Sitges 2022 Second Wave Announces Edgar Wright, VESPER, and more

Editor, Canada; Montréal, Canada (@bonnequin)
Sitges 2022 Second Wave Announces Edgar Wright, VESPER, and more

Sitges remains the cornerstone of fantastic genre film in Europe, and we're thrilled to be returning to the festival in person this year to cover their tremendous offerings. Besides the previously announced Tron theme, there's announcements on awards, several films that will be screened, and industry events that shape the future of this cinema world.

Two British filmmakers will be honoured with Sitges' Time Machine Award. The contemporary genre film scene would not be the same without Edgar Wright and Neil Marshall; both have left an indelible mark on horror and action cinema and it's great to see that recognized. As for films, highlights include the new Kristina Buozyte/Bruno Samper collaboration Vesper, Something in the Dirt from another dynamic duo, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, the arthouse sci fi After Yang, and from Asia, Takashi Mike's trilogy finale The Mole Song Final

From Sitges' own regional and national shores, Carlota Pereda's feature debut Piggy is a must-see, and we're looking forward to Irati, the new film from Errementari director Paul Urkijo. As well as The Elderly, a horror movie directed by Raúl Cerezo and Fernando González Gómez, and Asombrosa Elisa, the new film by Sadrac González (Black Hollow Cage).

Plus the Sitges Pitchbox, new books for the bibliophilic cinephile and more. Full details in the press release below. We're already excited for October!

The 55th Sitges - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia is unveiling a new preview of its lineup focused on fantastic films produced all over Spain and the latest international genre releases. A selection of films that lead the way for the most cutting edge cinema, with an eye towards the future and never forgetting the past, with the initiatory Tron always on the horizon.

British director, producer and screenwriter Edgar Wright will be receiving the Time Machine Award at Sitges 2022. Wright first gained global recognition with his Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, consisting of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End, made with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, along with producer Nira Park. Wright also coscripted, produced and directed the 2010 film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Together with Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat, he penned Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin (2011). He also wrote and directed the 2017 action crime film Baby Driver, which became a worldwide box office hit, and in 2021 he directed and co-wrote, along with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Last Night in Soho. That same year he also released his first documentary film, The Sparks Brothers.

Prolific genre filmmaker Neil Marshall will also be honored with a Time Machine Award. His career began over twenty years ago with Dog Soldiers, one of the most popular British horror films of all time, followed by the critically acclaimed blockbuster The Descent, which grossed over $50 million on a budget of just $3 million. Marshall is also one of the most sought-after directors in television today, having directed two of the most epic episodes of Game of Thrones, the pilots of Black Sails, Constantine and Timeless, and outstanding episodes of Hannibal and Westworld for J.J. Abrams. In 2018, he directed and produced the magnificent remake of Lost in Space for Netflix and in 2021 he released The Reckoning. Sitges 2022 will be premiering The Lair, a return to his origins about a female pilot who is forced to survive inside a bunker with hidden biological weapons.
The Best in Spanish Genre

Both Spanish and Catalan genre films will be making a powerful appearance at Sitges 2022. Included among the titles that can be seen at the Festival is the distressing and disturbing Cerdita, the rural horror movie that is Carlota Pereda's feature debut, on the heels of her Goya-winning short film of the same name. And the eagerly awaited As bestas, by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, a dark, uncomfortable rural thriller that confirms its director's dazzling career.

Sitges will experience the world premiere of Irati, by Paul Urkijo, a Festival regular (Errementari, Dar-Dar) who will be presenting his fantastic mythology set in the Basque Country in medieval times. In addition, we will also see the European premiere of The Elderly, a horror movie directed by Raúl Cerezo and Fernando González Gómez (The Passenger), recently screened at the Fantasia film festival in Montreal, winner of Sitges Pitchbox 2016 and starring Zorion Eguileor, the unforgettable character from The Platform.

Asombrosa Elisa is the new film by Sadrac González (Black Hollow Cage), a fantastic thriller starring Asier Etxeandia, Ivan Massagué and Silvia Abascal, about a girl who wants to avenge her mother's death. Luis Tinoco's feature debut, La paradoja de Antares, will also be seen in Sitges. A science fiction story about a scientist who will have to face a difficult dilemma.

A Look at International Fantastic Genre Films
Sitges 2022 is getting ready to receive the latest additions to international genre films. One of the most popular and most loved sagas among audiences has reached its finale. Halloween Ends, by David Gordon Green, which takes place four years after the events of Halloween Kills, will be coming to Sitges. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) will be facing evil once again, but this time once and for all. Goran Stolevski's debut feature film, You Won't Be Alone, will bring a good dose of folk-horror to the Festival, set in an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia and starring Noomi Rapace. After Yang, Kogonada's futuristic science fiction film starring Colin Farrell will also be seen in Sitges, a delicate film about a post-human world. The psychological thriller Resurrection, directed by Andrew Semans and featuring outstanding performances by Rebecca Hall and Tim Roth, renews this genre while avoiding clichés in the story of a successful woman confronting past traumas.

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, exponents of low-budget science fiction, return to Sitges with Something in the Dirt, an imaginative puzzler with supernatural phenomena. The post-apocalyptic future is explored in Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper's Vesper, a Belgian dystopia with breathtaking cinematography that builds a world in the wake of the collapse of the earth's ecosystem. Also from Belgium comes Megalomaniac, a phantasmagoric gore film directed by Karim Ouelhaj, winner of Fantasia Cheval Noir award for Best Film, 2022.

Horror will be present at Sitges 2022 with productions including the British Enys Men, directed by Mark Jenkin, a hypnotic and disturbing study of loneliness. In Guillaume Nicloux's The Tower, the inhabitants of a tower block realize that a black veil is covering all the windows and the building's front door. From Denmark comes the social horror of Speak No Evil, where director Christian Tafdrup dishes up a generous amount of sadism and cruelty.

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Asian film, Animation and Documentaries: Essential Sections
Asian productions arrive with renewed energy to the 55th Sitges Film Festival's lineup. From South Korea, the thriller Emergency Declaration, directed by Han Jae-rim, guarantees tons of action aboard a commercial airplane that is forced to make an emergency landing. One of the Festival's regulars, Japan's Takashi Miike, will close The Mole Song trilogy with The Mole Song Final, a zany comedy about an undercover cop who becomes a Yakuza. Taiwan's Chris Huang's Demigod: The Legend Begins is a fantastic martial arts film with stunning visual effects about a doctor training to become a swordsman.

The Anima't section announces its opening film, which will be Oink, a delightful Dutch stop-motion film directed by Mascha Halberstad about a nine year old girl who receives a little pig as a gift from her grandfather. The French Princesse Dragon, by Anthony Roux and Jean-Jacques Denis, about a girl raised by dragons who embarks on a voyage of discovery, will also be in Sitges. And from Colombia arrives Diego Felipe Guzmán’s The Other Shape, a satirical story for grown-ups that questions the habits of the world we live in.

In the documentary category, the title opening Sitges Documenta will be Lynch/Oz by Alexandre O. Philippe, a frequent director at the Festival. This piece explores David Lynch's obsession with Victor Fleming's 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz, with his customary dynamic editing and high-profile witnesses. Mad in Belgium is a journey through the bizarre nature of a particular Belgian cinema that has stood out for its risk-taking and eccentricity, with appearances by important figures including Benoit Poelvoorde, Jan Bucquoy and Fabrice du Welz. Steve 'Spaz' Williams is a pioneer in computer animation. His digital dinosaurs for Jurassic Park transformed Hollywood in 1993 and Scott Leberecht's documentary Jurassic Punk takes a closer look at this creator.

Once again, this Festival section is committed to documentaries at this year's edition. Thomas Hamilton’s Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster explores the life and legacy of a film legend. Back in his day, his films were often ridiculed by critics and attacked by censors, but his popularity and influence have endured. Javier Pueyo and Valentine Iconaru's El cineasta escondido looks back to the year 2000, the year of the release of Presence of Mind, a horror film starring Lauren Bacall, Sadie Frost and Harvey Keitel. Its director, Mallorcan Antoni Aloy, had a promising future, but disappeared from the film scene without a trace. Along with the documentary, Presence of Mind will also be screened. Dima Ballin and Kat Ellinger's Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World of Jean Rollin, tells the story of one of the most unique and deeply misunderstood voices in French cult films.

Brigadoon will also present the premieres of the feature films Pussy Cake and Night of the Bastard. The first, from Argentina, is directed by Pablo Parés and follows a female rock band that will have to face horrors that go way beyond reality. In the second, a film by Erik Boccio, an inmate will fight a bloodthirsty cult in a battle for survival against the clock.

French actress Brigitte Lahaie will receive this year's Nosferatu Award. Alongside her work in pornographic films, Lahaie participated in genre films by Jean Rollin, such as Fascination and The Grapes of Death, and by Jess Franco, like Faceless. Afterwards, she also played small roles in Philip Kaufman’s Henry & June, and, more recently, in Fabrice du Welz's Calvaire.

Industry: Sitges FanPitch, Showrunners LAB and Film Financing Market

The traditional fantastic genre fiction feature film project competition, Sitges Pitchbox, has been renamed Sitges FanPitch to define a new approach to its purpose. The winners will not only have access to the usual prizes but will also be eligible for exclusive training in sustainability and inclusivity criteria.

Access to Sitges FanPitch is now open via the Festhome platform and will remain available until August 22nd. Sitges FanPitch provides three prizes in the form of travel grants to access international fantastic genre markets. This year's Sitges FanPitch is complemented with the Showrunners LAB, an introductory and mentoring seminar on the role of the showrunner, a key player in series productions, through the presentation and analysis of two models: the South American and the Spanish. This initiative invites the five series projects selected in the Sitges FanPitch call to participate in this laboratory, with the collaboration of two outstanding showrunners: Ruth García (Paraíso, Los protegidos, Perdida, El incidente) and Federico Durán Amorocho (Mil colmillos, El páramo).

The WomanInFan program, aimed at future fantastic genre women producers, directors and screenwriters, already has recipients for its 2022 grants. Eva Saiz made her directorial debut with Mujer sin hijo, which garnered, among other awards, the Biznaga for Best Director and the Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film at the Malaga Film Festival. Her second short film, El pensamiento mágico, was one of the projects selected by the Cannes Festival for the first edition of Focus Script. Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren has written, directed and produced several short films including Adri and Polvo somos, as well as the feature documentary Voces de papel, which premiered in the Zinemira section of the San Sebastian Film Festival. Anna Fernandez De Paco is a Spanish-British filmmaker with works in the fields of film, documentaries and fine arts. Her academic background includes a Masters Degree in Film Directing from the Sarajevo Film Academy/ Filmfactory, where she studied under the tutelage of Béla Tarr.

On October 11th, as part of the Sitges Film Festival, the presentation of the Film Financing Market will take place, an audiovisual market that will connect investors and audiovisual producers, with the goal of becoming a global benchmark for investors and producers.

This year the Market's objectives, the grounds for participation and the timeframe for its launch in October 2023 will be presented. During its presentation, the advantages of private investment in the production of audiovisual content will be analyzed and reflected upon, as well as the sector's technological evolution, in collaboration with the Catalan Audiovisual Cluster, the Cuatrecasas law firm and Triodos Bank.

SGAE Nova Autoria Awards
Cesc Gay, director, screenwriter and playwright; Marta Grau, screenwriter, writer and script editor, and Alfonso Vilallonga, composer, are the members of the jury for the SGAE Nueva Autoría 2022 Awards organized by the SGAE and the SGAE Foundation, through the SGAE's Territorial Council in Catalonia, and the Sitges Film Festival.

This year, the 22nd edition of the Awards features the participation of 15 film schools and universities around Catalonia, which have submitted a total of 32 audiovisual works. They have presented 25 fiction works, 2 animated films and 5 documentaries competing in the categories of best screenplay, best direction and best original music.

From among all the works presented, the members of the jury will select the finalists to be screened on Saturday, October 8th at the Prado Movie Theater. These auteur awards are designed to discover, promote and help disseminate the audiovisual productions made by students from universities and film schools in Catalonia. Today, many of the participating auteurs are well-known professionals in the audiovisual sector. 

Official books
The 55th edition of the Festival has prompted the creation of two publications that, on the one hand, explore the universe of TRON and, on the other, fantastic genre films directed by women. Both are published by Hermenaute.

Macros ocultos. Retrofuturos y universos virtuales en la ciencia ficción a propósito de TRON - Hidden Macros. Retro Futures and Virtual Universes in Science Fiction Apropos TRON. Four decades ago, TRON (Steven Lisberger, 1982) revealed a new world. A universe where electronics and the mathematical theory of communication were meant to be seductive to the general public, a world where words like bit, transmission or code would become part of film audiences' vocabulary. This book looks back and reflects on what could have been and what finally was, what remains of that visionary film in contemporary visual culture. Coordinated by Ángel Sala and Jordi Sánchez-Navarro, Hidden Macros features contributions by the coordinators themselves and Asier Mensuro, Elisa McCausland, Diego Salgado, Joan J. Pons, Marta Salicrú and Ben Cardew. Cover illustration by Miki Edge.

WomanInFan. Topografía del género fantástico dirigido por mujeres - WomanInFan. Topography of Fantastic Genre Films Directed by Women. The cultural and social patterns prevailing in the film industry have traditionally identified certain genres as specific to female sensibilities, entrusting the leadership of projects falling into the realm of horror, science fiction, action or thrillers, for example, to male creators; while, on the other hand, women do not identify fantastic as a genre within their reach. And although they have traditionally been rara avises, fantastic genre feature films directed by women have sprung up, especially in recent years, giving way to a more than interesting talent pool featuring outstanding names including Karen Arthur, Mary Harron, Claire Denis, Marina de Van, Jennifer Lynch, Kathryn Bigelow, The Wachowski Sisters, Karyn Kusama, Anna Biller, Julia Ducournau and many, many more. A book coordinated by Mónica García Massagué together with writers Alan Jones, Diego López-Fernández, Domingo López, Heidi Honeycutt, Ángel Sala, Violeta Kovacsics and Jordi Sánchez-Navarro. Cover illustration by Nora Montesinos García.

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