6th July 2020
Sitges Film Festival
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Sitges International Film Festival (3-13 Oct) – preview

The Sitges International Film Festival specialising in the genres of horror, thrillers, fantasy and animation, kicks off its 52nd edition this Thursday 3 October, running until Sunday 13 October.

Sam Neill, Patrick Wilson, Aaron Paul, Maribel Verdú, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Asia Argento and Pupi Avati are among the big name guests who will grace the red carpet at the picturesque and lively Mediterranean town of Sitges over the next 11 days.

The Sitges film festival started in 1968 as the First International Week of Fantasy and Horror Movies – and has since grown to become one of the most important genre festivals in the world.

Over the years, stars such as Quentin Tarantino, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Cameron Diaz, Viggo Mortensen, Terry Gilliam, Tony Curtis, Jon Voight and Susan Sarandon have all attended the festival – and its popularity continues to grow, with over 200,000 plus visitors expected this year.

In addition to some 23 films competing in the Official Selection section of the festival, also featured this year are the many projects found in Noves Visions, Òrbita, Anima’t and Seven Chances – as well as an extraordinary range of titles in the short film selection, in and out of competition.

A full line-up of all the films across all sections can be found by clicking here.

Zombie Walk
The Sitges Zombie Walk takes place on Saturday 5 October.

Also worth looking out for this year is the virtual reality Official VR 360 Section, bringing cutting edge technology and cinema together to ‘immerse the viewer in yet another fantastic reality, with the best XR experiences of the year’.

In addition to the movies, the Sitges festival also puts on a number of parallel activities, ranging from a horror window display competition throughout the town to the world famous Zombie Walk (on Saturday 5 October, from 8pm).

There are also workshops for kids, free ‘al fresco short screenings’, as well as the annual FNAC Marquee where many presentations and talks are held.

For those in the industry or interested in learning more about how to act, produce or direct a film, there are also a range of activities within the Film Hub, Sitges Pitchbox and Blood Red Carpet sessions – but certain events require prior registration.

Sam Neill
Sam Neill

This year the festival will also be honouring eight key figures in the fantasy genre, including the Grand Honorary Award for Sam Neill and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Luis Gasca.

Sam Neill will receive his award on Saturday 12 October at the Closing Gala. His film career includes starring roles in Jane Campion’s The Piano, winner of the Golden Palm in Cannes, and Steven Spielberg’s revolutionary and iconic Jurassic Park. He is also known for the TV series Reilly: Ace of Spies, The Tudors and Peaky Blinders.

Luis Gasca will receive his award on Friday 11 October at the Prado Cinema. A lawyer, born in San Sebastian, he has been extremely active doing work related to film and comics over many years. He was the director of the San Sebastian International Film Festival and has published many ground-breaking studies on the fantasy genre.

Maribel Verdú
Maribel Verdú

Patrick Wilson, Charles Band, Javier Botet and Maribel Verdú will all be receiving Time Machine AwardsPupi Avati will receive the Nosferatu Award – and Asia Argento the Méliès Career Award.

In the Tall Grass, ‘a claustrophobic horror story with supernatural elements’ will open the festival on 3 October.

This Netflix original movie is directed by Vincenzo Natali and stars Patrick Wilson, who will also present the film. It is the adaptation of the story by the same name that Stephen King co-wrote with his son, Joe Hill, and which was published in two parts in Esquire magazine in 2012.

Sitges will also be the perfect setting for the European premiere of El Camino: a Breaking Bad movie.

Written and directed by the creator of the Breaking Bad series, Vince Gilligan, the film is also a Netflix original that follows fugitive Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) as he goes on the run from his captors, the law and his past, right after the series’ curtain falls. Fans will also be able to learn all the details firsthand at the Q & A with Aaron Paul that will be held following the screening.

The series universe will also feature another well-known face at Sitges 2019. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the popular Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones, will be visiting the Festival to present the world premiere of Suicide Tourist, the new film by Jonas Alexander Arnby (director of When Animals Dream).

Sitges 2019 will be closing on Saturday 12 October with The Vigil, a terrifying proposal directed by newcomer Keith Tomas and set in an Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn. A perfect ending to eleven days during which Sitges becomes the world capital of fantastic genre films.

We’ll be giving updates and reviewing some of the films and activities on Spain in English during the festival, as well as a full report of the award-winners in each section at the end of it all.

Click here for all further information on the Sitges Film Festival and here for details of how to purchase tickets.

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