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Entries in Film Festival (30)

Wednesday
Oct312018

PREVIEW: 2018 VETERANS FILM FESTIVAL

Since its 2015 launch as a short film screening series on the hallowed grounds of the Australian War Memorial, the Veterans Film Festival has grown into a feature-film event with strong ties across the military community. In 2018, Festival Director Tom Papas welcomes mental health advocates Beyond Blue and weapons manufacturer CEA Technolgies into VFF alliances, alongside principal partner RSL National and supporters The Australian Defence Force and The Military Shop.

On Thursday November 1, the 4th annual festival launches in the national capital, Canberra, honouring the 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War with five features that encompass the breadth of experience that our service men and women undertake to ensure our freedoms… 

JOURNEY’S END (Directed by Saul Dibb; Written by R. C. Sherriff and Simon Reade; U.K.; 107 mins) OPENING NIGHT
Plot: March, 1918. C-company arrives in the front-line trenches of northern France led by the war-weary Captain Stanhope (Sam Claflin). A German offensive is imminent, and the officers (Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham, Tom Sturridge) distract themselves in their dugout with talk of their lives back home as Stanhope unable to deal with his dread of the inevitable, soaks his fear in whiskey. A new officer, Raleigh (Asa Butterfield), has just arrived, fresh out of training and abuzz with the excitement of his first real posting.
What the critics say…: “Claflin projects pain and heartbreak, and surgically excises Stanhope’s defenses through the film’s third act…a deeply felt catalogue of the behaviors of men who know they’re about to die.” – Chris Packham, The Village Voice.

TRANSMILITARY (Directed by Gabe Silverman and Fiona Dawson;
Written by Jamie Coughlin and Gabe Silverman; USA; 93 mins)
Plot: Chronicles the lives of four individuals - Senior Airman Logan Ireland, Corporal Laila Villanueva, Captain Jennifer Peace and First Lieutenant El Cook – committed to defending their country’s freedom while also fighting for their own. The four put their careers and livelihoods on the line by coming out as transgender to top brass officials in the Pentagon, determined to attain equal right to serve. The had the ban lifted in 2016, the group now face an administration trying to reinstate it; their futures hang in the balance, again.
What the critics say…: “[A] persuasive plea for tolerance in an arena where, it seems, the most destructive bigotry is coming from outside.” – John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

SPITFIRE (Directed by David Fairhead and Ant Palmer; U.K.; 99 mins)
Plot: Credited with changing the course of world history, this is the story of the Spitfire – told in the words of the last-surviving combat veterans. With stunning aerial footage from the world’s top aviation photographer, the film also contains rare, digitally re-mastered, archive footage from the tumultuous days of the 1940’s when her power in the skies was unrivalled.
What the critics say…: “The film succeeds in making you understand how these young men saved the country from enemy occupation and how desperately close it was…every one tells a fascinating, often gripping, story.” – Angus Wolfe Murray, Eye For Film.

SGT STUBBY: AN UNLIKELY HERO (Directed by Richard Lanni; Written by Ricahrd Lanni and Mike Stokey; USA; 84 mins)
Plot: With the war to end all wars looming, young army upstart Robert Conroy has his life forever changed when a little dog with a stubby tail wanders into camp of the 102nd Infantry Regiment. Soon, Stubby the dog and his human companions find themselves in the trenches of France and on the path to history. Undertaking an epic journey through harsh conditions and incredible acts of courage. For his valorous actions, Stubby is recognized as the first canine ever promoted to the rank of Sergeant in U.S. Army history.
What the critics say…: “This may be the first cartoon in history designed for this particular overlap of audiences: military buffs and the very, very young.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

ANNA’S WAR (Directed by Aleksey Fedorchenko; Written by Aleksey Fedorchenko and Nataliya Meshchaninova; USSR; 74 mins) CLOSING NIGHT
Plot: Soviet Union, 1941: a Jewish girl regains consciousness under a layer of black earth. Anna is six years old and hides herself in the disused fireplace of the Nazi commandant’s office. From there, she views the war and life passing by, with the threat of discovery constant. Her ingenuity, the items left behind by the slowly alternating visitors and the treasures she discovers in the adjacent rooms help her survive.
What the critics say…: “A remarkable central performance from a six-year-old child carries pretty much the entirety of this nail-biting tale of wartime survival. Marta Kozlova is quietly devastating…The child’s eye view brings a fantastical and sometimes bizarre quality to this lean, urgent story of resourcefulness born of desperation.” – Wendy Ide, Screen Daily.

The 2018 VETERANS FILM FESTIVAL screens November 1-3 at Canberra's Capitol Theatre (An Event Cinemas venue). Full festival schedule and tickets can be found at the events official website.

Sunday
Oct212018

PROSPECT, REFLECTIONS IN THE DUST EARN TOP SCIFI FILM FEST HONOURS.

The SciFi Film Festival has named Prospect the 2018 Best Film winner at an informal ceremony on the Closing Night of the 4-day event in Sydney. Set for a November 2 launch in the U.S. but still awaiting a distribution deal in Australia, Christopher Caldwell’s and Zeek Earl’s retro-futuristic thriller/coming-of-age drama also earned the Best Actress trophy for star Sophie Thatcher, the teenage actress headlining her first feature.

Jury member Jonathan Ogilvie, who adjudicated alongside fellow filmmakers Julietta Boscolo and Brian Trenchard-Smith on the three-person festival jury, praised Prospect for the homage it paid to the great westerns of Hollywood’s heyday. “[It is] a tense and involving space film that mines the same vein of greed and betrayal that the earthbound The Treasure of Sierra Madre did so many years ago,” he noted, adding, “Sophie Thatcher is terrific in the lead role.” (Pictured, below; Sophie Thatcher in Prospect)

The Best Actor honour was awarded to Australian character actor Robin Queree for his frightening and fierce performance as ‘The Clown’ in Luke Sullivan’s divisive dystopian drama, Reflections in the Dust, opposite Best Actress nominee Sarah Houbolt. “Wow, this is heavy,” said the actor, referring to the weighty crystal trophy but also clearly surprised and moved by the honour. Addressing his young director, 23 year-old Luke Sullivan, Queree declared, “This all belongs to us. Me, you, Sarah, the cast, everybody was fantastic.”   

Hector Valdez’ blackly-funny time-travel romp Peaches led the Best Music/Sound category, with composer Fran Villalba and sound designer David Mantecón set to share the award. The Best Visual Effects honour, one of the most prized categories at an event celebrating the fantastical, went to U.K. filmmaker Daniel Prince for his short Invaders, a delightfully mischievous spin on ‘alien invasion’ mythology that wore its Spielberg-ian influences proudly on its sleeve. (Pictured, below; Robin Queree, in Reflections in the Dust) 

Tasked with choosing two standouts from the vast short film line-up at the festival, jury members singled out Lebanese filmmaker Fadi Baki Fdz’s steampunk-influenced automaton fable Manivelle: The Last Days of The Man of Tomorrow for the Best International Short. Young Victorian filmmakers Shane Gardam and Xavier Brydges took Best Australian Short for Westall, a recounting of this country’s most well documented yet eternally mysterious UFO encounters. 

In the wake of a particularly strong field of performances by actresses across the 2018 screening schedule, program director Simon Foster created a special Festival Director’s Award for French actress Zoe Garcia for her lead role in Charlotte Cayeux’s short Those Who Can Die. “There were several great acting turns by women in this year’s films, contributions that reflect a strength that has always been central to the best that this genre has to offer,” he said, citing Sarah Houbolt (Reflections in the Dust), Maria Guinea (Peaches) and Kestrel Leah (the short Andromeda) as some of the festival’s other highlights. “Ms Garcia’s performance was one of forceful yet dignified resistance in the face of oppression, which is both timely and timeless,” he said.

The 5th annual celebration of local and international speculative film fiction entertained an enthusiastic and committed audience sector, despite squally Harbour City thunderstorms that kept the inner-city hordes huddled indoors at key moments on the schedule. The Closing Night feature, a retro-themed screening of 1989’s Miracle Mile, was introduced by director Steve de Jarnatt in a spot pre-recorded especially for the event at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, one of the key locations from the film. (Pictured, above; Zoe Garcia from Those Who Can Die)

Saturday
Oct202018

PROSPECT TRIO SET TO SOAR IN WAKE OF SCI-FI SAGA

Variety described Prospect as the film that, “the stand alone ‘Star Wars’ films should feel like.” A vast and thrilling vision of a distant world, populated by rich, fully realized characters, the feature film debut of writer/directors Christopher Caldwell and Zeek Earl is shaping as the American indie discovery of 2018. Much of the buzz is thanks to lead actress Sophie Thatcher, the 17 year-old Chicagoan who brings to life ‘Cee’, a teenager forced to grow up very quickly when marooned and paired with scoundrel Ezra (Narcos star Pedro Pascal). Ahead of the film’s Australian Premiere at the SciFi Film Festival in Sydney, SCREEN-SPACE spoke with the trio via a three-way phone hook-up (Sophie in L.A.; Christopher and Zeek in Seattle) that brought the friends back in touch for the first time since their triumphant World Premiere at SXSW…

SCREEN-SPACE: How did the relationship building start on Prospect? Sophie, when did you first get a sense of what Zeek and Chris were looking for in their protagonist? And guys, what questions about the character of Cee did Sophie answer for you both?

SOPHIE: I met with them via FaceTime, and we discussed at length Cee’s character and her backstory. I was immediately drawn in by her place in the otherworldly aspects of the Prospect universe. It felt full and unique, rich in detail, and Cee’s trajectory through the universe was really interesting. She started off as more reserved and timid and just tagging along with Damon (Jay Duplass), but when she is forced to start a partnership with Ezra she begins to stand up for herself, speak her mind. I admired that very much and took very seriously the positive message that sent out to young girls.

CHRISTOPHER: A lot of what we saw in Sophie came down to a gut feeling about her. This was our first time casting for a feature film and we did a widespread search for the role. It came down to a lot of intangibles, frankly. One of the real challenges of the role is that it’s a fairly quiet role, a lot of her trajectory happens internally and wasn’t exactly all there on the page. Sophie had to bring to life so much of Cee non-verbally. We could sense the chemistry over the course of our interactions until she emerged head-and-shoulders above anyone else for the role. (Pictured, right; co-directors Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell with their SXSW Adam Yauch Award)

ZEEK: And this was a really hard movie to make. Physically arduous, the costumes were uncomfortable, a lot of on-location work. It was 40 solid shooting days during which our lead had to be in every scene essentially, so we also had to find someone who we were convinced could handle that. Turned out Sophie was, like, the most professional person on set.

SOPHIE: Oh, right (laughs). The first week was the most difficult, because we were still trying to figure out how the visors worked, and how the helmets worked. And I was already anxious about this being my first feature film, so those visors, ugh, and not being able to breathe properly (laughs). But that also became an acting tool; once I put that helmet on, I was Cee.

SCREEN-SPACE: Crafting and nurturing the complexity and chemistry of the relationship between Pedro Pascal’s Ezra and Cee is one of the film’s great triumphs. How did that take shape?

SOPHIE: It’s an interesting connection they develop, with Ezra serving as kind of a ‘broken father’ figure who ultimately lets Cee open up and form a strange bond with him. It helped to go through a similar process with Pedro while filming and actually get closer to him. And it worked the other way, too, with Cee’s determination and grit softening Ezra, which happened as Pedro and I worked together over some long days. Pedro and I really connected, from the very first time we spoke, because he’s such a warm person in general. (Pictured, above; Pedro Pascal as Ezra)

CHRISTOPHER: All credit to the actors as far as chemistry is concerned. It is something that came together so much better than even we imagined. Ezra is such a different character to Cee, it is a very odd paring on paper so the chemistry came out of the nuances that Pedro and Sophie brought to the table.

SCREEN-SPACE: A lot of press coverage for the film is focussing in on its roots in the classic American western narrative. What came first – your love of sci-fi or your love of westerns?

ZEEK: Honestly, it’s a hand-in-hand thing. The aesthetic was always very sci-fi, the two of us having grown up on Star Wars and Alien and Blade Runner, and we always wanted to make a world that was a little more gritty and retro-futuristic in that way. Thematically, though, the starting point was in a western kind of headspace. It is a low budget film and we designed it knowing much of the shoot would be out on location in a rainforest and much of it was conceived from the perspective of what you can do with a small group of actors in a frontier environment. And those types of stories naturally go very ‘western’. (Pictured, above; Pedro Pascal as Ezra, and Sophie Thatcher as Cee.)

CHRISTOPHER: What we were setting out to do was this very particular ‘frontier sci-fi’ and the western flavour emerged from that. When you have these blue-collar types, risking their lives to make a living out in the wilderness, the western tonal influence was inevitable.

SCREEN-SPACE: Roles such as ‘Cee’ are few and far between for young actresses. Hailee Steinfeld in The Coen’s True Grit or Natalie Portman in Luc Beeson’s The Professional come to mind, but there are not a lot of examples from which you can draw comparisons or inspiration… 

SOPHIE: Well, both of those parts were absolutely great inspirations. Also, the independence that Jennifer Lawrence displayed in Winter’s Bone inspired me. But, you’re right, there aren’t that many roles out there other than the ones you named, which were perfect.

CHRISTOPHER: I remembered we talked about some of the Miyazaki protagonists as well…

SOPHIE: Yes!

CHRISTOPHER: …from Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, which have these strong female lead characters. I don’t think there was ever really a direct reference, but I grew up on those movies and there is definitely something of their DNA ingrained into Prospect. I think tonally they are probably closer than True Grit or The Professional, although we certainly did draw on those as well.

SCREEN-SPACE: Your film’s other great asset is the intricacy of the world-building. Who had the experience to help pull of this degree of conceptualising?

ZEEK: Well, no one in the film had the correct background for doing this kind of thing (laughs). We had been running a commercial production company in Seattle for a few years and got to know a lot of people who knew how to do those things, so we formed a sort of art collective. The guy who built the spaceship came from a background building bikes, and we had friends with experience in home carpentry who helped out. We had an ex-Boeing engineer, and a guy who wanted to get out of the firearms industry come design and build our fake guns. We had the budget of a small, indie horror movie and we wanted to create a huge Star Wars-like universe. We didn’t have the option of going through the conventional industry channels, so we made our own production design shop. It was funny when producers who had a lot more experience would show up on our set, they were blown away by how much more detail there was than on other, bigger sets. I’m guessing a lot of that grew out of our amateurism, where we thought, ‘Well, we don’t know what’s going to be on camera so lets just make everything!’ (laughs) But that made for a totally immersive experience for everyone, I guess, which must have helped. (Pictured, above; Sophie Thatcher, as Cee)

CHRISTOPHER: We wanted to have a very utilitarian look for everything. This piecemeal production design team really complimented that aesthetic intention, in that it wasn’t industry types coming with a lot of experience making props, but it was industrial designers and graphic designers coming from experience making functional products who were open to left-field ideas.

PROSPECT will have its AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE at the SciFi Film Festival at Event Cinemas George St Sydney on October 20 at 6.00pm. Full ticket and session details here.

Saturday
Oct132018

★: THE JOHANN LURF INTERVIEW

Johann Lurf stands alongside such auteurs as Guy Maddin, György Pálfi and Christian Marclay as one the world’s great cinematic ‘constructuralists’; filmmakers that build monumental montage movies, reconfiguring frames from hours of other artist’s footage into new and beautiful film visions. His latest is ★, a breathtaking collage of night skies, galaxies and deep-space starfields sourced from over 550 films, dating from the silent film era until mid-2018. “Your audience is getting 115 years of cinematic history in 95 minutes, which should not seem daunting at all,” jokes the Viennese filmmaker, who spoke to SCREEN-SPACE from Munich ahead of his film’s Australian Premiere at the Opening Night of Sydney’s SciFi Film Festival

SCREEN-SPACE: How do you define the artistry of the great cinema montage? It is a good period for the constructuralist movement, with films like Guy Maddin’s The Green Fog (2017) and György Pálfi’s Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen (2012) finding festival exposure and critical acclaim. Where does the power lie in a good montage film?

Lurf: It lies in its complexity. There are many different aspects that you can highlight with a simple idea, with the concept of pieces or segments of films pieced together. In the case of The ★ Film, it is an easy to explain concept, but then it opens up and there are many aspects that you have to compare. There are the visual layers, then the fantasy and the romanticism of the single clips, but then the audio provides more historical contextualization. You can also begin to see how the stars were being used by the mechanics of cinema and what they are representing. The great montage film makes us focus not only on a specific  element or theme, but also helps us understand a ‘meta-layer’, something that we as a society or as humans have in common.  Like Christian Marclay’s The Clock (2010), which is clearly not just about a clock but is about us, the human race.

SCREEN-SPACE: ★ has no narrative structure and no traditional human connection on-screen, yet it is an engaging, often very emotional film-watching experience. What is your theory of why it has connected with audiences so universally?

Lurf: When you see an image or hear a sound, it takes you only a split-second to interpret it. When we are immersed and engaged by a film, we do that for every second of the experience. We understand which emotion the character is experiencing, regardless of whether they are a man or woman or kid or Japanese or whatever, when they experiencing something sad or profound or adoring, we share that. Our senses are so acutely trained to read images, sound, language, it is impossible to escape being influenced. The machine of cinema we are sitting in is perfectly designed to affect our senses, so the basis for an emotional connection is already there. And then you have the range of images in the film, the language and the music, which build upon that.

SCREEN-SPACE: The vastness of space and the confines of a cinema are both essentially deep, dark voids illuminated by millions of points of light. Your film bridges those voids, it’s fair to say…

Lurf: I’ve never heard it described in such a great way as you’ve described it just now (laughs). I definitely see them as very much connected. The predecessor of cinema is the night sky itself; for the many thousands of years that humans have been looking at the night sky, they have been looking at a very similar image as modern audiences do with cinema. It is a three-dimensional space represented in a two-dimensional way, like how a picture is recorded by a camera. The night sky is moving, but you can’t see it moving, so you have this contradiction, whereas cinema is the other way around – frames, moments captured in time, that are still images but that appear to be moving. But we can look at both and contemplate what we see and what they mean to us. Another similarity is that you look into many different pasts when you look into the night sky – some of the stars are already dead, others are still shining. Staring at the stars is like entering a warped sense of time, pasts that we are able observe, and cinema can do that as well.

SCREEN-SPACE: You set yourself and adhere to very strict artistic guidelines in ★…

Lurf: The work I’ve done before – my shorts, the found-footage or researched-footage films – I utilize the ‘hard cut’ because it is an intervention that is clearly the artist’s choice, or my choice. At the same time, it doesn’t modify the source the material, meaning I don’t have to remove something from the image or slow down the footage or anything like that. I merely accentuate through editing, which for me is the most respectful way to use other artist’s work. It is a hard intrusion into the original work, but it can only be read as my act of selecting and cutting. The material should speak by itself, without me being too didactic or offering too much commentary, because I always love to have my audience interpret, or misinterpret, what they see. Misinterpretation is an impressive creative moment, because it means you have to ask yourself, ‘What am I not understanding here?’ It forces you to re-engage, to get closer to the work. I think those moments are the most inspiring that you can have in a cinema.

SCREEN-SPACE: You have cited the starscape in Roberto Rossellini’s Stromboli as the starting point for your fascination with the cinematic night sky. Is their a starfield in your film that you recall as being the most beautiful, perhaps your favourite?

Lurf: Actually, I try not to think in terms of what is ‘the best’ or apply some kind of superlative. In fact, I love more than 90% of the starry nights in the film and I don’t want to compare them to each other; they are so different to one another, it is impossible to judge whether any one is better or worse. Some have fantastic audio, or one looks great, or one might create a floating sensation.

SCREEN-SPACE: Are you dodging the question because your favourite is, in fact, 'Dude Where’s My Car?'

Lurf: (Laughs) No, I’m dodging the question for conceptual reasons. To pick one or two or a Top Ten out of the film would be to assign other clips a lesser quality, which I can’t do.

SCREEN-SPACE: Did you foresee the film travelling as extensively as it has?

Lurf: I had no idea how people would react to this film, so that they are reacting at all and with such enthusiasm is very pleasing. I’m so sorry I couldn’t be in Sydney for the screening; I’ve just come from Ireland, and today I’m in Munich, and next week I’m in Norway and then I’ve two screenings in Spain, then back to Italy. It has been quite crazy what is happening with the film and it makes it me very happy.

Johann Lurf's ★ opens the SciFi Film Festival on Thursday October 18 at Event Cinemas George Street. Ticket and sessions details here.

Johann Lurf ★ Trailer from Johann Lurf on Vimeo.

 

 

Thursday
Sep062018

PREVIEW: 2018 SCIFI FILM FESTIVAL

Tickets available from the Event Cinemas George Street box office and online here

Australia’s leading celebration of science-fiction cinema, the SciFi Film Festival, has a wondrous line-up of breathtaking works from the planet’s most visionary filmmakers as part of their fifth anniversary edition.

From 18th to 21st October, Sydney audiences seeking an adventurous movie-going experience will converge on the Event Cinemas George St complex to view 25 groundbreaking genre works from 11 countries, including two world premieres, 18 Australian premieres and 3 New South Wales premieres. (Pictured, above; Dan Prince's short Invaders) 

Nine features and 16 short films will play across the four days of the SciFi Film Festival. Countries represented include Australia (6 films), the United Kingdom (5), the U.S.A. (4), Germany (2), Canada (2), Hong Kong (1), France (1), The Netherlands (1), Lebanon (1), Austria (1) and the Dominican Republic (1).   

Opening Night audiences will be treated to a thrilling, unique cinematic experience with the Australian premiere of Johann Lurf’s ★ (pictured, right). This towering achievement examines how the night sky and the deep void that lies beyond, has been portrayed on screen in 100 years of cinema. The Austrian ‘constructuralist’ has compiled starscapes from over 550 films, from the silent era to 2018, resulting in a captivating work of the imagination; a montage-doc that celebrates humanity’s drive to explore the galaxy and how filmmakers have conjured that experience for us all.

Screening on Friday October 19 are films that will explore the ‘alien’ sub-genre. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of her iconic TV show ‘The X-Files’, Gillian Anderson will re-engage with her loyal fanbase with the Australian premiere of the conspiracy-theory thriller, UFO. Close out your Friday evening of extra-terrestrial interaction with CANARIES, a ‘Shaun-of-the-Dead’-style comedy/sci-fi romp in which Welsh New Year’s Eve partygoers must face off against an invading intergalactic force.

Across the weekend, the eclectic program will present films that have played such festivals as Karlovy Vary, FrightFest, Sitges and Sundance: Direct from its award-winning World Premiere at SXSW, PROSPECT stars the remarkable Sophie Thatcher in an interplanetary survival thriller; Dominican director Héctor Valdez remakes the Australian time-travel/rom-com ‘The Infinite Man’ as the delightfully off-kilter romp PEACHES; and, the rise of A.I. and the impact of sentient robotics is explored in the quietly-frightening documentary, MORE HUMAN THAN HUMAN.

Two Australian features are highlights of the 2018 features roster. Director Adam Harris will present his heart-warming ‘Star Wars’-themed documentary, MY SAGA, followed by a Q&A session with his friend and co-host of SBS’s ‘The Feed’ program, Marc Fennell; and, direct from its World Premiere at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, the confronting dramatic feature REFLECTIONS IN THE DUST (pictured, right) will be presented by writer/director Luke Sullivan for a session that is sure to inspire a passionate post-screening panel discussion, to be hosted by Fiona Williams, host of the hit podcast Eyes on Gilead and managing editor of SBS Movies.

Closing Night will be a celebration of ‘80s nuclear paranoia, with final-session honours bestowed upon the cult classic MIRACLE MILE. Writer/director Steve De Jarnatt’s 1989 romantic thriller, starring Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham and featuring a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream, will see the inside of a Sydney cinema for the first time in three decades. Ahead of the feature presentation, director Johann Earl will screen the World Premiere of his alien warzone actioner SHIFT, starring Bianca Bradey (‘Wyrmwood: Road of The Dead’).

Soaring visions and complex themes are central to the 2018 short films selection. The 16 shorts feature a selection of truly inspired cinematic works from such fields as animation (Alex Fung’s EKO); steampunk-influenced animatronics (Fadi Baki Fdz’s MANIVELLE: THE LAST DAYS OF THE MAN OF TOMORROW); music video aesthetics (Marc Adamson’s AFTER WE HAVE LEFT OUR HOMES); experimental (Xavier Brydges’ WESTALL); and, effects-heavy deep-space drama (Bobby Bala’s THE SHIPMENT). One of Australia’s most respected film journalists, Travis Johnson, will host a Q&A with attending directors on the passion for genre storytelling that drives their short film projects.

All features will be in Official Competition for festival honours in the categories Best Film, Actor, Actress, Music/Sound and Effects. Short films will vie for awards in Best Australian and Best International categories. The Jury Members will be announced closer to the festival dates.

The Sci-Fi Film Festival supports positive gender representation in its 2018 selection; 16 of the 25 productions (or 64%) feature a woman in one of the four key production positions. Five female directors have their works represented in the program - JESSICA CHAMPNEYS (‘Star Wars: Dresca’, US); SOPHIA SCHONBORN (‘Spacedogs’, Germany), KAT WOOD (‘Stine’, U.K.), FEMKE WOLTING (co-director, ‘More Human Than Human’, The Netherlands) and EMILY LIMYUN DEAN (‘Andromeda’, Australia/U.S./Germany; pictured, above).

Making its debut in 2018 is The SciFi Film Festival Vanguard Award, presented to an individual whose unique creative endeavours display a determination and fearlessness in the face of adversity. The inaugural honouree will be 2000 Sydney Paralympian-turned-actress, Sarah Houbolt, star of REFLECTIONS IN THE DUST.

SCREEN-SPACE is an Official Media Partner of the 2018 SciFi Film Festival.

(A RE-POST OF THE PROGRAM ANNOUNCEMENT PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY SCIFI FILM FESTIVAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR AND SCREEN-SPACE EDITOR, SIMON FOSTER)