019. Sitges’ audience is well aware: there is nothing worse than a romantic getaway. For the protagonists of Jeffrey A. Brown’sThe Beach House, two college sweethearts, this information would have been exactly what they needed. The lovebirds’ trip will become a race for survival when some unexpected guests start to show signs of a mysterious infection. Antrum, the Deadliest Film Ever Made, directors Michael Laicini and David Amito will come to Sitges to present history’s deadliest film that, thanks to the negatives found, is ready for its re-release. And actor Federico Bal will also visit the Panoràmic Fantàstic Section to explain how in Impossible Crimes, by Hernán Findling, detective work and investigation of a series of crimes that defy all logic and that all media outlets label as impossible, is not an easy task.
In the increasingly popular Midnight X-Treme, this year the number of films screened will almost be doubled. 23 titles that make up the section and which include Scare Package, a vertiginous journey through all the subgenres of horror, where different filmmaking talents from the most independent fantastic genre pass the baton back and forth on the prowl for bloody gags, from festering mutations to all sorts of improbable slashers; Alone, James Cullen Bressack's survival instinct film, with a visit to the Festival by its actress, Yulia Klass; and Porno, a story of teenagers who work at the local movie theater in a small devout Christian town discover a mysterious old film hidden in its basement, by the young director Keola Racela, who will also be coming to present this hilarious and unexpected film.
Charles Band: Time Machine of Award and Retrospective
The American horror director and producer, Charles Band, one of the most prolific producers OF Hollywood B Movies during the 80s and 90s, will receive a Time Machine Award for his life achievement, with hundreds of horror, science fiction, fantasy and comedy movies. Brigadoon 2019 will be screening some of the most important titles from his filmography, both as producer and director, thanks to the Festival's collaboration with Planet Horror, the only horror movie platform in Spain, produced by AMC Networks and Redrum: Creepozoids (1987), by David DeCoteau, where a group of survivors try to avoid World War III confrontations; Demonic Toys (1992), by Peter Manoogian, where a demon possesses toys in a warehouse and sends them to the search for the soul of a woman's still unborn baby; and the classic directed by David Schmoeller, Puppet Master (1989), where some puppets become small killer beasts. In his role as director you can see two classics from his filmography: Head of The Family (1989), an authentic clan of monsters in the service of evil, and The Creeps (Deformed Monsters) (1997), where some enraged creatures that have returned to life, scaled down, will do everything possible to recover their natural size.
Anima’t Arrives Loaded with Great Masters
In addition to the previously announced White Snake, Les Hirondelles de Kaboul and The Wonderland, the Japanese animation productions Human Lost, by Fuminori Kizaki and Ride Your Wave, by Masaaki Yuasa, have been added to Anima't’s lineup, which this year will be screening the minimalist and evocative animation film made entirely by Gints Zilbalodis Away, winner of one of the main awards at the last Annecy festival. At a special screening, the new Makoto Shinkai film, Weathering With You, will be shown, after the success and phenomenon of 2016, Your Name.
Schedules and Ticket Sales
2019’s complete lineup and times will be available on the Festival website starting today, Thursday, September 12th.
Ticket sales will begin next Wednesday, September 18th. Viewers who have previously purchased a pass or a pack can access their purchase on Tuesday, September 17th.
Support for the 52nd Edition
Once again this year, the Festival is grateful for the commitment and of all the collaborating institutions and companies: Moritz (main sponsor), Obra Social “la Caixa” (social partner) Mistinguett Sparkling (sponsor), la XAL (sponsor), Meliá Sitges (sponsor and official headquarters), Deluxe (collaborator), La Vanguardia (official newspaper), TV3 (official TV), and Jeep Turiauto (official vehicle).
This year the Festival is also expanding its section of collaborators, among which agreements have already been confirmed with SGAE, Fotogramas, official Iberia, Renfe, Fnac, Ediciones Minotauro, Tr3SC, Cafés Candelas, Japan Foundation, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, IES Joan Ramón Benaprés Escola Hosteleria, Fundació PKU, CineAsia, Jet Entertinment, FX Animation, The Original Cha-Chá, D.O Ribera del Duero, Cathay Pacific, Spamflix, Johnnie Walker, Movistar +, Valrhona, China Madrid, Samsung, ESCAC, Cinesa, Coca-Cola European Partners Ibera, S.L.U, Embotits Bundó, Fundació Hospital Sant Joan Baptista de Sitges, MAIN, Mind the Gap, Reial Cercle Artistic, Selecta Visión, SGAE and Planet Horror.
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).