Weak Competition Mars 12th Imagfic Fest

The 12th Imagfic (Madrid Sci-Fi Filmfest) limped to a close April 27 with a bungled awards ceremony followed by a screening of Sam Pillsbury’s lame “Zandalee.”

About 60 films unspooled during the weeklong event at four screens of the Ideales multiplex in central Madrid. There were additional screenings at the city’s cinematheque.

Fest director Rita Sonlleva lined up a prestigious jury, which included helmers Lina Wertmiiller and Guy Hamilton. Fest screened some Troma product, which never had been seen in Madrid, and a retro of Brian De Palma films.

But such pluses were offset by weak competitive programming and organizational snafus. Liaison with the press was virtually nil, and the only info on the films was the sketchy outline in the official catalog.

Possibly the biggest snafu was in the announcing of the prizes. The list of prizewinners was read all at once, instead of each winner being announced individually and then collecting his or her award. The prize for best photography was left off the list; no one noticed until later.

Imagfic largely maintained its traditional sci-fi and horror tack in the competitive section, with such items as “A Chinese Ghost Story 2,” “Doctor Petiot,” “My Lovely Monster,” “Scanners 2” and “The Phantom Of The Opera,” as well as out-of-competition pics such as George Romero’s “Night Of The Living Dead” and Stephen King’s “Graveyard Shift.”

But fest also threw in retros on German filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger and Jim Henson, as well as an irrelevant four-pic section on the brat pack.

Among those attending were helmers Mike Leigh, Michel Bergmann and Christine Edzard, Troma topper Lloyd Kaufmann, and German director Ulrike Ottinger, to whom a six-pic retro was dedicated.

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