The Sitges Film Festival is an affiliated member of the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation (EFFFF), along with fantastic and fantasy film festivals held in Amsterdam, Brussels, Lund, Neuchatel, Strasbourg, and Trieste. The inaugural festival was held in 1968 as the International Week of Fantasy and Horror Movies. In 1971, it became a competitive festival and began to give awards to the best films, filmmakers and actors.
The main award of the Sitges Film Festival is the Maria Award. A prestigious international jury awards it in several categories such as Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Special Effects. By popular vote, the audience choose the best feature film which is given the Grand Audience Award. There also are other awards such as the José Luis Guarne Award (presented by the Catalan Association of Film Critics and Writers), the Grand Honorary Award, the Carnet Jove Award (presented by the youth jury), etc.
Along with competitive screenings and awards ceremonies, the Sitges Film Festivals features a lot of other events. One of the festival’s main attractions is the Sitges Zombie Walk which anyone can participate in. The organizers even hire professional make-up artists and host a free make-up session. The program also includes exhibitions, panel discussions, book and comics presentations, round tables and other parallel events.
Each year, the Sitges Film Festivals features world renowned special guests. Among the most famous attendees of the festival are Anthony Hopkins, Guillermo del Toro, Antonio Banderas, Quentin Tarantino, Vincent Cassel, David Cronenberg, Christopher Lee, Ralph Fiennes, David Lynch, and many others.
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