Sitges 2014, the fantastic film ‘festival of festivals’, presents its complete lineup
The Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, worldwide benchmark in its category, has everything ready and waiting for its 47th edition. Between 3 and 12 October, the Festival will be bringing together some of the gems of fantastic cinema and new audiovisual languages that have been a big hit all over the world. Films like Adieu au langage, the latest metaphor-filled 3D piece from the genius of nouvelle vague, Jean-Luc Godard, or David Cronenberg’s decadent portrayal of the film industry, Maps to the Stars, with an all-star cast including Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson and John Cusack, will be at the Festival. Jaume Balagueró’s eagerly awaited REC 4 will be opening the competition, while Musarañas, produced by Álex de la Iglesia, Damián Szifrón’s Wild Tales, or Carlos Vermut’s Magical Girl will also be in Sitges.
Annabelle, the very long-awaited prequel to John R.Leonetti’s The Conjuring, will be one of the presentations most-eagerly awaited by Festival audiences. We will also be screening films like Mike Flanagan’s Oculus, a story about brother and sister orphans and the enigma to be solved of their parent’s murder, or Jonas Covaerts’ Cub, about how Sam discovers a wild boy helping a psycho at the camp he’s gone off to with other scouts. Another programmed film is Mike Cahill’s I Origins, where a molecular biology student specializing in the evolution of the human eye, meets a mysterious woman with multicolor irises. Years after his research, a discovery comes that could change the way humans perceive existence.
Leigh Janiak’s Honeymoon, or Tusk, the new production from Kevin Smith, who picked up the Award for Best Feature Length Film in 2011 for Red State,will also be part of the lineup along with William Eubank’s The Signal, Kevin Mcdonald’s How I Live Now, Louis Deluc’s Horsehead, and Carter Smith’s Jamie Marks is Dead.
Added to these films are other titles like Quentin Dupieux’s Réalité, Cristopher Denham’s Preservation, Patrick Brice’s Creep, as well as The Double, the Dostoevsky adaptation starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska that British Richard Ayoade offers us, Zik Hilditch’s These Final Hours, Jim Weedon’s Sword of Vengeance, or the queer thriller Der Samurai directed by Till Kleinert.
Scarlett Johansson playing an alien will be at Festival thanks to Jonathan Glazer, whose Under the Skin will also be screened. Likewise, famous Iranian graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi, will be presenting the black comedy The Voices,extremely well-received at Sundance, where The Guest was also a big hit; the violent story of an ex-soldier directed by Adam Wingard.
Horror & vampires
Stories revolving around supernatural horror and sinister presences will carry significant weight in the lineup, with the New Zealand Housebound, by Gerard Johnstone; the Australian Babadook, by Jennifer Kent; Nicholas McCarthy’s Home;Ivan Kavanagh’s The Canal, and The Curse of Downers Grove, a movie about the murders of a series of teens attributed to a bizarre curse, directed by Derick Martini and co-written by novelist Brett Easton Ellis, author of American Psycho, the film adaptation that opened Sitges 2000.
Vampire movies also have a date with the Festival thanks to A Girls Walks Home Alone At Night, an interesting interpretation of the vampire myth that was a big hit in Cannes, shot in Persian by young filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour and produced by Elijah Wood, plus the black comedy and faux documentary from New Zealand What We Do in the Shadows directed by Taia Waititi and Jemaine Clement.
The Festival’s most humorous side will also be seen with films including zombies like Tommy Wirkola’s Dead Snow 2, where the sole survivor from part one will have to fight an even larger army of zombies, Goal of the Dead, a double film made up of two 70 minute parts directed by Benjamin Rocher, and Therry Poiraud’s Zombeavers, based on the classical get-together of friends on vacation mixing partying and sex and who wind up in a blood orgy. Dan Beers’ Premature follows in the comedy line to present the story high school student forced to repeatedly relive losing his virginity, and Burying the Ex from the legendary director Joe Dante, whose Gremlins will also be programmed, will be closing the Festival.
On the national scene, in addition to Jaume Balagueró’s REC 4, the opening film, the Festival will also be offering Sergio Caballero’s La Distancia, or the premiere of the eagerly awaited psychological horror story Musarañas, produced by Álex de la Iglesia and Carolina Bang, and directed by Juanfer Andrés and Esteban Roel. Sam’s Pos Eso, or the Catalan production L’altra frontera, by André Cruz Shirawa, will also be at Sitges 2014.
Asian cinema will have its own space in the 2014 lineup, as usual at the Festival, offering a selection of films very eagerly awaited by fans of this genre, like Dante Lam’s That Demon Within; Fruit Chan’s The Midnight After, and Pang Ho-Cheungs’ Aberdeen, all arriving from Hong Kong. On the other hand, from South Korea comes Kim Seong-hun’s A Hard Day; Avie Luthra’s Mad, Sad & Bad; Kim Ki-duk’s One on One, which tells the story of the persecution of a girl’s killer. As for Japanese productions, we’ll be featuring Over Your Dead Body, the latest from Takashi Miike (Grand Honorific Award Winner at Sitges 2013), whose The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji,) will also be programmed, the story of a police officer who has infiltrated a gang of mobsters; Live from the director of Dead Sushi, Naboru Iguchi; Hitoshi Matsumoto’s R100, the live action adaptation of the famous manga Lupin the 3rd, directed by Ryuhei Kitamura, and the extremely controversial The Torture Club, by Kota Yoshida.
The Festival is also programming three films of the type co-directed by different filmmakers and presented in episodic format: the American V/H/S Viral, directed by Marcel Sarmiento, Nacho Vigalondo, Gregg Bishop, Todd Lincoln, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead; ABC’s of Death 2, the eagerly awaited sequel of horror shorts by 26 directors, including Alexandre Bustillo, Sion Sono or Vicenzo Natali, and on the other hand, the Mexican México Bárbaro, directed by Jorge Michel Grau, Isaac Ezban, Laurette Flores Born, Ulises Guzmán, Edgar Nito, Lex Ortega, Gigi Saul Guerrero and Aaron Soto, which will also be a part of the new Blood Window category, organized in in association with the program of the same name at the Buenos Aires Ventana Sur film market. This category will offer Latin American fantastic films like Adrián García Bogliano’s Late Phases, Argentinean Martín De Salvo’s Darkness by Day, or Uruguayan Gustavo Hernández’s Local God.
As is customary, the classics won’t be missing at Sitges 2014 either. The Festival has confirmed the screening of Sorcerer, the 1977 film by William Friedkin, a remake of H.G Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear (1953), starring Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, and Francisco Rabal.
Regarding awards, German director, producer and screenwriter Roland Emmerich, a great representative of action and disaster films and author of popular movies like Independence Day, Godzilla, 2012, Stargate, Anonymous, The Day After Tomorrow, White House Down or Universal Soldier, will receive a Great Honorary Award. Antonio Banderas will also receive a Great Honorary Award for his cinematic life achievement and will be presenting Autómata, which he stars in and that is directed by Gabe Ibáñez. This year, the Nosferatu Award (Brigadoon Category) goes to actress María Kosty, working in the profession since the late sixties. On the other hand, Sitges 2014 will also feature the attendance of Pablo Helman, the genius of special effects on Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’ movies.
Genre television will have a prominent presence at Sitges 2014. For the second year in a row, the Festival is including a category specially dedicated to fantastic genre TV series: Serial Sitges, where you can see some of the biggest international hits, like Game of Thrones, Gotham, Big Bang Theory or the long awaited Fargo, that will preview in Sitges the day before it premieres on the Canal + circuit.
The Brigadoon category will be offering a selection of fictional feature films, shorts and documentaries, and a tribute to actor Álex Angulo, recently deceased. It will be presenting I Tarantiniani, by Steve Della Casa and Maurizio Tedesco, a documentary aimed at explaining to the world a little-known cinematic phenomenon, that of directors ignored by Italian critics and who Quentin Tarantino considers to be essential, like Lamberto Bava, Ruggero Deodato or Sergio Leone. The giallo genre is the protagonist of Yellow Fever: The Rise and Fall of the Giallo, a review of the history of this cinematic concept and its filmmakers, from the origins with Mario Bava to Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci. Along with the screening of Vicente Aranda. 50 años de cine, another documentary on Spanish cinema will be Queridos monstruos, by brothers Kiko and Javier Prada, a vision of the history of fantastic and horror from the seventies until present. Also featured in the same category is Bombshell Bloodbath, a movie directed by Brett Mullen and influenced by Italian zombie movies like Zombie or Nightmare City. In addition, the executive producer of The Ring will be presenting Dark Awakening, a supernatural thriller directed by makeup specialist Dean Jones.
Other documentary genre titles presented at the Festival will be Doc of the Dead, defined as the “definitive zombie culture documentary” and directed by Alexandre O. Philippe (The People Versus George Lucas and The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus). This piece analyzes how the zombie phenomenon has become popular in recent years in all sorts of different fields, like literature, series or even fashion. And on the other hand, the story of the wannabe writer who accidentally becomes an actor and whose face is known by all but whose name is known by none: Elijah Drenner’s That Guy Dick Miller, who, sharing the screen with figures like Nicholson, De Niro, Schwarzenegger or The Ramones, has also worked with important directors like Scorsese, Corman, Fuller, Dante, Cameron, Demme and many more.
This year the Phonetastic Sitges Mobile Film Festival is celebrating its second edition as a showcase for audiovisual productions films with tablets and smartphones. Its website (www.phonetasticfestival.com) is the channel to receive pieces from all around the world. Genre TV series will be highlighted again at the Festival, with their own space, lineup and section: Serial Sitges.
It is also important to point out the addition of the new Cine365Film Award, honoring filmmakers who have a short film selected by the Festival. The winner will receive 10,000 Euros and will be able to shoot a fantastic genre film to be included in the Sitges 2015 lineup. All directors living in Spain with a short film in the Sitges 2014 Official, Brigadoon, Phonetastic and SGAE Nova Autoria categories are eligible to receive it. The Award is born from an agreement between the Festival, the Apaches Entertainment Production Company and Cine365.
Tickets for the 47th Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia will be going on sale this upcoming Tuesday 23 September. At 10:00 for the Premium public and at 12:00 for the general public, at the Festival website. The movie listings will be published next Friday, 19 de September.
Added to the twelve film categories already included in the Festival, Official Fantàstic, Noves Visions, Panorama, Seven Chances, Midnight X-Treme, Focus Asia, Brigadoon, Sitges Classics, Sitges Family, Serial Sitges and Phonetastic, is this year’s new cross-sectional category Blood Window, consisting of movies produced in Latin America.
According to the last study, done at the 2013 edition, the Festival chalked up more than 9,500 references in media outlets, with an audience of 835,687,836 hits. With a total of 665 accredited journalists from 446 media outlets, 45 of which were international, and over 182,000 visitors at all of its venues, the Sitges Festival has become the number one genre festival in the world and a place where its fans are the real stars.