Other Worlds Austin, Austin’s first and only festival dedicated to SciFi filmmaking, is kicking off its second annual affair with the US premiere of the brilliant thriller, BOY 7. And OWA will close the three day festival by announcing the winner of the inaugural Mary Shelley Award for SciFi Filmmaking.
Directed by Özgür Yildirim, BOY 7 takes David Kross (THE READER, COMPANIONS) and Emilia Schüle (NAUGHTY GIRL, FATHERHOOD) on a wild ride through a dystopian world that is suspenseful, surprising, and visually exceptional.
BOY 7 arrives at Other Worlds Austin after an interesting history. This BOY 7 is the German language adaptation of a popular Young Adult novel, the same novel that also inspired the Dutch film (also called BOY 7) that premiered internationally last year. "Both films are great," says Bears Fonté, OWA Founder and Director of Programming, "but I fell in love with Özgür Yildirim's film when I saw it at Fantasia. It’s an adrenaline ride from start to finish, sort of like a SciFi RUN LOLA RUN. The style, the pacing, the emotional chemistry between the leads, they feel visceral and grounded despite being in a very slick, authoritarian world."
A young man (Sam) wakes up in the middle of the night on the tracks of a subway tunnel. He can’t remember his name or how he got there. When he sees himself on a wanted picture, he realizes that his life is in extreme danger. There is not much time to think, his pursuers are hot on his heels. Unexpectedly, he finds a diary, written in his own handwriting and it seems to be the key to everything. Finally, when a young woman (Lara) appears, who has the same burn as him on her left hand, a dangerous journey into the past begins. With each new revelation the puzzle pieces reveal an epic conspiracy taking place amongst the highest social circles…
BOY 7 mixes different genres – it has the elements of thriller, science fiction and a coming-of-age story, which is an exciting combination. “Since the story is a futuristic one, I had the freedom to easily exaggerate representations our world without it becoming unbelievable,” says Yildirim. “The scenario offers plenty of space for a suitably complex imagery, unusual angles and lively, fast-paced camera work.”
For Yildirim, who was also instrumental in the development of the script, it was important to put the characters in the foreground: "BOY 7 is a dystopia, which should mean that the viewer is able to identify with it better. It was natural for me to look at Sam's story from a different perspective and even more to deal with the individual figures."
Like Hollywood YA adaptations such as DIVERGENT, these are characters right at the turning point of their life, using their own abilities to enter the next phase of their life. However, in BOY 7 the world is not that far off from the one we are living in. “You always hear about the government cutting deals with hackers and turning them on to the ‘good’ side for a while,” says Fonte. “The only difference in BOY 7 is that its sort of unclear which side is good. This is not a post-apocalyptic world on the verge of falling apart; this is just a well-run government agency somewhere where the government might have a little too much power, and where the criminals might be a little more impressionable. David Kross, who plays Sam, is a hero for the next wave of hackers."
The lead, David Kross, is a coveted young German actor, as is Emily Schüle. The film also stars Liv Lisa Fries (AND TOMORROW AT NOON I’M DEAD), Ben Münchow (ROCK IT!), Jens Harzer (SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT), Jörg Hartmann (TATORT) and introduces the popular German YouTube comedian Buddy Ogün.
After his highly acclaimed gangster film CHIKO (German Film Award 2009 Best Screenplay and Best Editing) as well as his successful musical comedy BLUTZBRUDAZ, Özgür Yildirim proves with his third film that he is indeed a master of the German genre film. BOY 7 is a co-production of Hamster Film (SPUTNIK) and Hands-On Producers (RUSH – EVERYTHING FOR THE VICTORY).
The Mary Shelley Award
Other Worlds Austin supports and encourages diversity in the film industry through programming content that embraces inclusiveness. From its very start, OWA has always had an equal number of female programmers as male programmers selecting the slate for the festival. As part as its continuing effort to discover and celebrate female voices working in the genre field, we are proud to announce a new award for this year’s festival – the Mary Shelley Award, awarded to the best film that furthers the involvement and representation of women in the SciFi genre. This award is sponsored by Canine Productions, producers of award winning indie shorts, music videos and documentaries.
Canine Productions is thrilled to sponsor the OWA Mary Shelly Award. “Filmmakers, like all artists, thrive when they are recognized and encouraged,” says Producer Ilona Rossman Ho. “We hope this award inspires women to continue to create worlds, imagine characters and share their vision. I want my children to see strong female protagonists as the norm not the exception.”
Science fiction is a full of creativity and imagination, yet often lacking women both onscreen and behind the camera. A diversity gap study conducted in 2014 by writers Lee and Low of SciFi and Fantasy films in yearly and multi-year samplings indicated that only 12% of protagonists are women. This statistic isn’t surprising as it mirrors the Hollywood trend in general.
The Mary Shelley Award is named for the author of “Frankenstein.” the original SciFi novel – a work that examines the human condition and the positive and dangerous possibilities of science. The award will grant $500 to one film, either a short or a feature, already selected to play the Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival, December 3-5, 2015.
To qualify, the films must either:
* Be written and/or directed by a female, or
* Feature complex female protagonists driving the narrative and leading the action.
The award will be given to the female writer or director, or the actress in protagonist role. Nominees from this year’s programming will be identified by the OWA programming team, and the winner will be determined by a special jury of female film industry professionals.
This year’s jury will be:
* Marjorie Baumgarten, Film Critic and Senior Editor at the Austin Chronicle, and member of the Association of Women Film Journalists.
* Kristy Breneman, Creative Director and Programmer for the Atlanta Film Festival, one of the largest and longest-running festivals in the country.
* Mynette Louie, Independent Spirit Award-Winning Producer and President at Gamechanger Films, the first for-profit film fund dedicated exclusively to financing narrative features directed by women.
Nominees will be announced with the initial program in early November, with the winner announced on December 5th at the festival’s close. “The future is bright,” says OWA Executive Director Bears Fonté, “with films like Jennifer Phang’s thought-provoking ADVANTAGEOUS and Sarah Adina Smith’s evocative THE MIDNIGHT SWIM finding success on the festival circuit. But anything we can do to focus the lens on these films and filmmakers is energy well spent to encourage women to work in the genre arena. And no one will argue when I remind that Sarah Connor is infinitely more interesting than Luke Skywalker as a character. She kicks ass and still manages to be a mother and a lover. I want to see SciFi reflect the values and issues we have in our society, and for that to really happen, we need more films written, directed and starring women. I am proud that Other Worlds Austin can help make that happen.”
About Canine Productions
Award winning indie shorts, music videos and documentaries. We're enthusiastic about making a difference in how women and girls are portrayed in media. We actively support women in front of and behind the camera and the men who collaborate with them. Canine Productions is located in Seattle – home to outstanding indie filmmakers.
About Other Worlds Austin
Other Worlds Austin is dedicated to bringing the best of SciFi to Austin, Texas. The festival programming team looks past budgets or the Hollywood push to find great stories and give them an Austin premiere. In addition to its year ‘round programming, the 2nd Annual Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival takes place December 3-5, 2015 at the Galaxy Highland 10. For more information, go to OtherWorldsAustin.com