September 16, 2014

 
 
 
 
2014: A Brunch Odyssey 
sponsored by Cox Smith at The Goodnight
 
 
 
 

Want more value for your wristband?  How about a Saturday morning brunch before movies start to clear your head of all the madness of the first two days of films?   Other Worlds Austin is excited to announce that Cox Smith, a great law firm with offices in Austin, San Antonio, and all over Texas has just come on as an official sponsor for our first year, and will be sponsoring our Saturday morning brunch at the Goodnight in Austin.  

2014: A Brunch Odyssey will make its monolithic appearance at 11:00 am on December 6th and will be a great place to stop in and chat with filmmakers and other festival attendees over breakfasty-type sustenance and free mimosas.  That’s right, it’s all included with your wristband purchase.  And better yet, you won’t even miss any movies, as the films won’t begin until the afternoon.  (Note: we cannot be held responsible if you miss movies due to too much French toast).  

 

The Goodnight is a hip Bar/Bowling Alley/Billiard Hall/Shuffleboard Court on Austin’s north side on Anderson Lane, just minutes away from the Galaxy Theatre where we hold our screenings.  If you came to our US Premiere of DEAD WITHIN, its where we hung out afterwards with the cast and crew.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Cox Smith employs 120+ attorneys with diverse experience in upwards of 25 practice areas and more than 18 areas of specialization across its five Texas offices.  The firm believes clients want lawyers who have seen it all, and who understand how to take “in a perfect world” scenarios and help them come to fruition in the real world.  Cox Smith’s Austin office is highly regarded for its banking, financial services and technology industry experience, including its active involvement in the mobile payments space.  The firm’s close proximity to the state's capital and lawmakers enables their attorneys to stay well informed on legislative developments.  Other Worlds Austin is proud to have such a well-regarded Texas institution as a sponsor for our inaugural event.

Get your Wristband, seriously! →
 
 
 
 
Meet Reid Lansford - Programmer and 
Registration Director
 
 
 
 

Profile by DON ELFANT

Where are you from and what brought you to Austin?

I grew up about an hour north of Austin in Harker Heights. I was an army kid, and when my Dad retired we stayed in the area. Austin was always "the big city" to me and we visited it quite a bit as I was growing up. I just fell in love with city and decided pretty early on that I was going to end up here one way or another. When I discovered Austin had a film scene, I had a professional reason to do it along with the personal ones. I graduated with a film degree from the University of North Texas and then moved down here about four years ago.

How long have you been a cinephile?

I hate to give the cliched answer of "my whole life" but some of my earliest memories are of watching movies. Going to the theater was always a big deal for me, no matter what I was seeing. I would always get those Starlog magazines that would come out for big event films and read them cover to cover. Because I was one of the really popular kids, a big part of my teenage years were spent watching Monstervision on TNT during the weekends and seeing a lot of (edited for television) horror and SciFi classics. And then of course when I got into college I realized that there was an entire world of films and filmmakers I needed to catch up on. I'm still working on that

Is there a particular film that got you hooked on movies?

Tim Burton's BATMAN. I wore that VHS tape out (and still have it.) I know I saw other movies before then, but that was the first film I remember watching and wondering "How did they do that?" The big scene in particular to me is when the Batwing is flying through downtown Gotham to stop The Joker's parade/Prince dance party. That blew me away, and that's when I realized somebody actually makes these things. There are aspects of that film that haven't aged well, but I still think it holds up tremendously. In fact I'd put it alongside ED WOOD as Burton's best film.

 

Did any particular SciFi film or TV show have an early influence on you?

Like most people my age, the Star Wars movies are important milestones. But the one SciFi film that really stuck out to me was STAR TREK: THE WRATH OF KHAN. I had seen and enjoyed The Next Generation on TV, but I'm pretty sure that was the first Trek film I saw, probably on cable. Not knowing the series lore at the time, Spock's death (sorry if I spoiled it for anyone) was a big emotional blow. I love that film because amongst all the space battles, special effects and Ricardo Montalaban monologues, it's a story about old friends reflecting on life and what they could and should have done differently. You don't have to be a Trekkie to identify with the central themes. 

Read the rest of Reid’s profile →

 
 
The SciFi Timeline: Part 3 (the final for now)
 
 
 
 
by BEARS FONTE — In the last section of the timeline, we looked back at the development of SciFi from its pulpy first successes to its flowering into artistic achievement with 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.  While not comprehensive, I’ve tried to compile a list of the most important and influential works of SciFi since before it began.  Getting into the last 50 years, it gets much easier to argue which films and books are important, and there are many that don't seem important now, that probably will be.  Think I’ve missed one?  Let me know in the comments.

From the Earth to the Moon to the Blockbuster (1969-1980)

1969 Apollo 11 lands on the Moon and the promise of hundreds of novels and films is finally realized.  The US also finally pulls ahead of the USSR in the ‘space race.’ When the TV networks sought out experts for their coverage, science fiction writers were on the top of their list. At the moment the Eagle landed, Walter Cronkite spoke with Arthur C. Clarke who told millions of viewers, the space mission was a “down payment on the future of mankind.”  On ABC, Rod Serling interviewed Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl. Ray Bradbury left the set of British journalist David Front’s “Moon Party” overcome with tears from the event.  Later, he joined Mike Wallace on CBS and said “This is an effort to become immortal.  We’re going to take our seed out into space and we’re going to plant it on other worlds and then we won’t have to ask ourselves the question of death ever again.”  The universe was somehow more in reach, but that didn’t stop science fiction writers and filmmakers from seeking out new worlds, or new versions of our own. 

1969 Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. publishes SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, a nonlinear story in which events become clear through various flashbacks (or time travel experiences) from the unreliable narrator who describes the stories of Billy Pilgrim, who believes himself to have been in an alien zoo.  The book features crossover characters from many of Vonnegut’s other novels, including Kilgore Trout, often an important character in other Vonnegut novels, Eliot Rosewater, from GOD BLESS YOU, MR. ROSEWATER; Howard W. Campbell, Jr., from MOTHER NIGHT; and Bertram Copeland Rumfoord, relative of Winston Niles Rumfoord, from THE SIRENS OF TITAN. The U.S. Supreme Court considered the First Amendment implications of the removal of the book, among others, from public school libraries in the case of Island Trees School District v. Pico, [457 U.S. 853 (1982)], and concluded that "local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books and seek by their removal to 'prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.'"

1969 Ursula K. Le Guin publishes possibly the first feminist science fiction novel, THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, written, according to the author as a "thought experiment" to explore society without men or women, where individuals share the biological and emotional makeup of both genders. This novel follows an envoy from the planet Winter where its citizens are "ambisexual," spending the majority of time as asexual "potentials." They only adopt gendered attributes once-monthly, during a period of sexual receptiveness and high fertility, called kemmer, in which individuals can assume male or female attributes, depending on context and relationships. 
 
1970 George Lucas releases his film THX 1138, starring Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasence and depicting a dystopian future in which the populace is controlled through android police officers and mandatory use of drugs that suppress emotion, including sexual desire.  The film was produced by Francis Ford Coppola and much of the filming took place in the then-unfinished tunnels of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) subway system in San Francisco.

1971 Stanley Kubrick follows 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY with A CLOCKWORK ORANGE adapted from Anthony Burgess's 1962 novella.  In the film, Malcolm McDowell plays a charismatic, sociopathic delinquent whose interests include Beethoven, rape, and what he calls "ultra-violence."  A comment on psychiatry, juvenile delinquency, youth gangs, and other social, political, and economic subjects in a dystopian future Britain, A Clockwork Orange chronicles his horrific crime spree, his capture, and attempted rehabilitation via controversial psychological conditioning.  Much of the film, like the novel, is filled with Nadsat, a fictional dialect which is basically English with some borrowed words from Russian. It also contains influences from Cockney rhyming slang, the King James Bible, the German language, some words of unclear origin, and some that Burgess invented.  The other-worldly soundtrack features Moog versions of classical pieces played by Wendy (then Walter) Carlos. Despite the film's controversial nature, A Clockwork Orange grossed more than $26 million on a conservative budget of $2.2 million, was critically acclaimed, and was nominated for several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture (losing to The French Connection).  It also boosted sales of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

1973 “SOYLENT GREEN is People” enters the cultural lexicon, through the Charlton Heston film about an investigation into the murder of a wealthy businessman in a future suffering from pollution, overpopulation, depleted resources, poverty, dying oceans, and all year humidity due to the greenhouse effect.  This was the 101st and last movie in which Edward G. Robinson appeared; he died of cancer twelve days after filming finished.

1975 The Soyuz and Apollo link up in Earth orbit as a symbol of the policy of détente that the two superpowers were pursuing at the time, and marked the end of the Space Race between them that began in 1957.  This was the last US spaceflight until the Space Shuttle Program

1976 THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW had premiered, and flopped, the year before.  Now, as a midnight movie at the Waverly Theater, the film attracted endless crowds anxious to participate in the cult phenomena.  Writer Richard O’ Brian embraced the b-movie aesthetic of early science fiction and the opening musical number references THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, FLASH GORDON, THE INVISIBLE MAN, KING KONG, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, DOCTOR X, FORBIDDEN PLANET, TARANTULA, THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS, CURSE OF THE DEMON, and WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE.  The film, the longest-running theatrical release in film history, was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2005.

1977 George Lucas unleashes STAR WARS on the world, ushering in science fiction’s place at the top of the blockbuster food chain.  It’s an epic space opera that has more kinship to the JOHN CARTER novels of Edgar Rice Burreaghs than Kubrick’s 2001.  I won’t summarize the plot, because everyone knows it, plus it’s basically stolen from Joseph Campbell.  Star Wars earned $460 million, received 10 Academy Award nominations, and doubled 20th Century Fox’s stock prices within 3 weeks of its release.  In true science-fiction-mad-scientist style, George Lucas has continuously tinkered with the film for subsequent re-releases, adding in digital effects and characters, entire scenes, and most gratuitously, changing ‘history’ by making Greedo shoot first, ruining the greatest character introduction in SciFi history.
 
 
 
 
Also on OtherWorldsAustin.com
 
 
But What Does it All Mean? (Don’t Answer That)
 
HOW I ACCIDENTALLY LEARNED SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY THROUGH SCIFI
 
TIPS FOR SUBMITTING YOUR FILM TO A FESTIVAL (unrelated to whether or not your film is actually good)
 
       
 
Blog by JORDAN BROWN — "Let’s face it: art is inherently subjective, and viewers aren’t going to take away the same emotional experiences and interpretations from any given film."
 
Blog by DON ELFANT — "When I was growing up, I wasn’t much interested in ideas, but I was a fan of spaceships, super powers, and other worlds. Little did I know that I was also being fed metaphors and allegories of social justice." 
 
Blog by BEARS FONTE — "Affect the overall impression your film makes when it arrives by following these 10 simple pieces of advice."
 
 
Inaugural OTHER WORLDS AUSTIN SciFi Film Festival
---------------December 4-6, 2014-----------------

 
 
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