The Austin Chronicle

Other Worlds Austin Adds Owen Egerton's Latest

By Richard Whittaker, November 28, 2016, 12:45pm, Picture in Picture

Other Worlds Austin, the dedicated sci-fi film festival, is coming up this week, but they saved some big announcements for last. Joining cult faves and cutting edge creations, now OWA adds Austin author-turned-scriptwriter Owen Egerton's latest, The Axe Murders of Villisca.

Directed by Tony E. Valenzuela, and recently acquired by IFC Midnight, the film springboards from one of America's great unsolved mass murders, the brutal axe slaying of eight people in the sleepy western Iowa town of Villisca.

That's one of five titles rounding out the four-day fest, and one of them is the literal conclusion, with the addition of Canadian body horror The Unseen. The feature directing debut of FX artist Geoff Redknap (Deadpool, The Cabin in the Woods, Fear the Walking Dead), it follows up on his festival smash short "The Auburn Hills Breakdown," and follows a man whose life is falling apart – literally.

This latest announcement also includes three whole slates of shorts from around the world, including a swath of Texas and U.S. premieres, and the latest from Calvin Reeder, creator of the um – eye-opening short "The Procedure."

Other Worlds Austin Film Festival runs Dec. 1-4. Visit for more info. Here's the full list of all the features and shorts added (read the list for round one here, round two here, and round three here).

Blood Hunters
D: Tricia Lee, Canada, 90 min. (Texas Premiere)
A single mother wakes up in a medical facility, mysteriously nine months pregnant, and finding everyone dead. As she struggles to escape she discovers the facility's secret, the government has tampered with boundaries no mortal should cross. When they return, they are not alone.

Ghost Rockets
D: Michael Cavanagh and Kerstin Ubelacker, Sweden, 70 min. (Texas Premiere)
For years UFO-Sweden has attempted to solve a mystery that has baffled even the government, the Ghost Rockets. In 1946, over 2000 sightings were reported of missile shaped unidentified flying objects over Sweden and neighboring countries. Searching for proof, these life-long hobbyists commiserate and grow old together, bravely face the continual failure by doubling down their efforts.

Stille Reserven Hidden Reserves
Valentin Hitz, Austria, 96 min. (North American Premiere)
With powerful companies running the Vienna of the not too distant future, only the privileged elite can afford death insurance. The rest suffer their corpses to be used long after their passing in life-support farms, until their debts are paid. When Insurance agent Vincent Baumann goes undercover to "sell" activist Lisa Sokulowa on his services, he discovers a brewing revolution that may be worth cashing in his own policy.

The Unseen
D: Geoff Redknap, Canada, 97 min. (Texas Premiere, closing night film)
Bob Langmore, an ex-hockey pro, lives like a shadow, a loner in tiny mill town far from the family life he abandoned. When he finally reconnects with his rebellious daughter, he chances her discovering his secret, that he is literally disappearing, his flesh vanishing in chunks right before his eyes. When she goes missing, he must risk everything to find her, before he is gone for good. Featuring a stellar ensemble of TV stars (Aden Young from Rectify, Camille Sullivan from The Man in the High Castle, Julie Sarah Stone from The Killing), The Unseen offers a fresh take on the overwrought superhero origin story.

The Axe Murders of Villisca
D: Tony E. Valenzuela, USA, 78 min. (Texas Premiere)
Three outcasts break into the house where a husband and wife, their four children, and two guests were executed. Exploring the museum-like site after hours, they find the evil that came to visit the Moore’s in Villisca, Iowa, 104 years ago may still cling to the walls inside. Based on a real unsolved murder.

SciFi Shorts Program 1: How to Recognize a Monster

"Bears Discover Fire"
D: Ben Leonburg, USA, 14 min. (Texas Premiere)
An uncle-nephew camping trip becomes a journey of wonder when they come upon a family of bears that have discovered how to use fire.

"The Bulb"
D: Calvin Lee Reeder, USA, 10 min.
Two strangers experience a bizarre phenomenon in a motel room, through the power of public access television.

"The Call of Charlie"
D: Nick Spooner, USA, 14 min. (Texas Premiere)
A trendy Los Angeles couple sets up a blind date for a friend – with an Ancient Evil Deity From Beneath The Sea.

D: Dean Puckett, UK, 15 min. (US Premiere)
A pair of paranormal investigators may hold the key to the truth behind a string of crop circles outside their small town of Totnes, Devon.

"Kepler X-47"
D: Erin Li, USA, 13 min. (Texas Premiere)
Fetched from Earth as a perfect specimen, a woman adjusts to her new reality in a human zoo on an alien planet.

D: Steve Desmond, USA, 12 min. (Texas Premiere)
Jenn lives in an underground bunker, protected from the monsters that daily ravage the world. Today she goes outside.

D: Aaron Bevan Bailey, UK, 14 min. (Texas Premiere)
In a future sputtering under ecological ruin and self-imposed eugenics, one couple searches for hope in their own love.

SciFi Shorts Program 2: Tomorrow's Hearts Broken Today

"Beautiful Dreamer"
D: David Gaddie, USA, 26 min.
Facing a terminal disease, a mother uses space travel and relativity to stretch her last two years over the lifetime of her baby daughter, building a relationship despite the longing and estrangement that mark seeing each other only once every seven years.

"The Lost City of Tomorrow"
D: Auden Bui, USA, 16 min.
Sent to shut down a floating film archive orbiting high above Earth, a bureaucrat meets an android caretaker whose love of film makes him almost more human than his counterpart.

D: Alexander Jeffery, USA, 17 min.
Dr. Theodore Maine is on the cusp of losing his job at Janus Labs where he is developing research for Alzheimer's treatment, until a mysterious child arrives to change his future forever.

D: Aaron Rovner, USA, 13 min. (Texas Premiere)
When an office robot gives a co-worker a friendly gift, the fragile balance between the employees in the office is pushed to a tipping point.

"Stripes" (Texas Premiere)

D: Tibo Pinsard, France, 4 min. (Texas Premiere)
Another first date gets hijacked by two people unable to get past their own masks.

"Una Mujer Sin Precio 1961" ("A Priceless Woman")
D: Juan F. Moctezuma II, Mexico, 15 min. (Texas Premiere)
When a perfectionist scientist loses his wife to a car accident, he builds a robotic version to replace her, in this newly restored classic from the missing genre trailblazer presented by documentarian Alaric Rocha.

Under Worlds Shorts

D: Tia Salisbury, UK, 9 min. (Texas Premiere)
Dan has no time for housemate Molly today, which is just one more annoyance added to her being mute and dead for 180 years.

D: Briane Deane, Ireland, 15 min. (US Premiere)
A young priest travels to an isolated island community to face a dark supernatural force that has consumed a young woman.

"Girl #2"
D: David Jeffery, US, 9 min. (Texas Premiere)
Even with a deranged killer running rampant inside the house, the girls still vie for leadership in the sorority.

"John the Carpenter"
Matt Braunsdorf, USA, 13 min.
After a car accident throws his sister Anna into conflict with a terrifying monster, John constructs a trap to revenge his sister’s sacrifice.

D: Prano Bailey-Bond, UK, 15 min.
Exploring the mysterious disappearance of his father, 12-year-old Doug is drawn into the lurid world of VHS horror "nasties," in the Margaret Thatcher era UK.

"Quenottes" ("Pearlies")
D: Pascal Thiebaux, Gil Pinheiro, France/Luxembourg, 13 min. (Texas Premiere)
In many cultures, the tooth fairy that brings you a coin in exchange for the tooth under your pillow is a benevolent little mouse. But what if the teeth he collects are dental trophies, to be guarded at all costs?

D: Whit Spurgeon, USA, 4 min.
In the middle of the night, things should be quiet. Sometimes things go thump.

"Yo No He Sido" ("It Wasn’t Me")
D: Angel Ripalda, Spain, 12 min. (Texas Premiere)
Troubled at school, 10-year-old David complains he is not the one to be blamed for his mischief. His father hires a specialist to discover the truth.

Assorted Shorts

"The Bench" D: Cameron Burnett, USA, 6 min. (Texas Premiere)
A random encounter on a park bench reminds that there is more than meets the eye to every eye to meet.

D: Paul Cooke, Dom Rees-Roberts, UK, 16 min. (US Premiere)
A father tries to protect his daughter when she falls sick with an illness that has no cure.

"Creatures of Whitechapel"
D: Jonathan Martin, US, 25 min. (Texas Premiere)
Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of London, searching for the perfect victims to help Dr. Frankenstein, her master, bring his Creation to life. A gender-charged twist on a classic tale.

"Girl Ghost Getters"
D: Sarah Adams and Maggie Rieth Austin, US, 6 min.
Maggie and Sarah host a supernatural encounters vlog, but their need to film the perfect show blurs their perception between the paranormal and … well, normal.

Jody Wilson, Canada, 22 min.
After years of waiting, Takumi and his toy robot companion receive a message that they will be returning to their home planet. Suddenly he's faced with a choice: follow his cosmic destiny or pursue his dream girl here on Earth.

"It Grows Dark"
D: Benjamin Capps, USA, 10 min. (World Premiere)
A demented, cyclopean teddy bear drawn on the scrap of paper leads Deke to a Tele-C booth where a voice on the other line gives him a message from hell itself.

"Making Friends"
D: Kyle C. Mumford, USA, 7 min. (Texas Premiere)
A lonely old man needing a challenger in a game of chess, builds himself a robotic friend.

"María Fernanda in Time"
D: Xavier Pijuan, Spain, 9 min (Texas Premiere)
In a scientific laboratory, an overprotective mother’s accident causes terrible consequences in her son’s space-time continuum.

"Special Forces"
Phil Bucci, USA, 10 min. (Texas Premiere)
A detective finds himself saddled with two not so super-powered superhero cops to save the city from a villain's sinister plot.

"We Were Not Made for This World"
Colin West McDonald, USA, 4 min. (Texas Premiere)
A robot searches for his creator in the desert lands outside his city.

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