OTHER WORLDS AUSTIN debuted its laurels this week, featuring a frightening multi-tentacled Cthulhu wrapping its appendages around the name of the first-year festival. Cthulhu, a ‘most likely’ fictional deity, first appeared in the stories of noted Science Fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft in 1928. A squid-faced mass of tentacles with rubbery skin and rudimentary wings, Cthulhu emerges from hibernation from an underwater city and, according to Other Worlds Austin founder and director of programming, Bears Fonté, will give his opinion on submissions to the fledgling festival. The laurel features the branding ‘Cthulhu Like’ instead of the typical ‘Official Selection’ of other festivals. “There is nothing official at all about Cthulhu,” says Fonté, “every conversation feels like it might be my last... like ever on Earth.” Although other festival programmers will be filling out score sheets on entries, Cthulhu may be allowed to circumvent the standard process. “I’m not sure he can hold a pen in his tentacles,” admits Fonté, “so we’ll just be throwing on a film and seeing whether it causes the Ancient One to unleash destruction on the surrounding landscape.” Fonté did not specify whether such destruction would be considered a positive or negative endorsement of the film.
All film selected to screen at the brand new festival will be given the ‘Cthulhu Like’ Laurels. Laurels are commonly collected by filmmakers as their films criss-cross the festival circuit, and Fonté hopes the Cthulhu-inspired laurel will be a distinctive addition to filmmakers’ posters and websites. “If there is anything Cthulhu understands, it’s branding,” acknowledges Fonté, referencing the hundreds of works of fiction, art, and film and television inspired by Lovecraft’s creation, “well, branding and mass genocide.”
Submissions for the inaugural festival are currently open, priced $30 for shorts and $40 for features until August 1st. Wristbands for December 4-6, 2014 festival go on sale on a secret day in late July and will be $35 for a limited time. Interested film lovers can sign up for the interest list to be notified first at www.otherworldsaustin.com. No word yet on whether Cthulhu will be making an appearance to personally present the audience award to a terrified filmmaker.