With less than a month to go until the 23rd edition of the FANT Bilbao Festival – May 5th to be precise – the organisation has now revealed its most impressive lineup to date.
Organised by Bilbao’s City Council, this year’s Official Section boasts all of 16 international feature films – 2 of which, for the first time ever, are Basque productions: Namely, Roberto Santiago’s The Night of the Virgin (La Noche del Virgen) and Haritz Zubillaga’s The Glass Coffin (El ataúd de cristal). The remainder of this Section consists of Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski The Void; Billy O`Brien’s I Am Not a Serial Killer; Marcos Cabotá’s Noctem; Andrew Getty’s The Evil Within; Gabriel Grieco’s Hipersomnia, Steven DeGennaro’s Found Footage 3D; A.D. Calvo’s Sweet Sweet Lonely Girl; Yeon Sang-ho’s Seoul Station; Victor Dryere’s 1974; Geoff Redknap’s The Unseen; Alice Lowe’s Prevenge; Taneli Mustonen’s Lake Bodom; Colin Minihan’s It Stains the Sands Red and Nicolas Pesce’s The Eyes of my Mother. All films will screen in their original language with Spanish subtitles whilst those films screening at 16:15 will also be subtitled in Basque.
This year, director Eduardo Casanova will kick off the proceedings with his debut feature Pieles (Skins) which will screen as part of the opening ceremony taking place on Friday, May 5, at 20:00, at the Campos Theatre. Casanova will be in attendance with various yet-to-be-announced members of the cast and crew.
Running in parallel to the official lineup, festivalgoers can enjoy a wide selection of free screenings in FANT’s Panorama Strand, together with other special screenings of genre classics and FNAC, one of the festivals long-time collaborators, will be screening a selection of episodes of the cult series “Twin Peaks.”
Shorts will, once again, play a major role at FANT23 with two € 3,000 prizes going to the best short films selected from the Official Section (as chosen by the jury and festivalgoers), and a third prize of € 2,000 going to the Best Basque Short Film.
This year, more than 931 shorts have been received from all around the globe with the 21 selected films screening in the FANT EN CORTO Section. All shorts can be seen on the 5th and 6th of May with Basque shorts screening on the 5th and all remaining shorts screening on the 6th.
The Official Section jury selecting this year’s Best Feature, Best International Short, Best Basque Short and Best Fake Trailer will consist of actress Melina Matthews (The Gunman, Don’t Speak and she also provided the voice of the titular figure in Andrés Muschietti’s Mama); writer, director and screenwriter, Elio Quiroga (La Hora Fria, Ausentes), and director, screenwriter and journalist, Miguel Ángel Vivas (Kidnapped, Extinction, Inside).
The awards ceremony will be held as part of the festival’s closing gala at the Sala BBK – Gran Via, on May 12, at 20:00. Said gala will include a screening of Carles Torrens’ Pet, which took home the best screenplay award at last year’s Sitges Film Festival.
Each year the festival presents the coveted Fantrobia award to advocate the talents of an emerging genre filmmaker, and this year Sean Brosnan (My Father Die) will be joining the Fantrobia ranks alongside previous winners such as Jorge Dorado (Anna), Macarena Gómez (Shrew’s Nest) and Can Evrenol (Baskin). Whilst Brosnan’s mean and moving revenge thriller is available now on Digital Download and heading to DVD and VOD this April 3rd in the U.K., the film will be screened on the 9th of May as part of this year’s FANT line-up and presented by the director himself. Brosnan will also attend the festival’s closing ceremony to pick up the FANTROBIA award.
Honorary awards will also be bestowed to two Goya award winners hailing from Bilbao: actress Terele Pávez & filmmaker Pedro Rivero. Also, for the first time in FANT’s history, an honorary Estrella del FANTástico award will be presented to Barbara Crampton in recognition of her extensive film career. Crampton will be in attendance with a special double bill screening of Re-animator & Beyond the Gates taking place on 11 May.
All of the above is just a tiny snippet of so much more that’s planned so the best way to discover everything FANT has to offer is to enjoy the complete line-up trailer below.
We hope to see you there…
Words: Howard Gorman – @HowardGorman