THE PHILIP K. DICK SCIENCE FICTION FILM FESTIVAL RETURNS FOR LIVE AND VIRTUAL SCREENINGS IN SEPTEMBER
Ninth Annual Event To Showcase Films Representing the Visionary Universe of Philip K. Dick
Festival Continues Sci-Fi and Supernatural Screenplay Competition, Introduces Graphic Novel Category
The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival, a celebrated gathering that spotlights the literary genius of its namesake, returns in full force for its ninth annual season. Events include film screenings, post-film discussions, virtual reality, and screenplay and graphic novel competitions. As a platform for exploring the evolution of science and technology, the festival showcases a variety of themes associated with independent storytelling. Featuring 120 official selections, the festival will be held in-person on Friday, September 17th and Saturday, September 18th and will stream virtually on Sunday, September 19th. Passes are available at https://www.thephilipkdickfilmfestival.com.
With theaters safely opened for screenings, the live portion of the festival will run exclusively at the Producers Club Theaters in Midtown Manhattan. “There is nothing like the thrill of a live festival,” said Daniel Abella, the founder and director of the event. “Our city has always been a beacon of life with a high concentration on art and film, and we are excited to once again be here in-person. We believe the festival will offer a ray of hope for those seeking inspiration out of the darkness we’ve all been through, because there is no better way to achieve that than viewing the extraordinary work of filmmakers who explore science fiction through the prism of their cultures and beliefs. This festival is a testament to their contributions and to the support of our wonderful audience.”
This year’s lineup consists of 6 features, 95 shorts, 16 screenplay and graphic novel entries, 3 virtual reality demonstrations, and spans 21 countries. The opening night film will be the World Premiere of Noah Mucci’s Lunamancer about a scientist, armed with only his faith and a crowbar, who enters battle with an otherworldly entity for the soul of his sister. Other highlights on September 17th include the short film DAWN directed by Nona Catusanu, Katherine Castro, and Liza Gipsova about a woman living in the waning days of a post-apocalyptic world, and Samuel Krebs’ The Whooper Returns, a feature film that blends horror with costume performance art when estranged siblings must defend their haunted childhood home from a sinister band of cosplayers. Alongside a slate of interactive VR, The Last Starship from renowned producer Eric Haywood about a group of survivors who must relocate to a new world, and Between Waves from Virginia Abramovich about a woman who searches for her missing lover through parallel dimensions, will both bow on September 18th. Then, Martin Guigui’s The Unhealer will serve as the closing night presentation. The feature follows a bullied teen who exacts revenge against his tormentors by using his powers to reverse any attempted physical harm onto his aggressors. Titles on September 19th include Franz, an animated short from Tom Geibel-Lane about the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, Carlo Ballauri’s The Recycling Man which depicts a boy immobilized in a wheelchair who spies on his neighbors from across a courtyard, and No One’s Listening, a timely film directed by Juan Carlos Castaneda about two dark-skinned immigrants whose execution by a gang of white countrymen is intervened by a ghostly deaf woman with supernatural powers. The experimental documentary Origin of the Species by Abigail Child will explore the realities of android development, while Naeri Do’s TRANS about a girl who conducts an electrical baptism to become a transhuman, will close out the virtual event.
Citing PKD’s foresight of world events, many official selections reflect the ongoing circumstances of COVID-19. “There is no doubt that we entered the PKD universe with the pandemic,” said Abella. “A number of films have either anticipated the pandemic or show its consequences. What makes our festival so unique is that we’ve always looked for films that served as warnings, which is exactly what much of PKD’s work is about. As opposed to other sci-fi writers whose stories usually take place in the far future, PKD focused on the near future. He embraced vigilance and critical thinking and offered us ways to resolve our dilemmas.” The September 18th screening of PROJECT-19 directed by Randy Scott Slavin, is among several films that drew inspiration from the global crisis. That film about a six-year-old engineering genius made use of its confined surroundings as it was filmed at the height of quarantine with the participation of the director’s family. On September 19th, the festival will present Lockdown: The Doctor Who Fans’ Survival Guide directed by Roger Christopher Stevens and hosted by Sophie Aldred, which shows the uniquely personal videos of fans of the popular BBC series and how they coped during the many months of isolation. Then, a character in Russ Emanuel’s Routine shakes up her monotonous lifestyle during quarantine when she runs out of coffee and will do anything to get her hands on another cup, while Sara Caldwell and Walter Gorey’s Glitch explores the chilling ramifications of a single mother’s new assignment while working from home.
For the second year in a row, the festival will hold its science fiction, supernatural, and sci-fi prototyping screenplay competition. “We are looking at scripts that focus on the nuts and bolts of creating an entire sci-fi world,” said Abella, who wants to show festival-goers the precision and accuracy necessary to the craft of screenwriting. “Rather than just prioritizing high concept premises, each of these screenplays deal with originality, characterization, and psychological dimensions on a more granular scale. It is important to note that when telling a good story, the smallest of details truly do matter.” In addition, the festival will introduce a graphic novel category and allow fans to experience even more exceptional narrative styles. “Graphic novels are at the intersection of multiple skills because they include storytelling, illustration, and design,” he said. “As a great starting point to show one’s work, we hope that this medium encourages more writers to become involved in the filmmaking process.”
As life continues to be as unpredictable as ever, the festival remains committed to showcasing various forms of media that emphasize the importance of sci-fi and its lessons for humanity. “Our most challenging moments can be our most fertile as well,” said Abella. “We have come face-to-face with the most basic human conditions and through our shared experiences, the time has come to grow and rebuild our community to be as strong as it has ever been.”
Full Schedule and passes to live and virtual screenings are available at https://www.thephilipkdickfilmfestival.com.
About The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival:
“The core of my writing is not art but truth.” – Philip K. Dick
The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival launched in 2012 as New York City’s first and only festival of its kind. The festival honors the enduring legacy of novelist Philip K. Dick, whose enormously effective works composed of fictional universes, virtual realities, technological uprising, dystopian worlds and human mutation served as a significant observation of the current state of society. Organized by individuals and filmmakers who understand the difficulties and challenges of presenting unique narratives in a corporate environment, the festival embraces original concepts and alternative approaches to storytelling in the form of independent science fiction, horror, supernatural, fantasy and metaphysical films. Since 2013, the festival has held additional gatherings in France, Germany, Poland, Rotterdam, and Los Angeles.
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