MADRID Mike Cahill’s science thriller “I Origins” took best film and Jennifer Kent’s terror fable “The Babadook,” the Special Jury Award at the 47th Sitges Festival, Europe’s biggest genre pic event, which wrapped Saturday.
Belgian Jonas Govaerts snagged best director award for “Cub,” his feature debut, a horror pic set in a summer camp, sold by Paris-based Kinology.
A Fox Searchlight pickup for worldwide distribution, which scored the Sundance Institute’s Alfred P. Sloan Prize this year, “I Origins” turns on a molecular biologist, played by Michael Pitt, who along with his lab partner (Brit Marling) discover startling evidence that could unhinge humanity.
In a Sitges edition where plaudits were widely shared, the best actress nod was won ex-aequo by Julianne Moore for her role in David Cronenberg’s “Maps to The Stars,” previously awarded at May’s Cannes Festival, and “The Babadook” star Essie Davis, who nabbed the same recognition at the Austin Fantastic Fest.
“The Babadook,” about a mother struggling to handle her young son’s obsession with a monster he sees in his dreams, marks Australia’s Jennifer Kent’s first feature film and at Sundance was acquired by IFC Midnight for the U.S. and Latin America.
Australian thesp Nathan Phillips won best actor as a self-obsessed man who’s on his way to a party on the last day on Earth in Zak Hilditch’s “These Finals Hours,” shared with Koji Yakusho, the star of Tetsuya Nakashima’s ultra-violent drama “The World of Kanako.”
Plaudits collected at this year’s Sitges by young helmers, often with low-budget pics, confirm the growing interest among festivalgoers and juries in titles that combine genre elements with auteur filmmaking.
Despite their absence in top plaudits, Spanish films still grabbed much of the limelight at Sitges, confirming Catalonia as a relevant partner on the world’s film genre scene.
This year’s highlights included fest opener, Jaume Balaguero’s “[REC] 4: Apocalypse” and the anticipated ’50 Spain-set “Shrew’s Nest” from Esteban Roel and Juan Fernando Andres, produced by Alex de la Iglesia.
Antonio Banderas, Roland Emmerich, Maria Kosty and Franco Nero received tributes at the Sitges festival, which ran October 3-12.
And the winners are:
“I Origins” (Mike Cahill, U.S.)
SPECIAL JURY AWARD
“The Babadook” (Jennifer Kent, Australia)
Jonas Govaerts (“Cub,” Belgium)
Nathan Phililips (“These Final Hours”)
Koji Yakusho (“The World of Kanako”)
Essie Davis (“The Babadook)
Julianne Moore “Maps to the Stars)
Jake Paltrow (“Young Ones”)
Carter Smith (“Jamie Marks Is Dead”)
William Eubank (“The Signal”
“Oscar Desafinado” (Mikel Alvarino, Spain)
GRAND AUDIENCE AWARD
“What We Do in The Shadows” (Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, New Zealand-U.S. )
ORBITA CATEGORY AWARD
“Hyena” (Gerard Johnson, U.K.)
FANTASTIC PANORAMA AWARD
“The Treatment” (Hans Herbots, Belgium)
SILVER MELIES, EUROPEAN PICTURE
“Goodnight Mommy” (Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala, Austria)
JOSE LUIS GUARNER AWARD
“Realite” (Quentin Dupieux, France-Belgium)
CITIZEN KANE AWARD TO UP-AND-COMING DIRECTOR
Ana Lily Amirpour (“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” U.S.)
NEW VISIONS AWARD
“Han Gong-Ju” (Lee Su-jin, South Korea)
FOCUS ASIA AWARD
“Mad, Sad, Bad” (Han Ji-seung, Kim Tae-yong, Ryoo Seung-wan, South Korea)
BEST ANIMATION AWARD
“The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow” (Chang Hyung-yun, South Korea)