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The SciFi Film Festival has announced a selection of its 2019 program that highlights its burgeoning international reputation as Australia’s predominant science fiction and fantasy film celebration. An unprecedented 17 countries will have visionary works play the 6th annual event, which unspools from September 6-8 at the Event Cinemas George Street complex in Sydney.

Comprised of 9 features and a record 31 short films, the program boasts three World Premieres, four International Premieres and 27 Australian premieres. While the bulk of the program is locked in place, Opening Night honours and the prime Saturday evening session are still being negotiated; both will be announced in the days ahead. (Pictured, above; Gigi Edgley in Ben Alpi's Hashtag)

“The degree of innovation and imagination in this year’s submissions was truly remarkable,” says Program Director Simon Foster, who notes that genre filmmakers are addressing contemporary social and political issues at a time when smart commentary is needed more than ever. “We have a works that explore such themes as gender and sexual identity, family structure, the influence of technology, population control and social media reliance. One of the most challenging films in the festival is a Mexican short featuring a mega-robot P.O.T.U.S. enforcing border wall policy,” says Foster. “Of course, we also have spaceships, ray guns and alien visitors, both good and bad, too.” (Pictured, above: Coco Gillies in Dana-Lee Mierowsky Bennett's Sammy) 

Session by session, here is what audiences can expect from the 2019 SciFi Film Festival:

Session 1: OPENING NIGHT, Friday September 6 at 6.30pm
Short: BROLGA (Dir: Adrian Powers; 15.37 mins, Australia): In a ravaged future-Australia, a solitary hermit guarding a priceless treasure is forced to offer sanctuary to a young girl who is fleeing murderous scavengers. With danger around every corner, can they learn to survive together?
Feature: TBA

Session 2: Friday September 6 at 8.30pm
Short: SOMNIUM (Dir: Mayed Al Qasimi; 14.21 mins, U.K.): An intergalactic postal worker on her final job with her laconic yet trusted ship must face unexpected challenges in the vast endless space.
Feature: THE FINAL LAND (Dir: Marcel Barion; 113 mins, Germany): Two dissimilar men in a small, old spaceship set off in search of a new home. Says Barion, “We made a film about two guys dealing with escape, search, freedom and home, just by designing their world from our very own point of view.” (Pictured, above; Torben Föllmer and Milan Pesl in The Final Land)

Session 3: Saturday September 7 at 10.30am
Short: SPICE FRONTIER (Dirs: Jalil Sadool, Adam Meyer; 8.10 mins, U.S.A.): Centuries after the destruction of Earth, Kent and his cyborg companion, C-LA, embark on a flavor-driven adventure across the dangerous intergalactic trade route known as the 'Spice Road.' (Pictured, below; a scene from the film Spice Frontier)
Feature: ERRATUM 2037 (Dirs: The Benoit Brothers; 77 mins, France): When two teens receive a message from the future, they become wide-eyed heroes in a world at the mercy of space-time paradoxes. By using old school visual effects, The Benoit Brothers adventure pays homage to the great sci-fi productions of the 80's that inspired them.

Session 4: SHORT FILM SHOWCASE, Saturday September 7 at 1.00pm
SPIRAL (Dir: Steven Kerr; 10.53 mins, Australia): Following WW3, a young woman working in an Australian outpost confronts prejudice as she attempts to save a Soviet cosmonaut marooned in space.
HASHTAG (Dir: Ben Alpi; 14.58 mins, U.S.A.): In a looming future where social media celebrities dominate our culture, X is the world’s supreme online icon— but how far must she go to hold on to her popularity?
PERFECT WORLD (Dir: Yuske Fukada; 11.17 mins, Japan): In 2121, citizens in the ‘City’ are judged based on a score of one's efficiency, called a SPEC. Doctor K faces a question between the law and morality when visited by his pregnant ex-lover.
CARCEREM (Dir: Jason Trembath; 6.40 mins, Australia): The lives of career combat officers who choose to remain on the remote desert planet of Carcerem.
IDEAL HOMELAND (Dir: Bo Wei; 15.26 mins, China): In the near future, A.I. controls the population of Earth. Joe, the carrier of AI's sexual experience, does the most mechanical task every day to obtain survival credits but yearns for the freedom of independence.
TRUTH.exe (Dir: Ricky Townsend; 18.30 mins, New Zealand): A young hacktivist is given a USB drive which contains an extraordinary truth; his mission is to upload it to the internet.
THUNDER FROM A CLEAR SKY (Dir: Yohan Faure; 21 mins, Canada): Ten years after the discovery of a remote planetary system likely to sustain the early stages of a civilization. the whole world answers the question: "Should we meet this civilization?"

Session 5: Saturday September 7 at 3.30pm
Short: THURSDAY NIGHT (Dir: Gonçalo Almeida; 7.36 mins, Portugal): An elusive stranger pays Bimbo a visit in the middle of the night to deliver a vital message.
Feature: A LIVING DOG (Dir: Daniel Raboldt; 94 mins, Germany): The war between mankind and intelligent machines has begun. In the vast emptiness of northern Scandinavia, deserter Tomasz meets Lilja, the last survivor of a resistance group, who is determined to fight the superior machines. With every minute that passes the machines get closer, their sensors programmed to detect human voice patterns. If you speak, even whisper - you die.

Session 6: Saturday September 7 at 6.00pm
Short: SLICE OF LIFE (Dirs: Luka Hrgović, Dino Julius; 14 mins, Croatia): Forced to live on the edge of humanity and morality, one lonesome, low-life drug dealer will try to change his life against all odds.
Feature: TBA

Session 7: AN EVENING OF ANIMATION, Saturday September 7 at 8.30pm
MONSTERS WALKING (Dir: Diego Porral; 1.05 mins, Spain): 'Monsters Walking' is a short film about monsters that walk.
TACIT BLUE (Dir: Wenkai Duan; 9.14 mins, China): Carl must rescue his daughter Alice, who has been kidnapped and turned into a killing machine.
GUSTAAKH (THE ARROGANT) (Dir: Vijesh Rajan; 3.49 mins, India): In a future cyberpunk city, a concerned citizen rises up to the occasion when an publicity hungry dictator fails to protect his people.
A DAY IN THE PARK (Dir: Diego Porral; 2.55 mins, Spain): A grandfather explains to his grandkid how things used to be... or maybe how they are now.
ODDS AND EVENS (Dir: Michał Czyż, 3.36 mins, Poland): A nameless astronaut’s journey through the universe and beyond human comprehension.
AVARYA (Dir: Gökalp Gönen; 19.58 mins, Turkey): Hoping to find a habitable planet, a human becomes trapped in his own ship after his robot overseer finds every single candidate planet unsuitable.
M.A.M.O.N. (Dir: Alejandro Damiani; 5.00 mins, Mexico): A war breaks out between a Trump-like mecha-robot and several stereotypical Mexican Latinos.
ATTACK OF THE DEMONS (Dir: Eric Power; 72 mins, U.S.A): For centuries, a demonic cult has been plotting the destruction of mankind. When a small Colorado town is overrun by a legion of mutating demons, three non-demon hunter friends must use every skill their minds can fathom to stave off the demon apocalypse.

Session 8: Sunday September 8 at 10.30am
Short: CURIOSITY (Dir: Lukas Pace; 10.20 mins, U.K.): A lonely 10 year old girl named Katie one day stumbles upon a forgotten robot of days gone by and mistakenly activates it.
Feature: MY GRANDPA IS AN ALIEN (Dir: Marina Andree Skop, Drazen Zarkovic; 79 mins, Croatia): Una and her new robot friend have 24 hours to find her Grandpa, who was kidnapped by aliens. (Pictured, right; Lana Hranjec in My Grandpa is An Alien)

Session 9: WOMEN IN SCIFI, Sunday September 8 at 1.00pm
PARIS YOU GOT ME (Dir: Julie Boehm; 9.15 mins, Germany): The street artist George lures Ksenia into his magic world of art illusions.
I-RIS (Dir: Leila Garrison; 12.11 mins, U.S.A.): In a world where people can get eye implants to adjust what they see, complications with one girl’s operation cause her traumas to manifest visually.
DEER BOY (Dir: Katarzyna Gondek; 15.00 mins, Poland): A hunter's son, born with antlers, learns that each man kills the thing he loves.
TRANSMISSION (Dir: Rebecca Gardiner; 14.45 mins, Australia): Desperate to find a missing research team, Commander Sterling and her crew venture deep into an unknown planet.
SAMMY (Dir: Dana-Lee Mierowsky Bennett; 14.00 mins, Australia): In a war torn Australia, 10-year-old Sammy must build a hot air balloon so she and her little brother can find their parents.
UNREGISTERED (Dir: Sophia Banks; 15 mins, U.S.A.): Los Angeles, the not too distant future: the government limits one child per home as a solution to overpopulation. The love between Rekker and Ata force them to question the state of society - as well as confront a secret of her own.
MOBIUS BOND (Dir: Emilija Riviere; 15 mins, Lithuania): A girl experiences strange body symptoms, which become an evidence of a Mobius-like topology of the Universe.
EINSTEIN-ROSEN (Dir: Olga Osorio; 9 mins, Spain): Teo claims he has found a wormhole. His brother Óscar does not believe him... at least not for now.
LAB RAT (Dir: Nour Wazzi; 15.28 mins, U.K.): A group of scientists trapped in a lab learn that one of them is an A.I..... and it has been deceiving them.

Session 10: Sunday September 8 at 3.30pm
Short: AUDIO GUIDE (Dir: Chris Elena; 9 mins, Australia): Says Elena, “It's about a woman in an art gallery listening to an Audio Guide that then tells her how everyone is going to die, revealing the real history of the world and the artworks.”
Feature: NORMAN (Dir Joel Guelzo; 105 mins, U.S.A.): Norman becomes trapped and isolated in the past, jeopardizing life in both realities. He must invent a way back to the future before the world collapses.

Session 11: CLOSING NIGHT, Sunday September 8 at 6.00pm
Short: FACE SWAP (Dirs: David Gidali, Einat Tubi, 5.01 mins, U.S.A.): Convincing his wife to try out a new A.I. technology to spice up their sex life, a husband ends up getting a bit more spice than he bargained for.
Feature: SPECIAL PRESENTATION - STAY TUNED (Dir: Peter Hyams, 88 mins, U.S.A.): A husband and wife are sucked into a hellish television reality and have to survive a gauntlet of twisted versions of popular shows. Criminally underseen when first released in 1992, this thrilling, hilarious satire explores media saturation and society’s obsession with ‘The Tube’. (Pictured, right; John Ritter and friends in Peter Hyams' Stay Tuned).

SCREEN-SPACE is a media partner of the SciFi Film Festival. Managing Editor Simon Foster is the Program Director of the festival. 

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