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SciFi Film Festival

Film, Sci-Fi Your place , Sydney Until Sunday October 31 2021
A man in shadow exlores what appears to be the ruined remains of a house bathed in deep blue light
Photograph: Supplied/Scifi Film Festival

Time Out says

Boldly go with this fantastic movie showcase that posits brave new worlds

The Sc-Fi Film Festival has been bringing Sydney audiences the very best in speculative cinema since 2016, scouring every corner of the planet (and others) for cutting-edge features, documentaries and shorts. This year, they’re boldly going where they have never gone before, presenting a national online program from October 15-31. Fielding 13 features and 67 shorts from 28 countries including Japan, China, Canada, America, Russia, Sweden, Spain and Brazil, it’s an incredible line-up.

Taiwanese sci-fi romantic comedy Say Yes Again makes its world premiere at the festival. With notes of Groundhog Day, it follows poor Luke (Kent Tsai) as he attempts to propose to his beloved Cai (Guo Shu Yao) over and over again, leaping back to the morning of his proposal every time she says no. Surely he has to get it right and break the time loop in the end? RIGHT? From Brazil comes another time travel story, Tales of Tomorrow, in which the kidnapping of a young girl in the year 2165 puts the last stronghold of human civilization at risk and, inexplicably, the only hope for us all rests with a teenager from 1999. Which is giving us definite Bill &Ted vibes.

On the documentary side, Steampunk Connection is a Canadian film that takes a deep dive into the endlessly creative, dystopian subculture, wherein writers, filmmakers, cosplayers and more innovate while celebrating the kind of 19th century speculative fiction espoused by the likes of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Also hailing from Canada is the horror film The Corruption of Divine Providence by writer and director Jeremy Torrie. Set in a small Indigenous Métis community in Manitoba, the film follows three different religious orders battling for control when a young Métisse girl is seemingly possessed by a supernatural entry, setting the scene for a darkly comic take on faith, gender and power.

The Japanese feature 12 Months of Kai offers a new riff on the ever-popular issue of artificial intelligence and manufactured personhood. In a future where robots called personal care humanoids (PCH) are common, successful career woman Kyoka (Ayaka Nakagôchi) begins to develop feelings for her handsome personal droid, Kai (Kosei Kudo). From this union comes something entirely new to the world that challenges our notions of what it means to be human. Which is prime territory for this genre.

The lo-fi handmade fantasy Precarious, from director Weston Terray, shows that a humble budget is no impediment to imagination, especially if you’re prepared to spend years making your film and acting as writer, director, editor, and cinematographer. He also built all the props and sets to tell the tale of a young man (Andrey Pfening) on the trail of a mysterious fortune in a strange ‘60s phantasmagoria. Precarious’ plotting is as opaque as a fever dream, but the world it creates is indelible. Speaking of dreams, Filipino film Lucid revolves around a young woman who is aware when she is sleeping – a lucid dreamer – and inhabits a wild world in stark contrast to her drab waking life. When she meets another lucid dreamer, she realises her night-time world is more interconnected and vibrant than she suspected and starts to question whether she might be better off staying asleep indefinitely.

Elsewhere in the festival you can catch Chilean animated fantasy Elulu, South Korean thriller Trans and apocalyptic adventure The Basement, as well as Spanish drama Echoes. You’ll also be able to see literary supernatural thriller I Can’t Sleep from the USA and Canadian supernatural romance Infinite Light. Each feature is packaged with a short film, and there are seven themed streams for sci-fi fans who like to get their bite-sized fix. Tickets are $8 a pop, or you can go all out and grab a festival pass for the bargain price of $29.99. Now that sure sounds like utopia to us.

Love to dive into a film festival? Take your pick from this round up


Venue name: Your place
Address: Sydney
Price: $8-$29.99

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