A week before it kicks off, Sitges is already prepared to break away from conventionalisms yet another year and launch a very special edition, adapted to our new times and as transgressive as ever to satisfy all fantastic genre lovers. Feature films, shorts, series, sections, industry and parallel events redesigned to defend and display, with all due respect and admiration, the outstanding work that continues to be done in the field of fantastic film. The acknowledgement of five essential figures in fantastique such as David Lynch, Najwa Nimri, Paco Plaza, Manuel de Blas and Oriol Tarragó; the eagerly awaited presentations of Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor Uncut, Mandibules by Festival regular Quentin Dupieux or Peninsula, the sequel to Train to Busan and the apocalyptic She Dies Tomorrow from filmmaker Amy Seimetz. And in local and national productions, in addition to the spectacular opening with Malnazidos, gems like Baby, Juanma Bajo Ulloa's new feature film, the special screening of 30 Coins, Alex de la Iglesia's new series and the premiere of David Cross the Line, de David Victori, a thriller starring Mario Casas, designed to entertain viewers more than ever.
From October 8th to 18th, Sitges will be showcasing the best genre films of the moment at its annual meeting with fantastic film fans, the industry and the press in an edition that is, more than ever, truly unique. In addition to an Official Selection featuring the latest trends in fantastique, this 2020 edition will be brimming with bold initiatives from female directors, top-level national films and a year that will be remembered for the quantity and quality of in competition debut features. An innovative line-up committed to new fantastic genre talents with revisions of and tributes to films that have defined genre's most recent history will shape a hybrid, on-site and virtual edition, with the screening of more than 250 works in the on-site theaters and 155 in the virtual theater, including feature films, short films and documentaries, over eleven days full of cinema and entertainment.
A 53rd edition adapted to the new circumstances but without losing the daring, surprising and representative programming force that characterizes the Festival. The on-site screenings with more time between showings for the professional disinfection of theatres by Active Disinfection, the innovative SGAirQ system from Indoorclima at the Melia, which measures and improves air quality in real time, numbered and pre-assigned seats in all theatres facilitating audience access, marathons converted into double bill screenings and a closing gala which is moved to Sunday to have a second weekend with more screenings plus the highly awaited surprise screening. The rest will continue as always, with the commitment and effort of the entire organization to offer quality, emotions and entertainment to all Festival fans and lovers of fantastic genre in all its expressions.
A top level Official Selection, a selection of short films that once again reflects their importance and validity as an essential genre format, New Visions' commitment to innovation and experimentation in film languages, the recovery of fantastic repertoire films in Seven Chances and a Brigadoon section where horror and documentaries once again become the highlights of an edition that will present its Nosferatu award to actor Manuel de Blas.
Hybrid format, ticketing and capacity control
For eleven days, Sitges will once again be the meeting point for genre lovers, both in the Festival's theaters and via a virtual theater, designed by the FestivalScope-Shift72 platform. The content of Sitges' new virtual theater will be available starting October 5th (pre-sales starting date) at the link www.sitgesfilmfestival.online. This hybrid format allows us to reach all the fans who can't physically travel to Sitges. Thanks to the Vrtual Theatre, fantastic genre fans will be able to see over 150 films from the Festival's official line-up.
The on-site Festival will continue with its customary five screens: Meliá Sitges Auditori, Retiro, Prado, Brigadoon and the Tramuntana Room, as well as continuing to offer free screenings at the Hort de Can Falç. In accordance with the prevailing regulations and following the guidelines of a protocol designed specifically for the 53rd edition of the Sitges Festival for the prevention of Covid-19, this year all seats will be numbered and pre-assigned. This new feature guarantees maximum safety and comfort for viewers. Sitges is allowed a maximum capacity of 80%. However, the Festival's organizers have decided to reduce maximum seating capacity to less than 70% in all its venues, in order to speed up entry and exit and avoid overcrowding. Likewise, advance and on-line ticket sales are being encouraged, although the physical ticket offices located in the Tramuntana room of the Hotel Meliá and the downtown ticket office (Sitges Tourist Information Office) will remain open from 10 am to 3 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm.
Reinvented Parallel Events
This 2020, the Festival's parallel events are being increased and reinvented in order to continue improving and presenting, year after year, all the latest in books, comics, festivals, exhibitions, solidarity projects and family and children's activities based on the world of fantasy. This year, some fifteen talks and presentations of books, comics and festivals will fill the Sala Garbí at the Hotel Meliá, the new venue that will replace the customary FNAC Marquee located outside the Festival headquarters.
Although the Zombie Walk will not be held this year, the Festival is expanding its range of free activities for all audiences in different venues around Sitges and is placing special emphasis on film-oriented activities designed for younger fans. Following the success at last year's edition, the "la Caixa" Foundation's free film workshops and resources for families and teachers will be repeated in online format, as well as the Fantàstic Kids Cinema sessions at the Miramar Cultural Center. At the same venue, the Fantàstic Street Art and the Schools Exhibition will be programmed, with drawings made by children from Sitges' schools focusing on the Festival's themes, while at the, while at the Sitges Museums' Maricel Palace the José Segrelles, Master of Fantasy exhibition will be on display.
As new stellar highlights, the PUCK Cinema Caravana, a traveling movie theater where children enter a dream world and have a magical experience, and the Fantastic Readings activity, a program of several sessions to share fantastic genre readings to the Libraries of Sitges, have been added to the events program. And for the most musical-minded film lovers, there are two more new features: the recording of the Marea Nocturna with the directors of Malnazidos and the premiere of Bloodmuts, an open-air DJ session with the collaboration of Moritz, the official beer.
All activities are free of charge, with prior ticket reservation on the official parallel events website sitgesfilmfestival.live.
Official books and XV Minotaur Award
The Festival in collaboration with the Hermenaute Publishing House is publishing two official books for this year's edition: ¡A mordiscos! (Bite by Bite!) and Sombras de Caligari (Shades of Caligari). '¡A mordiscos! La increíble historia de Germán Robles, un vampiro español en México', (‘Bite by bite! The incredible story of Germán Robles, a Spanish vampire in Mexico', by Jesús Palacios was published in 2008 as part of the Semana Negra in Gijon and covers not only Robles' artistic career but also the most significant films in Mexican Gothic cinema. Winner of the award for best non-fiction work in 2008 by the Association of Writers of Asturias (AEA), this new illustrated edition, revised and extended by its author, also offers an interview with Germán Robles, completely unpublished until now, which he gave during the retrospective dedicated to him at the XXI Semana Negra in Gijón. On the other hand, 'Sombras de Caligari. Cien años de cruces y diálogos con el primer gran clásico del fantástico' (One hundred years of crossings and dialogues with the first great fantastic genre classic'), coordinated by Angel Sala and Jordi Sánchez-Navarro, and with contributions from five collaborators, celebrates the centenary of The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, the first great fantastic and horror film classic, and explores its cinematic and cultural legacy, inviting readers to penetrate the great mysteries of the most influential classic in the history of genre.
Frontera oscura (Dark Frontier) by Sabino Cabeza Abuín is the new winner of the 2020 Minotauro Award, the literary prize presented to the best unpublished science fiction, horror or fantasy novel by Editorial Minotauro, the Festival's official publisher. This novel, written in the best tradition of space adventure stories, explores the secrets of the universe and human beings' inexhaustible curiosity to discover ourselves and will be presented at a press conference as the official book of the 53rd edition of the Festival.
Sitges Film Hub, the consolidated relationship between professionals
The Festival's professional section will host more than 20 activities including round tables, presentations of projects in development, workshops and master class sessions, designed to offer industry professionals the latest content in the audiovisual and fantastic film sector.
For this edition the Sitges Film Hub joins in the Festival's hybrid format, where online and on-site activities will be held to encourage contact between professionals from the international industry. As the main new feature, the professional department has created the virtual platform Sitges Industry Hub - Catalan Films & TV Online, thanks to the support of Catalán Films & TV (Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises, ICEC), from where it will be possible to arrange meetings, consult the guide of professionals participating in the Festival and access all of the section's content..
For the sixth consecutive year, the Festival is organizing, in conjunction with the Filmarkethub, the Sitges Pitchbox, the international pitching event focused on horror, science fiction or fantasy projects in development. This new edition will be held virtually and, for the first time, will focus on both international feature films and European series in development. A total of seven feature films and seven series have been selected. The persons behind these projects will have the opportunity to make a seven-minute pitch and then have one-to-one meetings with the participating companies. In addition, four cash prizes will be awarded to cover development costs. Among the participating companies are XYZ Films, Wild Bunch, Filmax, Lionsgate, Atresmedia Corporación Studios, Film Factory, Gaumont, and more.
At its 4th edition, the Festival's initiative that looks to bring together Fantastic literature and cinema, the SITGES TABOO’KS, our literary works with the goal of promoting their adaptation to the big screen. This event will open with the round table “Cinema i literatura: avaluant el potencial de les adaptacions” ("Film and Literature: assessing the potential of adaptations"), an encounter that reflects on the potential of a literary work to be adapted, and has been co-organized with the Laboratori d’Adaptacions Audiovisuals de Barcelona (LAAB). Afterwards, the pitch session of the selected 2020 projects will take place. The works are: La Isla de los conejos (Rabbit Island) by Elvira Navarro Literaura Random House Publishers), Días de Euforía (Days of Euphoria) by Pilar Fraile (Alianza Publishers), Nuestra Piel Muerta (Our Dead Skin) by Natalia Garcia Freire (La Navaja Suiza Publishers) and Satèl·lits (Satellites) by Elisenda Solsona (Males Herbes Publishers).
As part of the Blood Red Carpet brand, there will be a round table discussion on "How much is an actor worth”, which reflects on the new casting models and the inclusion of social networks and followers as categorization of acting talent. The round table will be attended by actress Juana Acosta, actor Luka Peros, producer David Matamoros and moderated by Luci Lenox, casting director.
The Sitges Film Hub will also host several round table discussions, including a meeting with this year's award-winning sound designer, Oriol Tarragó, who will welcome the audience and accredited guests at a special session where he will talk about his career and creations. Also, taking advantage of the imminent presentation of the book Reina del grito (Queen of Scream) by Desirée de Fez, there will be a round table discussion that aims to review how female characters are perceived in horror films, with the participation of film director Jaume Balagueró and journalist Laura Fernandez.
The Film Hub section will also host several events in collaboration with the country's main audiovisual entities. Among others, this year we will feature the PROA organization PROA (Productors Audiovisuals Federats/Federated Audiovisual Producers) which is organizing the round table “El preu de la cultura” (“The price of culture”) to debate the value of culture today. The Catalunya Film Commission (Catalonia Film Commission) offers us the session “Producció virtual vs. producció tradicional” ("Virtual production vs. traditional production”) where we will talk about how the emergence of virtual shoots can affect the audiovisual ecosystem. And also, in collaboration with the BCN FILM FEST and Telecinco Cinema, we will analyze the adaptation of ‘Malnazidos’ from the novel by Manuel Martin, to the drawings by Luis Bustos, until the leap to the big screen with “Malnazidos”.
Official Fantàstic Jury
Five figures from the Fantastic world make up the Official Fantàstic Jury for this year's Sitges. Producer David Matamoros has been in the world of production for two decades. His alliance with Lars Von Trier and Zentropa has led him to participate in films such as The House that Jack Built (2018). Recently in Sitges he presented as a producer Brief Story from the Green Planet (2019) and the winner of last year's edition, The Platform. Also specializing in production, María del Puy Alvarado runs the audiovisual company Malvalanda, with which she has produced short films such as Mother (2017), winner of a Goya award and nominated for an Oscar. She also produced the feature-length extension of Mother (2019) and The Mole Agent (2020), which premiered at the most recent Sundance Festival.
Director Víctor García, following the success of his first short film El ciclo (2003), which premiered worldwide in Sitges, moved to the United States to shoot his first features. Specializing in horror saga sequels, his filmography includes Return to House on Haunted Hill (2007), Mirrors 2 (2010) and Hellraiser: Revelations (2011). And on the other side of the cameras, Juana Acosta, one of the most identifiable actresses in Spanish television fiction thanks to the series Hospital Central (2002-2009) and Crematorium (2011), for which she received the award for best supporting actress from the Actors' Union. The list is completed by the versatile Borja Crespo. Director, film producer, screenwriter, illustrator and cartoonist, in addition to working as a critic and organizer of numerous events related to comics and pop culture, in 2019 he wrote and directed the galas for the San Sebastian International Film Festival.
XVI Sitges Carnet Jove Jury
Once again this year, the Agència Catalana de la Joventut (Catalan Youth Agency), through its Carnet Jove “Connecta’t” card and the Sitges 2020 - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia management team have selected 5 young people to be part of the 16th Sitges Carnet Jove Jury, an official Festival jury that will present the Carnet Jove Jury Award to the best film in the Official Fantàstic Selection, the Anima't Award for the best Animation Feature Film and the Anima't Award for the best Animation Short Film. The objective of this collaboration is to professionalize film critics, giving five young people interested in the world of film the opportunity to be part of one of the Sitges Festival's official juries. This year's selected jury members are Eloi Bigas, M? Teresa García, Alberto Richart, Pau Vall Capdet and Valen Via.
Support for the 53nd Edition
Once again this year, the Festival is grateful for the commitment and of all the collaborating institutions and companies: Moritz (main sponsor), Fundació “la Caixa” & CaixaBank, Kelonik and Antaviana (collaborators), Meliá Sitges (sponsor and official headquarters), La Vanguardia (official newspaper), TV3 (official TV), Catalunya Ràdio (official radio) and Vilamòbil (official vehicle official).
The Festival confirms its agreements with Aullidos, CCMA, Cafés Novell, CineAsia, Cinemania, Cinesa, Cineinforme, CinemaComics, El Cinèfil, China Madrid, Coca-Cola European Partners Iberia, DRoom & Redken, Ediciones Minotauro, Embotits Bundó, Fotogramas, FX Animation, Flaix FM, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Hospital Sant Joan Baptisa, IES Joan Ramon Benaprès Escola Hoteleria, Iberia, Japan Foundation, Kantar Media, Main, Nació Digital, Pack Terror on Orange TV with DARK and Planet Horror, Patatas Piqué, Port d’Aiguadolç, Renfe, Selecta Visión, SGAE, Sensacine, Sofilm, So de Tardor, The Original Cha-Chá, Tresc, Valhrona and Cinemes Verdi.
Sitges 2020 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).
Official Festival Masks
The CHINA agency, collaborators and the people behind the poster and advertising spot for this year's edition, has designed two models of protective masks inspired by this year's Festival image, one for the general public and the other for the organization's staff. The masks comply with all the regulations and safety certificates. The exclusive edition for the general public, in blue, will be sold at the ticket office in the Tramuntana Room at the Hotel Meliá, at the downtown ticket office (Tourism Information Office) and on the Festival website (to be picked up at the ticket offices) during the days of the festival. This initiative is made possible thanks to the experience and sponsorship of the cosmetics company, Bluemandarines.
COVID-19 measures, safety and recommendations
The Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia Foundation has established a series of measures and recommendations to prevent the spread of the Sars-Covid-2 virus (Covid-19) during the Festival. The protocol prepared specifically for the Festival can be viewed on the minisite www.sitgesfilmfestival.info.
Official 53rd edition links of interest:
Lineup and general information: sitgesfilmfestival.com
Parallel events: sitgesfilmfestival.live
Sitges Film Hub: sitgesfilmfestival.com/eng/film-hub
Official COVID protocol: sitgesfilmfestival.info
On-site screening tickets: tickets.sitgesfilmfestival.com
Online screening tickets: sitgesfilmfestival.online
WELCOME TO THE PARTICIPATORY PROCESSES