All eyes turn to Alex de la Iglesia and Juanma Bajo Ulloa's unique personalities in Sitges
The unsettling drama in 'Baby' and the paranormal terror of '30 Coins' are the highlights of the Festival's first Sunday
Once again, the outstanding level of Spanish fantastic film was confirmed in Sitges. The world premiere of Baby, Juanma Bajo Ulloa's new feature film, and the special screening of the new horror series for HBO Europe, '30 Coins', by Álex de la Iglesia, reaffirm the healthy state of Spanish fantastic genre. The artistic crews of both productions presented their respective pieces in interviews, press conferences and photo calls with accredited journalists and media outlets all Sunday before the screenings and world premieres in the evening at the Meliá Hotel's Auditori.
Sitges woke up this Sunday to a cool and sunny morning, perfect for continuing the Festival with two activities designed for its younger fans with the holding of the 2nd Fantastic Street Art Graffiti Competition and the screening of the animated feature Mary and the Witch's Flower, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, at the Miramar Cultural Center. Meanwhile, at the Festival's headquarters, three new publications related to the fantastic world were presented: 'Todos los colores de la oscuridad: 30 joyas del terror a descubrir' (‘All the colors of darkness: 30 horror gems to be discovered’), the 'Noche de Lobos' (‘Night of Wolves’) Collection and in the afternoon, Jordi Sánchez-Navarro presented his new book 'La imaginación tangible. Una historia esencial del cine de animación' (‘The Tangible Imagination. An essential history of animated film’), immediately following the round table discussion 'Malnazidos. De la novel·la a la gran pantalla'(‘Malnazidos. From the novel to the big screen') with the directors of the film and the author of the novel, Manuel Martin.
In the international arena, on this fourth day of the Festival Sitges 2020's screens showed some eagerly awaited works such as Chris Baugh's new vampire piece, Boys from County Hell in the Panorama Fantàstic section, and at the late night screening in the Auditori, a Midnight X-Treme double bill with Eugene Kotlyarenko's virulent influencer-era satire, Spree, which features Drake himself among its producers; and the independent horror of Slaxx, directed by filmmaker Elza Kephart. Continuing in the spirit and with the importance that each edition of the Festival gives to Asian productions, this afternoon the surprising Be Water was screened, Bao Nguyen's documentary that, drawing on previously unreleased material, portrays the legendary actor and martial arts master Bruce Lee. And in the middle of the afternoon, the traditional Hong Kong Cocktail Party was held in the gardens of the Melia Hotel, to show our gratitude for the support that The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels and Create HK give the Festival every year by sponsoring screenings of classic action films, thrillers and comedies.
And the main events of the day: the Spanish flavored world premieres of Baby and 30 Coins. This morning, it was the turn of Juanma Bajo Ulloa's crew who, accompanied by the executive producer Fernando Tomás and the leading actresses Natalia Tena and Mafalda Carbonell, spoke to the accredited media outlets about the director's return to the unsettling dramatic nature of his most personal works. In this dark story that was sponsored by Sitges as part of the Fantastic 7 project at the Cannes Film Festival, a young drug addict, unable to care for her baby, sells it to a bizarre woman but will soon regret her decision. According to Ulloa, this film has no dialogues because, being a tale, at all times he searched for the essence of the story and put the weight of the story in the eyes of the characters, the wardrobe, the setting, the sound, and the intelligence of the viewer to make his/her own interpretation. In this new project, the scenography and the setting have a fundamental role: and the excellent work of the technical crew in the house where the story takes place. "The intention is for the story to be a living organism. Nature, even in its degradation and death, is beautiful".
Early in the afternoon was the turn for a press conference to present 30 Coins, the long-awaited series directed by Álex de la Iglesia for HBO Europe. Horror, paranormal phenomena and conspiracy in rural Spain are the main ingredients of this new series, which features Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Macarena Gómez, Megan Montaner and Pepón Nieto among its lead players. The actors, along with its director and co-screenwriter Álex de la Iglesia, co-screenwriter Jorge Guerricaechevarría and Miguel Salvat, Commisioning Editor of Original Programming for HBO Spain, explained all the details and secrets of the series that will premiere in an official screening at the Auditori tonight. Alex de la Iglesia explained that they had total creative freedom and full confidence from HBO Europe, which gave them leeway to carry out any crazy ideas they had in mind. In the director's own words regarding the series that will premiere in late November, "The second episode is as good as the first. The third is even better. The fourth is really beautiful and a lot of fun. But the fifth is incredible. And the seventh and eighth, really, really incredible, anxiety attack material".