Other Worlds Austin Presents UNCANNY, a Texas Premiere
AUSTIN, TX -- As part of its year ‘round programming, Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival is excited to announce the Texas premiere of UNCANNY on October 14 (9:00PM) at Flix Brewhouse. Director Matthew Leutwyler will be in attendance and will do a Q&A after the screening.
In UNCANNY, the world's first fully-realized Artificial Intelligence exhibits startling and unnerving emergent behavior when the woman reporting on it begins a relationship with its creator. A love triangle between man, woman and machine threatens to undo years of scientific progress.
The film stars Mark Webber (SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD), Lucy Griffiths (TRUE BLOOD), David Clayton Rogers (BLOODY SUNDAY), and Rainn Wilson (THE OFFICE).
David Kressen, MIT graduate at age 19, has not been seen publicly since taking an impossible offer from billionaire CEO Simon Castle. At Kestrel Computing, David has been working unchecked for ten years on his ultimate creation: Adam, an artificial intelligence indistinguishable from an actual human being.
Given a week of exclusive access, Joy Andrews, a former scientist turned reporter, conducts a series of interviews about Adam and his creator. Initially only curious about the robot, the relationship takes a peculiar turn when Joy’s interest in David causes what can only be described as jealously in Adam. As the two ‘men’ fight over her attentions and affections, Adam begins exhibiting unnerving emergent behavior impossible to program.
“At its core it’s a story that questions what it means to be human,” says director Matthew Leutwyler. “Of course the complexities of that question reveal that it’s not really a single question but more of a multi-part. What is unique to humanity now? What will be unique to humanity in the future? Can science provide the answer?”
Uncanny raises questions about technology and its effect on the human condition. Leutwyler wonders, “Is this technological advancement that we are experiencing the next step in evolution? Since we have basically become, at a biological level, evolutionarily stagnant, is this technological advancement really just the next step in human evolution? And if that is true then how will our biological selves merge with our new technological selves?”
One of the most recognizable faces in the film is The Office’s resident know-it-all Rainn Wilson, here knowing-it-all at a much more frightening level. “I think in our film, Rainn Wilson’s character feels more like (Ray) Kurzweil in this sense,” continues Leutwyler. “That this merging is a good thing. That there is a real possibility of human immortality in the next few decades if we keep pushing to find the answers.”
Morality, or lack of morality, also plays a major role in the film. Says Leutwyler, “The characters are all interested in pushing tech to its limits. I don’t think any of them thinks that it’s science’s place to question the morality or the dangers of where it is trying to get us to. That’s for someone else to worry about, to legislate.”
“Adam, David, and even Joy are pretty hardcore,” Leutwyler continues. “They’re constantly in pursuit of empirical truth without concern for the consequences. Of course in the end of their journey there might be some regret, some concern about where this might be headed. I mean, even if all these technological advancements can be considered the next step in our evolution, we have to remember that evolution will always have anomalies and that bad things can grow from it.”
Some of these issues played out on the big screen this year with EX MACHINA, but UNCANNY is a much different story. Although, the fact that there are two films arriving the same year about this topic should prove how important this matter is. “I think it’s really interesting to deal with issues like these that are so enormous in a film that is as intimate as UNCANNY,” says Leutwyler. “Uncanny is this seemingly still film but it’s actually methodically reeling in the audience before everything sort of falls off the cliff. You know something is going to go down from the first minute Joy shows up but you just don’t have any idea what it is. That’s really what I liked so much about the script.”
Leutwyler is also curious, as the film finds its audience, how older and younger people’s feelings will differ about it. “My sense is that younger people are less scared of tech. They like being wired and using tech to help them accomplish so much, to be the best, most effective person they can be. Older people are more hesitant, skeptical to give over tasks that they have done for their entire lives to a machine.”
Interviews and screener available upon request.
“Written with sharp brilliance and performed with perfect nuance…a dead-eyed, voyeuristic glare into a future where technological advance is driven by the very worst kind of masculine imperatives.” – Sight & Sound Magazine
“UNCANNY is the kind of movie you want to talk about afterward. A rare breed of thoughtful, independent science fiction.” – Ain’t-It-Cool-News
“Leutwyler exhibits a good grasp of the material’s possibilities… enhanced by (his) nuanced editing.” – Hollywood Reporter
“Thought Provoking.” – Sci-Fi Magazine
The subject of a major TV network news magazine story, actor Mark Webber was raised by his single mother in the slums of North Philadelphia, where they spent a great deal of time homeless, living in cars and abandoned buildings, and struggling to survive during the harsh winters. Mark and his mother have been outspoken homeless advocates for many years and continue to be, walking in protests, helping to educate voters, and volunteering to help provide food and shelter to the urban poor in Philadelphia and elsewhere.
Webber began his acting career in 1998. He favors "offbeat independent productions and challenging roles that involve intense characterization.”
He has starred in over 30 films including Edgar Wright's comedy SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, Daniel Stamm’s 13 SINS, and Lynn Shelton’s 2014 Sundance hit LAGGIES. Webber has also enjoyed success behind the camera, directing THE END OF LOVE (Sundance2011) and THE EVER AFTER.
Lucy Griffiths was born in Brighton. Griffiths was educated at Roedean School, Windlesham House School, Dorothy Stringer High School and Varndean College. She is a former member of the National Youth Music Theatre. She first appeared on television in SEA OF SOULS and then SUGAR RUSH, and on stage in THE WHITE DEVIL. She was most famous for her role as Marian in the BBC drama ROBIN HOOD and Ruth in the TV series THE LITTLE HOUSE. Her most recent notable performance was her role as Eric Northman's “sister”, Nora, in the HBO series TRUE BLOOD. She has since gone on to work in Akiva Goldsman’s WINTER’S TALE and William Dickerson’s thriller DON’T LOOK BACK. She will next be seen in the AMC series PREACHER, produced by Seth Rogan.
David Clayton Rogers
David Clayton Rogers was born on October 21, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He is an actor and writer, known for BLOODY SUNDAY (2002), DARK RIDE (2006) and REVENGE OF THE BRIDESMAIDS (2010). Most recently he has recurred on the series NASHVILLE and MIXOLOGY. David has been married to actress Sally Pressman since September 17, 2011. They have one child.
Rainn Wilson lives in Los Angeles with his wife, fiction writer Holiday Reinhorn (Big Cats), and his son, Walter McKenzie Wilson who was born in 2004. He grew up in Seattle, Washington but graduated from New Trier H.S. in Winnetka, Illinois. After attending both Tufts University and the University of Washington, Rainn studied acting at NYU's graduate acting program and spent years doing theater both on and off-Broadway. Rainn is best known for his role as Dwight on the NBC comedy THE OFFICE. He has also appeared in the smash hit JUNO, MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND, HBO’s SIX FEET UNDER, THE ROCKER, TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, the Sundance hit HESHER, and James Gunn’s SUPER. Wilson can currently be seen in the horror-comedy COOTIES.
Matthew Leutwyler, Director
After studying film at The San Francisco Art Institute, Leutwyler wrote and directed the cult-comedy/horror/musical DEAD AND BREAKFAST (SXSW 2004), starring Jeremy Sisto, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and David Carradine. The film went on to win over a dozen audience and best feature film awards around the world and was nominated for a Saturn Award. Since then he has produced or exec produced THE OH IN OHIO starring Parker Posey and Paul Rudd; LOWER LEARNING with Eva Longoria, Jason Biggs, and Rob Corddry; AGAINST THE CURRENT with Joseph Fiennes, Mary Tyler Moore and Justin Kirk (Sundance 2009); the Matthew Broderick and Sanaa Lathan drama WONDERFUL WORLD (Tribeca 2010); and EVERY DAY, starring Helen Hunt, and Liev Schreiber (Tribeca 2011).
In the past few years, Leutwyler directed the adaptation of the acclaimed novel THE RIVER WHY (Mill Valley 2010) starring William Hurt, Zach Gilford, and Amber Heard. He also exec produced SUPER (Toronto 2012) starring Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page;; the 3D horror comedy HELLBENDERS and the comedy-drama THE GIRL MOST LIKELY, starring Kristen Wiig and Annette Benning (Toronto 2011). Additionally, he wrote and directed the ensemble drama ANSWERS TO NOTHING starring Dane Cook, Barbara Hershey, and Julie Benz.
Currently, he is developing DARK WATERS, a thriller set against the world of Nigerian oil piracy, and a “modern Western” about Don Alejo Tamez, a 77 year old rancher, whose stand off with a Mexican cartel led to 3 hour gun battle over his property. He is also producing the off-center coming-of-age film GOOD AFTER BAD starring Billy Burke, Maddie Hasson, and Melora Walters. The film wrapped principal photography September 23, 2015 in Houston, Texas.
Outside of his career as a filmmaker Leutwyler works as a mentor with the Los Angeles based non-profit The Young Storytellers Foundation. He is also the founder of the non-profit organization We Are Limitless, which is moving children out of orphanages in Rwanda and the Congo and into boarding schools, as well as supplying them with healthcare and other basic needs.
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