Other Worlds Austin Announces First Wave of Films and Inaugural Defender of the Universe Award

Austin, TX -- Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival has announced its first wave of programming for Austin’s first and only SciFi film festival (Dec 1-4) at Flix Brewhouse. The 2016 slate includes the Texas premieres of THE TRIBE, BED OF THE DEAD, and BATTLEDREAM CHRONICLES as well as the retro Gala film BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (1980) with special guest star, Sybil Danning, inaugural Defender of the Universe Awardee.

In only its third year, Other Worlds Austin has established itself as one of the premier SciFi festivals in the country. In addition to over a dozen features, Other Worlds Austin will present shorts programs covering all varieties of SciFi: thrillers, action, supernatural, and horror. This year BATTLEDREAM CHRONICLES becomes the first animated SciFi film to play OWA.

And for the first time, this year’s festival will include a Horror sidebar of features and shorts, under the banner of Under Worlds Austin, with Jeff Maher’s BED OF THE DEAD the first announced UWA selection.

Other Worlds Austin has a long history of supporting women working in genre film and are excited to announce Asian-American Roxy Shih, THE TRIBE’s writer/director, as our first Mary Shelley Award nominee.

Badges to the four-day festival start at $55 and can be purchased at OtherWorldsAustin.com.

 

BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, A GALA PRESENTATION

Other Worlds Austin is thrilled to give BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS a fresh theatrical presentation after nearly forty years. “Back in the age of VCRs,” says Bears Fonté, OWA Founder and Artistic Director, “my parents took me to a mom-and-pop rental place, it was called like Tony’s or Antoine’s—something you would never call a video store now, and every week I got to pick one film to rent. I think every other week for a year I picked BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS.”

In BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, a young farmer (Richard Thomas) sets out to recruit mercenaries to defend his peaceful planet, which is under threat of invasion by the evil tyrant Sador (John Saxon) and his armada of aggressors. Among the mercenaries are a Space Cowboy (George Peppard), a spacegoing truck driver from Earth (Morgan Woodward); Gelt, a wealthy but experienced assassin looking for a place to hide (Robert Vaughn); and Saint-Exmin, a Valkyrie warrior looking to prove herself in battle (Sybil Danning). The film was legendarily pitched as ‘Magnificent Seven in Space.'

“I loved the idea of getting the team together, sort of an all-star space squad,” says Fonté. “I was too young to understand the (obvious) MAGNIFICENT SEVEN DNA, but it works so well because MAGNIFICENT SEVEN works. It’s the little guys and against big bad evil. And in some ways—and this is sacrilege, I realize—it does it better than STAR WARS. Because everyone has their own individual skills, and people die. Like actual characters that you care about, and a lot of them.”

“In the wake of the cash-in-quick on STAR WARS phenomena that happened from 1978-81,” explains Fonté, “Roger Corman put together a classic that stands up, and I think exceeds, all the others. Look at who worked on this film: You’ve got an all-star cast. You’ve got one of the first scores from James Horner, and you can hear him working out some themes and ideas that ended up in great acclaim a few years later in STAR TREK II.  You have a screenplay from indie auteur and original Hollywood renegade John Sayles. You’ve got a director in Jimmy Murakami who came out of animation and directed parts of HEAVY METAL. Further down the line you have Walking Dead’s Gale Ann Hurd working as an Assistant Production Manager (one of her first jobs in Hollywood). And there’s James Cameron, credited for Additional Director of Photography, Special Photographic Effects, and Miniature Design and Construction.  And at the head of it all, is Roger Corman, the foundation that our modern understanding of genre film is built on. I’ve always wanted to see this film on the big screen, and now that I have my own festival, I can.”

 

SYBIL DANNING, DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE

Sybil Danning will be presented with the inaugural Defender of the Universe award, honoring a cinematic star or mentor whose heroic actions molded us into the future humans we aspire to be. SciFi, more than any other genre, is about heroes. In stories that often examine what it means to be human, reevaluating in the face of rapidly developing technology, alternate histories or multi-galaxial space saga where we are just one of the many players in a political landscape, SciFi teaches us who we are and what we value.

“I’ve always loved strong female characters,” says Fonté. “I focus all my own screenplays around them. Sybil Danning is so good in BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS because she is just there to fight, and to be taken as an equal with all the men. It’s entirely non-sexual. It was 1980, and she’s drop dead gorgeous, and she is standing in for female empowerment and equal rights. Of course she looks amazing, but she doesn’t even have to use that to fight the badies, she is using solely her skill as a warrior. That’s why I wanted to make her our recipient of the inaugural Defender of the Universe award.”

 

Interviews and screeners available upon request.

 

FIRST WAVE OF FILMS

THE TRIBE (US) Dir. Roxy Shih

A pandemic has taken place in the near future that has forced mankind into a desperate survival mode. A family of three young sisters struggle to get by as each day food and resources become more scarce and their patience with each other wears thin. One day, a stranger finds their stronghold and the girls soon discover that everything they thought they knew was not what it seemed. (Terror Films will be distributing the movie in the US).

 

BED OF THE DEAD (Canada) Dir. Jeff Maher

Four twentysomethings find themselves stuck on a haunted antique bed where leaving means suffering a gruesome death. Plagued with frightening hallucinations, they must figure out the bed’s secrets before they are ultimately picked off one by one.

 

BATTLEDREAM CHRONICLE (Martinique) Dir. Alain Bidard

In 2100, the empire of Mortemonde colonized almost all the nations of the Earth and reduced their populations to slavery. Every slave is forced to collect 1000XP every month in Battledream, a video game where they can die for real. Only those who succeed are granted the right to live until the following month. Syanna, a young slave from Martinique, refuses to keep living in this condition and decides to fight for her freedom...

 

BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (US) Dirs. Jimmy T. Murakami

Shad, a young farmer, assembles a band of diverse mercenaries in outer space to defend his peaceful planet from the evil tyrant Sador and his armada of aggressors. Among the mercenaries are a Space Cowboy, a space-going truck driver from Earth; Gelt, a wealthy but experienced assassin looking for a place to hide; and Saint-Exmin, a Valkyrie warrior looking to prove herself in battle.

About Other Worlds Austin

Other Worlds Austin is one of the premiere SciFi film festivals in the US, championing filmmakers and writers and bringing the best films to the ‘Geek Capital of the World.’

With a diverse and approachable team of programmers, we are building a network of SciFi fans and filmmakers, leading a loyal community, and launching SciFi films into the wider world.

 

About Flix Brewhouse

In addition to its flagship location in Round Rock, TX, Flix Brewhouse operates in Des Moines, Iowa and Carmel, Indiana, with more locations coming. The Flix Mix lobby bar and cafe is open seven days a week to the public, no ticket required, so you can come in and grab a bite to eat or have a locally brewed beer anytime!

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© 2014 OWA SciFi Film Fest, LLC