The 56th edition of the Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia was the first edition in which the ESCAC – Superior School of Cinema and Audiovisuals of Catalonia participated as a collaborating entity. This alliance involved the organization of various activities with the primary purpose of bringing the industry closer to the students. It was a highly enriching experience in which 440 students participated.
Once again, the Sitges ESCAC Week has been an annual event for the school, a week in which classes come to a halt so that students can enjoy the festival, attend screenings, participate in various activities, and share experiences with their peers.
During the second days of the Opera Prima laboratory, the industry was presented with the nine projects selected for this 2023 edition, including eight feature films and a series, in different stages of development.
The main objective of the Opera Prima Laboratory is to promote and support projects coming from new creators and is funded by the ICAA and the Next Generation funds. It differs from other labs in that it involves not only talent in directing, screenwriting, or production, but also includes other professional profiles (such as sound, photography, VFX, editing, etc.), forming complete teams that work together in their professional stage.
The projects presented were: Tres edades (San Dai Shi Guang) by Jiajie Yu Yan; Jone by Sara Fantova; Una vieja en Torrevieja by Gerard Claramunt; Brucólacos by Lucas Parra Pérez; Muga by Asier Urbieta; Positividad tóxica by Pedro Rudolphi; Y así seguirán las cosas by Marina Palacio Burgueño; Ínsula by Jan Hernández Marsol; and Wonder Boy by David Heredia.
The 9th edition of the Proyecta Awards has been held in a new format compared to previous years. Students from the Master of Film Business have recognized the work of industry professionals in four categories: Best National Premiere, Best National Independent Film, Best International Premiere, and Inspire Award.
María Luisa Gutiérrez, a producer of films like Torrente 2, 3, 4, and 5, ¡A todo tren!, or Lobo feroz, among others, has been awarded the Best National Premiere for Padre no hay más que uno 3. Sandra Tapia, a producer of films like Robot Dreams, Mediterráneo, or Madre, among others, has been honored with the Best National Independent Premiere for As bestas. The Best International Premiere has gone to Avatar: El sentido del agua by Disney. Finally, María Zamora, a producer of titles like Alcarràs and O corno, a recent winner of the Golden Shell at the San Sebastián Film Festival, has been awarded the Inspire Award.
The three awardees received their accolades in a packed Meliá Auditorium, with students from the Master program among the audience. Following the ceremony, a discussion was held with the awardees, moderated by Carlota Caso, the co-director of the Master program. Gutiérrez, Tapia, and Zamora discussed the state of the executive production profession, the importance of marketing, and the state of the film industry in general, in a format in which both the industry and students could exchange views in a relaxed and fluid manner.
SGAE Nova Autoria Award
The SGAE Nova Autoria Awards, with their mission of promoting emerging talent, have recognized Mikel Garrido, a student from our ever-growing international community, with the Best Direction-Production Award for the short film Tenemos patria, produced by Escac Films and directed and written by him. According to the jury, he deserved the award ‘for his narrative strength, his ability to engage the viewer with a seemingly simple yet nuanced story, and for the quality and credibility in all aspects of the narrative.’
This award is another example of the recognition that our productions receive and represents a significant step for the students when it comes to making their mark in the industry.
J.A. Bayona, Time Machine Award
Furthermore, this has been a truly special edition of the Sitges Film Festival, as it coincides with the upcoming 30th anniversary of the school. J.A. Bayona, a member of ESCAC’s first graduating class, received the Time Machine Award. The director was accompanied by the team from his latest film, ‘La sociedad de la nieve,’ which was met with great success among both the public and critics. The film has been chosen by Spain as its submission for the upcoming Academy Awards. The team included several talented individuals from the school, such as Oriol Tarragó in sound design, Laura Pedro in visual effects, Bernat Vilaplana in screenwriting, Jaume Martí in editing, and Quim Vives in still photography.
ESCAC Script Talent
The selection of content creators who are alumni of the school also presented 12 audiovisual projects to some of the top companies in the industry at Sitges, such as Atresmedia, Beta, Filmax, Warner, and TV3. In this way, ESCAC Script Talent aims to discover new scriptwriting talent through pitch sessions. This is another demonstration of their industry connections, as, similar to Opera Prima, several production companies expressed interest in some of the presented projects.
Workshop and Literary Presentation
María Guerra (a journalist who has worked for major media outlets in Spain, a film critic, podcaster, and president of the Association of Film and Series Journalists) and Mariaje González (an expert in digital content and media literacy, and the director of Criteriomil) exclusively provided a theoretical-practical masterclass on how to interact with the media for students of Ópera Prima Lab and the Specialized Master’s program in Directing at ESCAC. The masterclass included attending and analyzing a press conference, as well as interactive exercises that help understand the content and communication strategies being worked on.
ESCAC also took part in the presentation of the book ‘El arte de la renuncia’ by Antonio Gómez-Pan, focusing on film editing and narrative, co-edited with the Ocho y Medio bookstore. The author, editor María Silveyro, and editors Lynzee Klingman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ali, Man on the Moon, Matilda, Outbreak, The War of the Roses) and Heather Capps (Portlandia, Twisted Metal, Loot, Nathan For You) virtually attended the event.
In-person participants in the presentation included Joan Marimón (projectionist, filmmaker, educator, and member of the Association of Audiovisual Editors of Catalonia), Christian Checa (General Coordinator of ESCAC’s Master’s programs), and Nacho Moliné (ESCAC’s Communication).