In the last five days, Lisbon was invaded by creatures, killers and evil entities while the 8th edition of MOTELx was taking place. For the first time, the programming forced the organization to increase the number of spaces to three: Cinema São Jorge, Teatro Tivoli BBVA and Cinemateca Júnior. So during these really rough and intense days, fans and curious people were invited to rent a room in the town’s most terrifying motel. There were free ice-creams, free events like masterclasses and game nights but most important of all, the crowd was enthusiastic and interested in finding out new movies. In the end, everything went pretty well and I enjoyed a lot the atmosphere surrounding the festival. While two friendly but scary zombies were walking around the place, visitors had the chance to speak with some of the festival’s guests which made the whole experience of attending a film festival a lot better.
The selection was movies was really good and the audience had the chance to meet some of this year’s new horror hits like The Guest, Honeymoon and Babadook. Several European and Asian movies were shown, including Killers, Alleluia and Among the Living and one of this year’s surprises was the screening of The Storm Within, a Canadian horror flick with historical aspects that had a great transition between drama and horror. 13 Short movies were picked to compete for the festival’s only award and without seeing most of the contenders the only thing I’m able to say is that winner was interesting and there were several aspects I enjoyed in it… Pela Boca Morre o Peixe had a curious character development and ended in a twisted way. The story of a man who caught a big fish who was eaten by it and who was becoming into something out of normal had a lot of potential and it was a choice supported and acclaimed by the audience at the Closing Ceremony. As for the horror movies, I’ve discovered great titles and I will share the reviews with you. There were frightening movies that failed a bit in impressing me but there were also really funny movies with an interesting and quick pace that made me laugh really hard in the theater. In the end, I had tremendous amounts of fun and I have to thank the organization for bringing some specific titles that probably were never going to be released in Portugal.
As for the bad things, in some sessions the theaters looked like freezers and the temperature was definitely far from being pleasant. There’s also the downside of picking an American Slasher/Musical, Stage Fright, to close the festival. I’m not saying that the movie was really funny and that had some style but there were better movies to close the event. But when so many things went really great, I must say that overall the festival was a hit and allowed everyone to discover new directors and movies. Supported by EGEAC and CML and sponsored by MINI, MOTELx brought joy and fear to the city of Lisbon. It was an enthusiastic event and it has proven to be one of the most ambitious and most pleasing festivals in the Portuguese Film Festivals Circuit. By picking stylish and charismatic movies and by taking chances, I have to congratulate the organization for their great work.
MOTELx was the first festival being covered by Panda’s Choice and I’m really proud to be part of the press at the event. This was a tremendous opportunity and I want to thank the organization for the support and for everything they allowed me to do. This 8th edition is now over and now there are only memories left but even though the motel is closed there are still some reviews to be made. For those who enjoyed this edition and for those who want to join the experience, MOTELx returns in September 9th of the next year to present new events, directors and movies.
MOTELx, the place where horror is welcome!