Last October, I had the surreal pleasure of covering the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, a fantastical phantasmagoria of every horror, fantasy, gory, unconventional film an enthusiast could ask for. Already, the festival preparations are in high gear for 2015, and everyone who digs horror and fantasy flicks should be buying their tickets to the coastal town south of Barcelona before they get too expensive. For filmmakers, though, there’s another way of getting into the world of Sitges-style films, Phonetastic 2015.
In its third year, Phonetastic is a special kind of film festival, ushering in a new way of cinematic storytelling by inviting people to create movies using only their smartphones or tablets. It’s a great opportunity for those intrepid folks who want to create films of their own, but don’t have the wildly expensive gear it takes to do so. Phonetastic is the possible gateway toward being a big time filmmaker.
The festival, birthed by the festival in Sitges in 2013, with the help from Mobile World Capital, has been buttressed by names such as Antonio Banderas, Park Chan-wook, Eli Roth, and Elijah Wood. Not only will there be screenings of the films in the competition, but there’ll also be master-classes and tutorials from well-known filmmakers about how to create high quality films on the everyman’s budget.
Submissions opened just a few weeks ago and will remain as such until September 1 of this year. The festival takes place October 9-18, overlapping with the fantastic film festival. That’s two festivals, both comprised of creatively horrifying, and horrifyingly creative, films, one of which could be made by the touchscreen enthusiast reading this article. All you have to do is not run over 15 minutes with the film, and make sure the genre falls somewhere between horror, fantasy, mystery, martial arts, and science fiction. It could be you winning the Best Film or Audience Award at the main Sitges festivities. Or you could be standing atop an Oscar podium, as Sitges will be entering qualified films into the coveted Oscar race.
This groundbreaking festival gives an incredibly creative new purpose for those devices currently sucking out our waning humanity. I had the opportunity to see some of the fruits of this sort of labor in Sitges last year, and it’s pretty startling what can be done nowadays with technology normally used to text your colleagues emoticons of poop. The festival in Sitges is already a one of a kind film extravaganza, and with the help of the same folks who always make Barcelona the hub of the universe with the Mobile World Congress, every human with a touchscreen device can contribute films to the growing world of fantasy and horror films. A creative revolution toward accessibility in the film industry, you might say.
Also, according to the Phonetastic site, new technology, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6, will debut at the Mobile World Congress and at Phonetastic this year. Any smartphone junky should be extremely excited about this, and itching to buy that ticket to the Catalan coast. The minds behind Phonetastic urge everyone to keep up with the site, as an online community is integral to an online festival. A new wave of filmmakers has been born, and we have Phonetastic to thank. I may not continue to blame smartphones and tablets for the death of art and humanity after all.