‘X’ marks winning spot at Sitges sci-fi fest

Telefilm “Citizen X” dominated the awards at the 28th Sitges Intl. Film Festival, one of the leading sci-fi/fantasy festivals in Europe, which closed Oct. 14.

“Citizen X” took awards for best film, best director (Chris Gerolmo) and best actor (Stephen Rea). A grimy thriller inspired by a true case, Gerolmo’s film has detective Rea hunting a serial killer in Russia.

“Citizen X’s” near-clean sweep at the Sitges fest surprised some observers, since the pic is an HBO Pictures made-for-cable movie – for which co-star Donald Sutherland won an Emmy award – and apparently has nothing to do with “fantasy.” The film’s quality, however, was widely applauded. “Citizen X” is distributed worldwide by Rysher Entertainment.

“Nadja” helmer Michael Almereyda shared the director award with Gerolmo. Bridget Fonda won the actress prize award for her performance in Clare Peploe’s “Rough Magic,” while Argentina’s Eliseo Subiela took the best screenplay prize for “No te mueras sin decirme adonde vas.”

Technical awards went to Nick Knowland (cinematography for “The Institute Benjamenta,” directed by the Quay brothers) and Nick Bickat (soundtrack for Philip Ridley’s “The Passion of Darkly Moon”), while Steve Johnson and Richard Englund won the special effects prize for their work on Roger Donaldson’s “Species.”

The Sitges fest saw a large increase in the presence of stars and directors – 70, led by Christopher Lambert – and spectators, making of a mockery of its $900,000 budget.

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