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William Friedkin to be Honored at Spain’s Sitges Festival

Variety logo Variety 5/31/2017 Emilio Mayorga
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BARCELONA — Academy Award-winning director William Friedkin will receive the Grand Honorary Award at Sitges’ Catalonia Intl. Fantastic Film Festival as Europe’s biggest fantasy-genre fest celebrates its 50th edition this October.

Friedkin was the recipient of a Sitges’ Time Machine Honorary Award in 2007. He won a Best Picture Oscar in 1972 for “The French Connection” and was nominated again the following year for “The Exorcist,” which won William Peter Blatty, author of the novel which inspired the film, an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Director of  “Bug,” “Rampage,” “The Night They Raided Minsky’s” and “To Live and Die in L.A.,” Friedkin recently directed the documentary “The Devil and Father Amorth,” about a real-life exorcism. LD Entertainment acquired worldwide rights to “Amorth” this month.

Another genre heavyweight coming to Sitges is Hong Kong film director and producer Johnnie To, who will join Guillermo del Toro as a festival  godfather. A legend for his Asian “noir” action thrillers, To took a Time Machine Award at Sitges in 2005.

Fest director Ángel Sala also anticipated a strong presence of Virtual Reality at the 50th edition. Supported by Samsung, Sitges will host some of the most remarkable VR productions to date, he said. The Sitges line-up will be announced in July. The 50th edition runs Oct. 5-15.

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