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Sitges celebrates ‘Christmas,’ ‘Rubber’

Pic pair share Spanish fest's top awards

Jalmari Helander’s feature debut “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale” and Quentin Dupieux’s “Rubber” swept top kudos at the 43rd Sitges Festival, which wrapped Sunday.

“Christmas,” a winking lampoon of the Santa Claus legend, took best picture, director and cinematography.

Sold by Gregoire Melin’s Kinology, Spanish distribution rights were picked up at the festival by Andres Martin’s Vertigo.

Vertigo has also taken rights to Dennis Gansel’s “We Are the Night,” which won Sitges’ special jury award.

“Christmas,” which was a Locarno fest Piazza Grande hit, “is probably one of the few Christmas films which is not for kids. This was very fresh and original,” said Toronto fest’s Midnight Madness programmer Colin Geddes, who was on the Sitges jury.

Otherwise, Sitges’ biggest winner was the Elle Driver-sold “Rubber,” Dupieux’s off-beat road comedy about a killer car tire, which took the Youth Jury nod, its Citizen Kane award for up-and-coming director, and a Silver Melies for best fantasy pic.

In a sole award to a Spanish-language pic — at a Sitges where “Kidnapped” and “Neon Flesh” were early standouts — Argentinean editor and feature debutant Nicolas Goldbart took screenplay for “Fase 7.”

Brit helmer Gareth Edwards won f/x with “Monsters.”

Rebecca De Mornay, helmers Kim Jee-woon, Joe Dante and Roger Corman, along with wife-producer Julie Corman, attended Sitges to pick up honorary Time Machine Awards.

Actress kudos went to Josie Ho for “Dream Home,” actor to Patrick Fabian (“The Last Exorcism”).

Almost bereft of studio pics, but studded with low-, micro- or no-budget genre fare, Sitges sold 62,000 tickets for a total €465,000 ($651,465) box office, up 3% from the 2009 edition. Total spectators ran at 105,000 through Friday.

For genre and fantasy films, “There’s a faithful, incredible audience, which is building cinema attendance, and a hope for cinemagoing in the future,” fest director Angel Sala said.

And the winners are:

FANTASY COMPETITION

FILM

“Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale” (Jalmari Helander, Finland, Norway, France, Sweden)

DIRECTOR

Jalmari Helander

SPECIAL JURY AWARD

“We Are the Night” (Dennis Gansel, Germany)

ACTOR

Patrick Fabian (“The Last Exorcism,” U.S.)

ACTRESS

Josie Ho (“Dream Home,” Hong Kong)

SCREENPLAY

Nicolas Goldbart (“Fase 7,” Argentina)

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Mika Orasmaa (“Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale”)

ART DIRECTION

Yuji Hayashida (“Thirteen Assassins,” Japan)

MAKE UP F/X

Vitaya Deerattakul and Andrew Lin (“Dream Home”)

F/X

Gareth Edwards (“Monsters,” U.S.)

ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Seppuku Paradigm, Alex and Willie Cortes (“Red Nights,” Hong Kong, France)

OTHER AWARDS

FANTASTIC PANORAMA AWARD

“Tucker Dale vs. Evil” (Eli Craig, Canada, U.S.)

YOUTH JURY AWARD

“Rubber,” (Quentin Dupieux, France)

CASA ASIA AWARD

“Cold Fish” (Sion Sono, Japan)

ANIMAT GERTIE FILM AWARD

“Jackboots on Whitehall,” (Edward McHenry and Rory McHenry, U.K.)

GOLDEN MELIES, EUROPEAN PICTURE

“Buried,” (Rodrigo Cortes, Spain)

SILVER MELIES, EUROPEAN PICTURE

“Rubber”

SHORT FILM

“The Legend of Beaver Dam” (Jerome Sable, Canada)

SHORT SPECIAL MENTION

“Vicenta” (Sam Millor, Spain)

NEW VISIONS AWARD

“Lights Out” ( Fabrice Gobert, France)

PERIODICO DE CATALUNYA AUDIENCE AWARD

“Thirteen Assassins” (Takashi Miike, Japan)

JOSE LUIS GUARNER CRITICS’ AWARD

“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives” (Apitchapong Weerasethakul, U.K., Thailand, France, Germany, Spain)

CITIZEN KANE AWARD TO AN UP-AND-COMING DIRECTOR

Quentin Dupieux (“Rubber”)

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