Science fiction is a unique vehicle for storytelling, especially given its ability to whisk us off to seemingly far-flung worlds while smuggling across home truths from our own. The irony certainly isn’t lost on fans of the genre that while free from the shackles of reality, SciFi often provides a whole new perspective on it.
This concept will be laid bear for all to see on the upcoming Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival. For three nights, a curated selection of 10 SciFi features and 41 SciFi shorts from 20 different countries will be put on display.
As well as the standard laser beams and aliens fare, SSFFF has placed a keen emphasis on highlighting important real-world topics, from LGBTQI issues, to animal rights, to the looming shadow of the military industrial complex.
To help with your scheduling, here’s a few titles Blunt Magazine added to our ‘Not To Be Missed’ list.
Monsters of Man (World Premiere)
Directed and written by Australian rising star Mark Toia, Monsters of Man takes the ‘Technology bad; humans worse’ genre we’ve come to know and love from the likes of Black Mirror, wraps it in Hollywood blockbuster CGI and injects a dose of consequences the genre normally washes over; that humans can, when given the right motivations, do the right thing. “A robotics company and a corrupt CIA agent jockey to win a lucrative military contract,” the lede reveals, making Monsters of Man both a timely, and exciting, addition to the program.
Anonymous Animals (Australian Premiere)
Falling into the category of ‘Horrific Futures’ comes French entry Anonymous Animals from director Baptiste Rouveure. Using a considerable amount of creative licence, this short film sees the roles reversed between humans; chained and farmed, being hunted and tortured at the hands of animals, now clothed and armed. Per the blurb: “Anonymous Animals questions the place of animals in our societies,” suggesting that the evolutionary race to opposable thumbs may have been all that kept the traditional power balance between humans and animals in place.
Strangeville (World Premiere)
Steeping away from the dystopic is Australian film Strangeville, from director Steven Osborne. Set in an isolated rural town plagued with reoccurring alien abductions, Strangeville follows two truthseekers determined to learn what’s going on (if the local law enforcement doesn’t stop them first). Judging from the trailer alone, Strangeville appears to be a big hit of fun in a program that does err on the side of doom and gloom; a well earned break for your viewing schedule.
A Blaster In The Right Hands – A Star Wars Story (Australian Premiere)
Carved out from the festival’s busy program is the ever important Australian Short Film Showcase. Featured among the list of titles is a must see for Star Wars fans; the Australian made fan-fiction A Blaster In The Right Hands, which does bear the mantle of ‘A Star Wars Story’. Diving into the extended universe, A Blaster In The Right Hands tells the tale of two bounty hunters butting heads – only to discover they aren’t the only ones after said bounty.
Scales (Australian Premiere)
Within the ‘Science Fiction From The Middle East’ category, you’ll find UAE entry Scales from director Shahad Ameen. Whereas the aforementioned titles lean heavily on CGI or visual effects, Scales appears to instead let our minds scare us, providing plenty of unknown for us to fill on our own volition. Scales takes place in a poor fishing village governed by a dark tradition – every family must give one daughter to the sea creatures who inhabit the waters nearby. As we see from the trailer, one young girl is determined to rewrite the ritual.