SITGES – “Borgman,” Holland’s foreign-language Oscar submission, added to its credentials topping the 46th Sitges Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia on Saturday.
The eighth feature of Alex van Warmerdam (“Grimm,” “The Dress”) – and sold to dozens of territories by Fortissimo, including the U.S., where Drafthouse Films will release next year – “Borgman,” a part home invasion thriller, part social satire won praise from Sitges’ jury for its “ability to disturb and its permanent play between realism and fantasy.”
“Only Lovers Left Alive” copped the Special Jury prize, unanimous plaudits from local reviewers, and a mixed reception on social networks: Sitges’ fanbase usually like their genre movies more hard-boiled than Jim Jarmusch’s hipster bloodsuckers romance. While Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all North American rights, the HanWay Films-sold “Lovers” was pre-bought in Spain by Vertigo.
Championed by Quentin Tarantino – who attended its Busan Q & A to call it the best film of the year, “Big Bad Wolves,” from Israel’s Navot Papushado and Aharon Keshales, added another plaudit, winning best director.
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“Wolves” international sales agent 6 Sales scored a double at Sitges, with Juno Temple taking actress for her performance in Sebastian Silva’s “Magic Magic” whose steadily but subtly goes out of her mind in Chile’s deep south. Andy Lau won actor for Johnnie To’s “Blind Detective.”
Also playing to an upbeat reaction among a 28-title Sitges 46 main competition were Manuel Carballo’s “The Returned,” Jim Mickle’s “We Are What We Are,” Jorge Dorado debut psychological thriller “Mindscape,” the first production from Jaume Collet-Serra’s Ombra Films, and Ari Folman “The Congress.”
A zombie chiller produced by Canada’s Ramaco and Barcelona’s Filmax, “The Returned” has sold to the U.S., Latin-America, Taiwan, Middle East, Korea, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, and Canada.
While ticket sales were up 10.5% this year, fest director Angel Sala announced Thursday.
But the crisis-crunched 46th Sitges saw its budget fall 20% to $2 million,
It is not only the festival that is suffering a reality check. While its main prizes this year went to known entities, one highlight of 2013’s Sitges’ was its burgeoning line of low or micro-budgeted Spanish movies sparking critical and online praise , led by Juan Cavestany’s surreal choral comedy “Gente en sitios,” backed by “The Impossible” producers Apaches, “The Innocents” directed by a dozen students at the Escac Barcelona film school, and Pablo Larcuen’s “Hooked Up,” Spain’s first iPhone-shot feature.
Focusing industry attention at Sitges, fest bowed a Coming Soon showcase of teasers to Spanish projects and productions.
Titles presented included Marc Carrete’s exorcism movie “Asmodexia,” on which XYZ Films has U.S. and international rights, and seven-seg feature “Apocalypsi,” yoking the talents of up-and-coming Spanish genre helmers such as Carles Torrens (“Emergo”), Victor Garcia (“Gallows Hill”), Manuel Carballo and Sergi Vizcaino (“XP3D”).
New titles sparking buzz were David Munoz and Adrian Cardona’s bible parody “Fist of Jesus,” Andre Cruz and Robert Figueras’ multiplatform historic fantasy “Panzer Chocolate.”
The 46th Sitges Festival ran Oct. 11-20.
And the winners are:
SITGES 46 COMPETITION
“Borgman” (Alex van Warmerdam, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark)
Navot Papushado, Aharon Keshales (“Big Bad Wolves,” Israel)
SPECIAL JURY AWARD
“Jodorowsky’s Dune” (Frank Pavich, U.S., France)
Juno Temple (“Magic, Magic” U.S., Chile)
Andy Lau, (“Blind Detective,” Johnnie To, Hong Kong, China)
James Ward Byrkit (“Coherence,” U.S.)
Larry Smith (“Only God Forgives,” Denmark, France)
Daniel Acon, David Barkes, Miller Barkes, Massimo Cardajoli (“Afflicted,” Cliff Prowse, Derek Lee, U.S., Canada)
YOUTH JURY AWARD
“Only Lovers left Alive,” (Jim Jarmusch, U.S., France)
ASIA FOCUS – ANIMA’T AWARDS
“New World” (Park Hoon-jung, South Korea)
“Ugly” (Anurag Kashyap, India)
BEST ANIMATION FILM AWARD
“The Fake” (Yeon Sang-ho, South Korea)
BEST ANIMATED SHORT
“Peau de chien” (Nicolas Jacquet, France)
“Anime Mirai” (Kazuhide Tomonaga, Toshihisa Kaiya, Shinpel Miyashita, Hiroshi Kawamata, Japan),
BRIGADOON AWARD FOR BEST SHORT
“El ultimo onvre bibo” (Daniel Aguirre, Luna Martin, Spain)
NEW VISIONS AWARD
“Halley” (Sebastian Hofmann, Mexico)
“Millius“ (Zak Knutson, Joey Figueroa, U.S.)
“Gente en sitios” (Juan Cavestany, Spain)
MEDIUM LENGTH AWARD
“Zoo” (Nicolas Pleskof, France)
NEW VISIONS – EMERGENTS AWARD
“Capa caida” (Santiago Alvarado, Spain)
NEW VISIONS – EXPERIENCE AWARD
“Escape from Tomorrow” (Randy Moore, U.S.)
PERIODICO DE CATALUNYA AUDIENCE AWARD
JOSE LUIS GUARNER CRITICS’ AWARD
“The Congress” (Ari Folman, Israel, Germany, Poland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg)
CITIZEN KANE AWARD TO AN UP-AND-COMING DIRECTOR
“Upstream Color” (Shane Carruth, U.S.)
PHONETASTIC MOBILE AWARD
“The Other Side” (Conrad Mess)
“Ecos” (Carlos Marin)
“La boca del leon” (Alfonso Garcia Lopez)