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AUSTIN, TX -- As part of its year-round Premiere Series, Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival is proud to present the Austin premiere of PRISONER X on June 23 (9:00pm) at Flix Brewhouse. Writer/Director Gaurav Seth will be in attendance and will do a Q&A after the screening.
Based on the Hugo-nominated novella, “Truth” by Robert Reed, PRISONER X takes place against the backdrop of a world mired in war and civil strife. CIA agent Carmen Reese arrives at a secret underground prison with one question, is the time-traveling terrorist she must interrogate responsible for the unfolding catastrophe, or does he hold the key to stopping it.
As the world rages in war and civil strife, CIA agent Carmen Reese arrives at a secret underground prison to interrogate a time-traveling terrorist who is responsible for the unfolding catastrophe. Her immediate task is to investigate the mysterious death of her predecessor—a talented interrogator and former lover. Was it suicide as the evidence suggests? Or was it murder? Carmen knows that the answers to these questions are linked to bigger, more important questions: Is the prisoner who he claims to be? And what is his real agenda? It’s now a race against the clock as Carmen and the prisoner engage in a battle of wills to see whose version of the future will triumph.
“At its core, PRISONER X is a gritty interrogation drama,” says Bears Fonté, OWA Founder and Artistic Director, “where the detainee may just hold the future of the world in his brain. It’s an exciting film, especially against the backdrop of our current election cycle where every day we are told either how unsafe we are or how our interrogation methods are barbarous. I’m really excited to bring this film and its director to Austin where I think it should spur some pretty intense conversation.”
PRISONE X has played a number of high profile genre fests, including SciFi London, Fantasporto, and Nocturna since premiering at Calgary International last year. PRISONER X features a stellar cast including Michelle Holden (NIKITA), Damon Runyan (HAVEN), and Julian Richings (X-MEN: THE LAST STAND). Writer/Director Gaurev Seth studied at the prestigious Russian Federation State Institute of Cinema (VGIK) founded by Sergei Eisenstein. His first feature film A PASSAGE TO OTTAWA won several international awards, including a Crystal Bear (Special Mention) at the Berlin Film Festival.
“SciFi has always given writers the chance for Political Allegory,” says Fonté. “PRISONER X drives home the issues of Abu Ghraib and Black Site Prisons and all the facets of modern counterterrorism with a time-travelling suspect that feels all to possible. And of course, if you are like me and positively believe the government is hiding information about the Roswell crash or what really happens at Area 51, then Gaurev Seth’s film should help fuel that paranoia.”
PRISONER X belongs to a rare breed of science fiction; it’s a perfect blend of high-concept and solid character drama. At the core of the story is a fascinating premise that serves as an ideal launch pad for a gripping, heart-racing thriller that speaks directly to today’s savvy and film literate audience. It has the mystery and enigma of TWILIGHT ZONE and the riveting, suspenseful plot of THE USUAL SUSPECTS.
“As a good thriller does, PRISONER X holds our attention by withholding information,” says Seth, “by revealing crucial details bit by bit, gradually raising the stakes in the process. And it often gives us reason to doubt what has been revealed, giving rise to unease that heightens the tension even more. The visual narrative of PRISONER X helps actualize this. The drama flows seamlessly from the brooding tension of the underground prison, established by dramatic lighting and textural production design, and the cataclysmic events unfolding on the surface above.”
“ZERO DARK THIRTY meets THE X-FILES…”
– Mario Trono, CBC
“An Impressive, well-acted and brilliantly directed film you can’t afford to miss.”
– Beatriz Pereira, FANTASPORTO
“Intelligent twists and turns along the way will keep you engaged until the final shot.”
– William Brownridge, TORONTO FILM SCENE
“A nifty, clever sci-fi thriller…”
– Andrew Parker, FILM CRITIC
WRITER/DIRECTOR GAURAV SETH:
Born in India, Gaurav moved to Russia at age 18 to study at the prestigious Russian Federation State Institute of Cinema (VGIK) founded by Sergei Eisenstein. There he studied under the strict tutelage of Vadim Yusov, the legendary cinematographer of Andrei Tarkovsky, and six years later he graduated with a Master’s Degree in Cinematography & Film Direction.
His first feature film A PASSAGE TO OTTAWA won five international awards including a CRYSTAL BEAR (Special Mention) at the Berlin Film Festival. Next, Gaurav directed a charming romantic comedy called PINK LUDOOS which premièred on City TV in Canada and was released in the UK and Germany as SWEET DESTINY.
Over the past few years, Gaurav has developed several feature film projects. Some of these include: Sci-Fi Thrillers BARDO and TIMEBOUND, a coming-of-age drama called LITTLE BROTHER, and a comedy called KARMA CHAMELEON. Besides developing his own projects, Gaurav has also worked on scripts for other Canadian filmmakers, including Carl Bessai (SALVAGE) and Academy Award-nominated Deepa Mehta (EXCLUSION).
Michelle Nolden – CIA Agent Carmen Reese
Michelle Nolden’s resume boasts blockbuster and independent features, as well as critically acclaimed television projects – all of which have earned her an international reputation. Recent feature films include CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY, Vincenzo Natali’s HAUNTER and Chuck Minsky’s SKATING TO NEW YORK. She recurred as the U.S. President in the hit series NIKITA, as well as the Crown Attorney in THE REPUBLIC OF DOYLE. Michelle has been nominated for an ACTRA award for her performance in the Canadian blockbuster MEN WITH BROOMS, as well as Gemini awards for her portrayal of Hadley Hemingway in HEMINGWAY vs CALLAGHAN, and a drug addicted mother in ROOKIE BLUE. She was a series regular on STREET TIME, where she co-starred with Rob Morrow and Terrence Howard.
Romano Orzari – Time-Traveling Terrorist, “Ramiro”
Romano Orzari has been nominated five times with one win as a professional actor. His achievement was honored with The Yves Montand Best Actor Award, at the 1998 Kiev International Film Festival, for his searing performance in the film BURNT EDEN. His Nominations for Best Lead Actor in a film or series were highlighted at the following events: The 1999 Gemini Awards and the 2000 Gala Metro Star Awards both for the acclaimed and fan favorite TV series OMERTA, LAST MAN OF HONOR in which he spoke four languages. Other nominations include the 2006 ACTRA Award for BABY FOR SALE and the 2007 SMMASH Film Festival for THE OVERLOOKERS. Currently, Romano stars in the hit black comedy crime series 24 HOUR RENTAL.
Julian Richings – Prison Commandant Jefferson
Julian Richings was born in Oxford, England, and has become a familiar figure to Canadian cinema and television audiences, appearing in over 50 films and 20 separate television series. After training in drama at the University of Exeter and touring North America with a British stage production, Julian moved to Toronto, Canada in 1984. Within five years, he had become a regular on the second season of the Canadian WAR OF THE WORLDS (1988) TV series. Other roles followed, and he gained critical acclaim as the bitter, ageing punk rock legend Bucky Haight in Bruce McDonald’s mock-documentary HARD CORE LOGO (1996). In 2000, Julian appeared as Francis Bellanger, an itinerant railroad worker who falls in love with a prostitute (played by Shirley Henderson), in THE CLAIM (2000), and the role earned him a Genie Award nomination for best supporting actor. His performance as the nearly-blind security guard Otto in Stephen King’s KINGDOM HOSPITAL (2004) was considered especially impressive by many critics. A busy stage actor as well, Julian was presented with two Dora Awards in the late 1980s and continues to perform professionally in the Toronto area.
Damon Runyan – Agent Fischer
Damon Runyan is currently playing the lead role of Charles Falco in GANGLAND UNDERCOVER for the History Channel. In the upcoming months Damon will also be seen in a recurring role in HAVEN for SyFy, a lead role in the Hallmark Channel’s ONE STARRY CHRISTMAS, as well as the independent thriller DEAD of WINTER. His past television credits include the recurring role of “Coach Carter” in DEGRASSI: TNG, and guest starring roles in NIKITA, COVERT AFFAIRS, SUPERNATURAL, SMALLVILLE, THE BRIDGE, and Ken Finkleman’s THE NEWSROOM, amongst others. Damon won the “Best Actor Award” as well as the “Audience Choice Award” in the 2013 National Film Challenge for his short film CASSIDY. Damon’s first feature film WHEN THE SHOOTING STOPS is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2015.