The Sitges Film Festival might be getting older but is shining like never before. In case you didn’t hear about this place or this event, we are talking about a marvelous little city quite close to Barcelona (Spain) where, for some reasons, lives an everlasting love for the fantastic-cinema. But what is exactly fantastic-cinema? Well, it’s the intersection of three other genres: science fiction, fantasy, and horror. With the last one having quite a weight in the formula.
Many top actors, writers, and directors came to this Festival during the years, some even more than once. Quentin Tarantino, Anthony Hopkins, Cristopher Walken, Elijah Wood, Charles Dance, Paul Schrader, Colin Trevorrow are just a few of the stars who participated. Among this edition’s guests we have William Friedkin, Susan Sarandon, Robert Englund, Johnnie To, and Guillermo Del Toro. The last one, in particular, came for the first time in 1993 and this year is coming back as Sitges Film Festival godfather.
Some numbers about this edition which is taking place from the 5th to the 15th of October 2017. 255 movies, more than 1700 hours of projections, 16 sections, a Virtual Reality arena, 350 meters of red carpet. The Sitges Film Festival is not a small thing. You have this feeling immediately when you start walking around those streets that sometimes get so crowded that you can barely move. The main projections happen in 4 cinemas: The Auditori, a beautiful theatre hosting more than 1300 people, the Tramuntana, the Retiro and the Prado. We are talking about 11 days of a crowded schedule, including some movie night-marathons. Sessions that only the bravest cinephiles manage to survive.
Wochamovie has followed the first weekend of the festival and will come back to Sitges also for the closing one. These are the main highlights:
Opening ceremony. You have to walk the red carpet it in the right way from the very beginning. This was the case, with an opening night that was just a tremendous success. Guillermo Del Toro, introduced by Angel Sala – director of the Sitges Film Festival, spent a few words right before the projection of The Shape of Water. A movie that is already a success and got him the Golden Lion at the last Venice Film Festival.
Susan Sarandon. She was the star of the first Saturday night. First, she received a prize for her contribution to the cinema history (well deserved) and later she assisted to the late night projection of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. A tribute to the actress who, thanks to this movie, showed the world what she is capable of. What was really impressive is the unconditional love the audience has for Sarandon. Something that the actress responded to as the star she is, involving the crowd in an improvised singing session ended with a long-lasting applause nobody will ever forget.
The Zombie Walk. This is such a special event in the event of the Sitges Film Festival. It’s a night during which all the people wear a zombie costume and transform a quiet city on the coast into some sort of The Walking Dead set. And some of the make-ups and costumes you can admire during that walk are just astonishing! Also because the organization brings to Sitges some fine make-up artists who are happy to prepare (for free) whoever wants to be a zombie for one night. Amazing.
The VR experience. Thanks to Samsung, sponsors of this event, everybody can experience the feeling of being scared in 3D. Or, to be precise, in a virtual reality world. When you wear the glasses and look around you feel that the potential of VR is immense. Unfortunately, when this wow effect is gone, you start noticing the little issues that are still unsolved, like the blurred image, the distractions, visual effects issues… nothing major but enough to make us consider this still an early stage. One thing is for sure: when VR will be mass-market ready cinema won’t be the same again.
Stranger Things, strange behavior. This is probably the only bad thing that happened so far. On Sunday, there was a season two presentation event including some of the actors and the screening of the new pilot, but something went wrong. Apparently, Netflix canceled the event unexpectedly. Quite an issue for the organizers and a heartbreaking situation for the thousands of fans eager to meet their beloved actors. Pity.
Wind River. Last but not least the best movie we saw in this opening weekend. A funny thing: it’s not a proper fantastic movie, it’s more like a drama based on real facts. Wind River is the directing debut of Taylor Sheridan, writer of Sicario and the Oscar nominee Hell or High Water. This time Sheridan does it all, from screenplay to directing and the result is outstanding. The story is not an easy one, it’s about a native American woman who has been found dead by a hunter in the woods of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. The girl has been raped and was not wearing any shoes, enough to get the FBI involved. A tough story filled with tough characters, a film that was perfectly written and directed that, hopefully, will get also Academy Awards attention. Go and watch it if you didn’t yet, you might find it disturbing but for sure you won’t find it bad.
The Sitges Film Festival will continue until the end of next week and, starting from Thursday 12, we will be there again to watch a good bounce of movies, meet some stars and update you on the fly. Live stories at Wochamovie Instagram profile and Facebook page. Stay tuned.