Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival wrapped up its third season today by announcing the2016 winners for its Best Feature Audience Award, Best Short Audience Award (sponsored by Film Colossus), the Mary Shelley Award, the Cthulhies awards, and the finalists for the Screenplay Contest.
The slate includes the Closing Night Film, THE UNSEEN; the North American Premiere of STILLE RESERVEN [Hidden Reserves]; the documentary, GHOST ROCKETS; the final Under Worlds Austin selection, THE AXE MURDERS OF VILLISCA (written by Austin’s own Owen Egerton); and the Texas Premiere of the SciFi/Horror, BLOOD HUNTERS. The full schedule of films can be found here: http://www.otherworldsaustin.com/2016-film-lineup.
The Midnight Swim is one of my favorite movies of 2015. Imagine my excitement, and the love for my job, when I got to spend some time with writer/director Sarah Adina Smith. Sarah grew up in Fort Collins, CO, and spent a good chunk of time at her grandma’s cottage in Okoboji, Iowa, where she filmed The Midnight Swim.
And now with The Midnight Swim, which is part-drama-part-psychological-part-suspense, we're seeing that a common trait unites these non-horror found footage films: the camera.
Writer/Director Sarah Adina Smith’s debut feature-film, The Midnight Swim, is a subtly unnerving psychodrama that simmers for hours after the final credits role. It places the viewer into the mind of the [hidden] protagonist and stretches the boundaries of point-of-view film making. As part of the 2015 Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival, Southwest Theatres Lake Creek 7 provided a screening of The Midnight Swim and a Q&A with its philosophical director.
Despite Midnight Swim being her first feature film, Smith grasps the importance of storytelling by crafting a haunting exploration of mental illness and raw familial interaction. Her characters are rich with emotional baggage, and the only thing that will likely cut through the film’s thick tension is Ms. Smith’s wit.
What scares Sarah Adina Smith? It's not jump scares or gore. It's films like Australian metaphysical mystery Picnic at Hanging Rock, where the characters are engulfed by the wilderness. She said, "What is terrifying is the existential crisis the movie puts off."