15-09-2020 11:00

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Feature film debuts, out to conquer Sitges 2020

The Festival is committed to new filmmakers with their own unique voice in fantastique

Both the present and the future of genre will be at Sitges 2020. Films such as Relic, Mosquito State or The Last Journey of Paul W. R., among many others, are their auteurs’ feature length debut and can be discovered from October 8th to 18th. The Festival has always played an essential role as a revealer of talent in the world of genre films and the examples that exist throughout its history are countless.

Quentin Tarantino presented his debut, Reservoir Dogs, in Sitges in 1992, when he was still widely unknown to the general public. On the Spanish front, The Orphanage, the directorial debut of a young J. A. Bayona, was chosen to open the 2007 edition on a very high note. More recently, Robert Eggers launched his dazzling career at Sitges 2015 with The Witch. As for the list of award winners, debut features are also a regular feature at the film competition, and proof of this is the triumph at last year's edition of The Platform, Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia's debut that has since become a worldwide sensation.

At Sitges 2020, the line-up grid will be chock full of these first promising works that, in many cases, are the starting point for a highly successful career. And this is the case with the above-mentioned The Last Journey of Paul W. R., directed by Romain Quirot, which will also be a world premiere at the Festival. The disappearance of the only astronaut capable of saving planet Earth is the basis of this science fiction film that features among its cast the veteran Jean Reno. In the case of Relic, by Australian-Japanese director Natalie Erika James, family horror starring Emily Mortimer pervades a film that was presented at the Sundance Festival and received excellent reviews. Meanwhile, the Polish Mosquito State, Filip Jan Rymsza's feature debut, travels back and forth between drama and terror with shades of Cronenberg.

Violence and fast-paced action are the keys to The Owners, British director Julius Berg's debut that takes us into the home invasion sub-genre with a harsh story starring Maisie Williams, the unforgettable Arya Stark. The illustrator and comic artist Gavin Rothery -creator of the design for Duncan Jones' Moon, among others- takes the big leap to directing with Archive, a piece revolving around artificial intelligence with surprising special effects. The Dubliner Neasa Hardiman, who had made a name for herself in television directing episodes of series such as Jessica Jones, The Inhumans or Happy Valley, debuts with Sea Fever, a cross between Alien and The Thing set on the high seas. Fried Barry, Ryan Kruger's first feature film, promises an onslaught of sex, drugs and violence brought to us by an alien who comes into contact with the strange world of humanity. Also involving alien invasions, Save Yourselves! is the brainchild by Alex Fischer and Eleanor Wilson, both seasoned short film directors.

The selection of feature debuts in Sitges 2020 is extensive and diversified, and will also include titles like the British film Amulet, directed by Romola Garai; Russian Horror in Arseny Syuhin's Superdeep; Jonathan Cuartas' vampire film My Heart Can't Beat Until You Tell It To, or the peculiar The Stylist, directed by Jill Gevargizian, who brings her own experience as a hairdresser to the big screen, based on her multi-award winning short film of the same name.

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