Circling the Future
Other Worlds Austin Orbiter summer series begins
Set your brains for the future. 7:30pm, every third Wednesday, all summer long, sci-fi film festival Other Worlds Austin will be bringing new and astounding films and filmmakers to Austin as part of the Orbiter summer season. For festival founder Bears Fonte, it's a way to highlight "films that will fall between the cracks for our festival."
OWA's out-of-festival screenings actually predate the festival itself. In July 2014, five months before the inaugural three-day event, Fonte organized a screening of found-footage horror Dark Mountain. He'd originally booked that at the Austin Film Festival, when he was booking their Dark Matters strand, and he wanted to adapt AFF's tradition of year-round booking. He said, "It was something that was important to keep the message of the festival going all year round."
Fonte described the year-round booking ethos as just an extension of OWA prime. Over time, he said, audiences get "your headscratcher, thinking sci-fi, versus your guns-blasting sci-fi, versus your horror. If you watched all of Orbiter, you'd get a feeling for what our festival is like."
Take the breathtakingly bizarre and visually striking Dave Made a Maze, which screens in July. Fonte described it as "a horror movie that feels like an indie comedy," which blew him and his staff away when they saw it at Slamdance. Because it's been acquired by Gravitas for a September release, that ruled out a main festival screening, but then that's exactly why he launched Orbiter.
The season also includes pandemic thriller Diverge and isolation horror Island Zero, but begins with the North American premiere of Yesterday Last Year, which Fonte called "lowest-budget time travel. I swear, this movie could have been made for $100." That's to its strength, stripping away effects in favor of "a great example of indie film writing," said Fonte. "I was very excited about a film which is three people in a room arguing about what happened, and the audience has to work out, 'Did that happen in real time, or did that happen because someone built a time machine to try to change things?'"
Other Worlds Austin presents Orbiter, at Flix Brewhouse:
June 21: Yesterday Last Year (North American premiere, with writer/lead actor Adam Bradley in attendance)
July 19: Dave Made a Maze (Texas premiere, with producer John Charles Meyer)
Aug. 16: Diverge (Texas premiere, with writer/director James Morrison)
Sept. 20: Island Zero (Texas premiere, with director Josh Gerritsen)