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Sitges 2019, the power of the most avant-garde and heterogeneous fantastic genre

Sam Neill, Patrick Wilson, Aaron Paul, Maribel Verdú, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Asia Argento and Pupi Avati, among the big name guests at the 52nd edition.

The yellow and ocher post-apocalyptic landscapes full of dust and rust from the saga and phenomenon entitled Mad Max, arriving from the Australian Antipodes, will impregnate the Mediterranean town of Sitges for eleven days. And the best way to show it will be at the opening gala where Australian actor Patrick Wilson will receive a Time Machine Award, making the most of his visit to present the opening film, In the Tall Grass, along with its director Vincenzo Natali. Also from the Antipodes, and in this case New Zealand, Sam Neill will be arriving to receive the Grand Honorary Award that the Festival will be giving him this year for his lifetime achievement at the closing gala ceremony with the screening of the film The Vigil, Keith Thomas’s surprising feature film debut.

 

From October 3rd to the 13th, Sitges will be offering the best genre films of the moment, at an edition featuring the power of feature film debuts, the great presence of filmmakers, a selection of the most outstanding and wide-ranging animation of the moment and a top level growth in the short section. With an Official Selection including names like Robert Eggers, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler GilletRichard Stanley, Jonas Alexander Arnby, Fabrice Du Welz, Gaspar Noé or Aaron Morhead and Justin Benson, the selection of shorts also reflects their importance and validity as an essential genre format, with great names committed to them such as Yorgos Lanthimos with Nimic, or Chloe Sevigny’s first foray into directing with White Echo. And the Festival won’t be forgetting about a renowned and auteur-oriented cinema that can be discovered in Òrbita, the section dedicated to bringing together the latest trends in thrillers, Noves Visions with its commitment to innovation and experimentation with cinematic languages, and the refocusing of the Seven Chances section, as it now reaches a quarter of a century, with the rediscovery of fantastic films, forgotten, ill-treated or simply lost in time. In addition to a Brigadoon section where Italian cinema, Italian science fiction exploitation and documentaries become the protagonists of an edition that will be presenting its Nosferatu award to director Pupi Avati.

 

The Festival will continue to maintain its five screens where most of the films included in its official sections will be shown: Auditori Meliá Sitges, Retiro, Prado, Brigadoon and the Tramuntana Room. But you can also see some of them at other of the film competition’s theaters, with free admission to the Hort de Can Falç or the Miramar Cultural Center, where we will be offering the most cutting-edge virtual reality experiences.

 

Side events throughout the Festival

Presentations of books, festivals and DVD and Blu-ray editions, meetings and autograph signing sessions will take place in the customary FNAC Marquee. More than thirty presentations of the latest developments in comic, manga, novels and feature films, with the fantastic genre as a common denominator, including the Sitges 2019 official book, Apocalypse Domani. La década dorada de la exploitation italiana de ciencia ficción. (1977-1990) / Apocalypse Domani. . The golden decade of Italian science fiction exploitation. (1977-1990), coordinated by Ángel Sala and published by the Hermenaute publishing house; and other titles such as Tobe Hooper’s The FunhouseCuando las carátulas tenían sentimientos (When Book Covers had Feelings), Supernovas. Una historia feminista de la ciencia ficción audiovisual (Supernovas. A Feminist History of Audiovisual Science Fiction), Giallo: Crimen, sexualidad y estilo en el cine de género italiano (Giallo: Crime, Sexuality and Style in Italian Genre Films) or Terror en serie: De "Alfred Hitchcock Presenta” a “Stranger Things” (Serial Horror: From "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" to "Stranger Things").

 

In this same venue the Queer Kong Award will be presented in the I Recognition of diversity, on Sunday, October 4. This award aims to reward films and professionals with contributions to diversity and presence of the LGBT+ community participating in the Festival. The jury is made up of professionals from the field of communication, the audiovisual industry, journalism and a representative from the NGO Stop Sida, organizer of the award in collaboration with the Festival.

 

Another more family oriented meeting place that is also fit for children will be Fantàstic Kids, which this year changes its location from the Hort de Can Falç, which will continue to program our Al Fresco Cinema, to the Miramar Cultural Center. For the second year in a row, thanks to the Festival’s collaboration with Obra Social La Caixa, in this venue you will be able to perform activities related to the world of cinema so that the little ones can start to become familiar with the audiovisual language and world, like a free workshop to learn how to make a simple fantastic genre short film, a talk by the Participa Méliès Competition organization to present its 8th edition and offer the keys to success to win it, or the open, looped projection of the best shorts from the competition’s last edition.

 

Music will also have its space this year. The last weekend of the Festival, on Friday, October 11th, at 10 pm, for a few hours the Noray Marquee at the Hotel Meliá will become the most fantastic venue in the world, with the exclusive performances of Hermann Kopp and Nightcrawler. An exclusive concert with a limited capacity for lovers of the disturbing and captivating atmospheres of horror movie soundtracks.

 

Thanks to the Festivals’ collaboration with Planet Horror, the only horror film platform in Spain, produced by AMC Networks and Redrum, this year the Sitges Zombie Walk, on Saturday, October 5th, will have a guest of honor to kick off the most international zombie encounter in the world: Charles Band. One of the most prolific producers of Hollywood B Movies during the 80s and 90s, who will make the most of his visit to receive a Time Machine Award, present a retrospective of his filmography in Brigadoon and participate in a convo with his fan in Sitges Encounters.

 

Exhibitions

From October 3rd to 13th at the exit of the Meliá Sitges Auditorium and in honor of the 52nd edition’s leitmotiv, all those attending the Festival will be able to see the exhibition Mad Max World - An Apocalyptic Comic Tribute. Coordinated by the filmmaker, writer and comics expert Borja Crespo, it brings together large-format illustrations by comic book artists, illustrators, designers and filmmakers. They all pay homage to one of the Sitges Festival’s main themes, the Mad Max saga and other examples of post-apocalyptic films, Italian exploitation films, strange dystopias, trash movies, lost worlds, highway savages, new barbarians, road warriors... Landscapes of a puzzling future that may be just around the corner, where the law of the strongest reigns and anything can happen.

 

And in the Miramar Cultural Center building where this year, in addition to the VR 360 space, all the family activities of Fantàstic Kids will be offered, throughout the Festival you will be able to see the original Schools Exhibition, with drawings made by the children from Sitges’ schools with themes revolving around the Festival.

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