Pepo Pérez, illustrator and proffesor at the UMA—native from Málaga—has been the one in charge of the design of the collectible stickers for this year’s passport.

Fancine has its films in competition. The team of the fantasy film festival of the University of Málaga has revealed the ten works which will compete in the Official Section of this 33rd edition, the winning work will get the highest award of the competition: nine thousand euros in prize money. This competitive section includes some of the most awaited international productions of this year, as well as a Spanish works and a surprising animation film, that will add colour and fantasy to this variety of genres, styles and plots.

One of them will be the Korean production Concrete Utopia, preselected for the cathegory of Best International Feature Film for the next Oscars. The story, directed by Um Tae-Hwa, fluctuates between disaster films and dystopia. Set in a post-earthquake devastated Seoul, where just a skyscraper is left standing. There, survivors barricade themselves and try to carry on in awful conditions, figthing those who want to enter the building looking for food and shelter. This scathing critique to social division, class struggle and the darkest limits of human egoism as background, portraits the gradual descent of its characters into tribalism, where the reconstruction of a fragmented society is only possible when everything has been reduced to rubble. This film, in tune with this year’s topic dedicated to housing, stars Lee Byung-hun (Squidgame), Park Seo-joon (Parasite) and Park Bo-young (Oh my Ghost).

La chimera, Italian Alice Rohrwache’s new project will also compete in Málaga after its time in Cannes. In this film, the producer shows a poetic fable where the limits between sacred and profane, myth and heathen, dream and reality or the past and the irremediable present are blurred. All through eccentric, poor and alienated characters, who are engaged in robbing Etruscan graves and sell the relics ilegally. Set in the Tuscan countryside during the 80s, the film blends three different cinematographic formats and an endless amount of stylistic devices in order to create bright shots full of symbolism and beauty, where this story about love, greed and archeological treasures takes place. With Josh O’Connor (The Crown) and Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet) as leading roles.

The novelty for this 33rd edition is provided by Mars Express, which becomes the second animation film to join the contest in the Official Section after Belle, from Mamoru Hosoda, in 2021. Jérémi Périn debuts in full-length films with this adventure in space that, with elegant aesthetics and classic sci-fi codes, explores the relationship between humans and Artificial Intelligence. The film shows a private detective and her android companion, hired by a rich business man to find a famous hacker. Their search will soon take us to the criminal underworld of the red planet, where we’ll find an unsuspected conspirational network which threatens to disrupt the balance of the universe.

And following the previous editions’ dynamics, for the third year in a row, Fancine includes a national film among the candidates to win one of the trophies. The film in charge of national representation is La espera, directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez and starring Víctor Clavijo, Ruth Díaz, Pedro Casablanc and Manuel Morón. The producer from Córdoba opts for native horror folk in this strong thriller full of brutality, where the brilliant acting of its protagonists stands out in the arid rural setting and wrath and pain and fear points directly at the viewers with a shotgun. In the Andalusian mountains, the guard of a countryside property accepts a bribe from a hunter without knowing that this will make his life become a spiral of tension and guilt that will test his sanity.

The university gala will welcome two more French films. First of all, The Beast, which with Bertrand Bonello comes back to the festival after competing with Zombi Child. In his tenth full-length film, the director showa a romantic drama with futuristic touches that takes place in three times and spaces. Worn out of suffering and tired of sadness, Gabrielle decides to break free form all emotions thanks to a technology that is able to eliminate those menaces called ‘feelings’. In the process, she will go over her past lives and her multiple meetings with Louis, her impossible love and cause of her decision. Léa Seydoux (La vie d’Adèle) and George Mackay (1917) bring this pair to live, to the rythm of the songs of “The Pointer Sisters” and “Visage”.

This melancholic romance will be joined by Salem, which with Jean-Bernard Marlin will take us to the harsh reality of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Marseilles. This setting is shaped with violence from the eternal tragedy of gang warfare. Surrounded by hate, thirst for revenge and weapons that sow death, a former gang member believes that his daughter is the only one who can save their community from the curse that a rival gang member put on them with his last breath.

The last confirmed film is Little Bone Lodge, horror and suspense belonging to the subgenre of home invasion and directed by Matthias Hoene. The story focuses on two criminal brothers who look for shelter in an isolated farm one sotrmy night in Scottland Highlands. After holding the resident family prisoner, the intruders discover that the house holds dark secrets.

Three other that have already been announce in earlier previews of Fancine’s schedule will join this competing films:  Vincent doit mourir, an unsettling film in which its dull protagonist starts getting attacked for no reason by strangers with clear homicidal intentions. Sleep, a Korean production where a young pregnant woman worries about her husband’s sudden sleepwalking to the point of asking shaman for help; and The Uncle, a Serbian film set in a Christmas dinner, with an inconceivable ending. 

Fancine Passport

This ten films will have their respective “kittens” for the Fancine Passport, an iniciative that has been rewarding the loyalty of the public for the fantastic gala in Málaga for eight years.

A sticker album that encourages the viewing of a selection of films from the billboard. For each ticket that you buy, for any of the screenings of these films, you get a collectible sticker for this album. Once a certain number of films have been watched, the passport can be traded for promotional gifts form Fancine. The design of these “kittens” this time has been the work of the artist and proffesor of the UMA, Pepo Pérez, who based them on Fancine’s iconic maneki-neko. He customized each sticker with recognizable elements of each of the selected films. Thus, Pepo Pérez takes over the creation of the stickers, which was previously done by Tomás Hijo in 2022. Great illustrators such as Ángles Idígoras, Pedrita Parker or filmmaker Bill Plumpton were responsible for this task in previous editions.