Travel to Other Worlds: Other Worlds Austin 2021
Other Worlds Austin returns for its eighth year at the Galaxy Highland 10 in Austin, Texas. Beginning Thursday, December 2, 2021, the nation’s premiere science fiction film festival features more than 25 films and shorts as well as a screenwriting workshop and the Mary Shelley Award. In addition, 2021 includes virtual events over five days.
This is one of the best events of its sort, with many different sorts of science fiction, from action to space opera to cerebral to experimental. In addition to new entries from across the globe, the festival features a couple of nostalgic entries.
The pandemic forced Other Worlds Austin into a strictly virtual festival. I’m looking forward to attending the physical festival again.
Movies showing at this year’s festival include the following (in alphabetical order):
Alrik Bursell | US
Writer: Alrik Bursell
Struggling filmmaker Jake investigates a glitch in his footage, only to find a portal to a parallel dimension, one in which he has the fame, fortune and family he has always wanted.
Sun Dec 5, 2:30pm
Eric Steele | UK
Writer: Eric Steele
A social worker whose last charge committed suicide takes a withdrawn homeless boy into her care, not suspecting that he is a vampire.
Sun Dec 5, 5pm
UNDER WORLDS CENTERPIECE FILM
Jay Ness | US
Writer: J.J. Kaiser
In the aftermath of a horrific accident, Chloe volunteers to try a new rehabilitation process using artificial intelligence. The smart-house-system, known as AIDA, will do anything to keep Chloe safe.
Sat Dec 4, 9pm
ESLUNA: THE CROWN OF BABYLON
Denver Jackson | Canada
Writer: Denver Jackson
After her mentor is abducted by a renegade monk, a relic hunter and her crew must find the Crown of Babylon, an ancient artifact rumored to have the power to bring back the dead.
Sat 12/4, 10am
FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR (1986)
DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE SCREENING
Randal Kleiser | US
Writers: Mark H. Baker, Michael Burton, Phil Joanou
Knocked out in the forest near his home, twelve-year-old David awakens to find his family has moved and eight years have passed. Perplexed that he hasn’t aged, David’s family brings him for testing, only to catch the attention of NASA, who have their own seemingly unrelated mystery to deal with, a floating driverless space pod.
Sun 12/5, 5pm
A HARD PROBLEM
hazart | US
After the death of his mother, Ian packs up the house where he cared for her in her waning years. His strained relationship with his sister leads Ian to discover the complicated circumstances behind the life he didn’t realize he was living.
Sat 12/4, 11am
HELL IS EMPTY
Jo Shaffer | US
Writers: Jo Shaffer, Adam DeSantes
A self-styled messiah initiates a teenage runaway into his cult of sister-wives. Her rebellious nature upends the community, triggering a bloody uprising against the patriarch.
Sat 12/4, 4pm
Joseph Sackett | US
Writer: Joseph Sackett
Obsessed with their babysitter, nine-year-old, gender-queer Johnny uses neuroscientific meditation to send their spirit right into her body! When Mom comes home early, Johnny escapes into the outside world as an adult woman, navigating all the particulars (clothes, make-up, horny would-be boyfriends) with all the success you might expect from any nine-year-old.
Fri 12/3, 7pm
HOMEBODY: THE HAUNT OF GUY WITHERS
Zachary Endres | US
Writer: Zachary Endres
When Guy retreats into the apartment he runs as a shared short-term rental, he finds himself at the mercy of a world that doesn’t even notice he is gone, and haunted by the prospect of what lies past his door.
Sun 12/5, 12pm
Josh Wallace | US
Writers: Josh Wallace, Devin Das
A fateful chain of events begins to unravel after two brash insurance salesmen go knocking on the wrong door, only to find themselves selling to a serial killer.
Fri 12/3, 4:30pm & Sat 12/4, 11:30pm
Rasmus Merivoo | Estonia
Writer: Rasmus Merivoo
When left at Granny’s house, the bored city-kid siblings find instructions on how to build a ‘Kratt,’ a creature formed of old household implements. The only missing ingredient is one soul.
Fri 12/3, 7pm
FOUNDER’S CHOICE SCREENING
Michael Crichton | US
Three television commercial actresses, each who had millimeter-specific cosmetic surgery done with Dr. Larry Roberts, end up dead, with Larry under suspicion for their murder. What Larry does not divulge is that the third victim came back to him asking him to undo what he did, as “they” were out to get her for being too perfect. Protecting a fourth patient, he uncovers a conspiracy of technology to measure the perception of perfection of human subjects in commercials, and the 3D computer modeling of actresses.
Sat 12/4, 4pm
OPENING NIGHT FILM
Jason R Miller | US
Writer: Brea Grant, Jason R Miller
Madeline and Owen have invented time travel, but after discovering a mistake in the code that causes a copy of Madeline to appear every day, they must kill each new Madeline to prevent the universe from collapsing in on itself.
Thurs 12/2, 7:42pm
Eric Schultz | US
Writer: Eric Schultz
Attempting to surpass his father’s legacy, a reclusive neuroscientist runs a risky experiment on himself. Only able to remember a fraction of each hour, Ethan locks himself in his home with his ex-girlfriend asking her to dive headfirst into the uncharted equations of his brain.
A 2020 encore screening
Sat 12/4, 1:30pm
Dana Cowden | US
Writer: Dana Cowden
On a mission to establish an outpost on Mars, Android Officer Nova finds herself caught between her human crew-mates and her own kind in the wake of erupting onboard android mutiny.
Fri 12/3, 7pm
Sean Nichols Lynch | US
Writer: Sean Nichols Lynch
A struggling romance novelist who has read the Twilight series a few too many times discovers a vampire hiding in her Lake Tahoe garage. As he heals, he agrees to help her with her own vamp-lit novel, at least until his vampire friends show up and ruin their meet-cute.
Sat 12/4, 4pm
RESIDENTS OF ARCADIA
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
Dom Cutrupi | US
Writer: Dom Cutrupi
Two social media influencers and entrepreneurs have their perfect lives disrupted when a man breaks into their backyard. As a mysterious countdown appears on screens and mirrors throughout their home, the ideal couple struggles to maintain their ideal life.
Sun 12/5, 7:30pm
OTHER WORLDS CENTERPIECE FILM
Daniel Lazo, Eran May-Raz | US
Writers: Daniel Lazo, Eran May-Raz
In a future dominated by augmented-reality eyepieces, an agoraphobic young man experiences an unlikely transformation when he comes across a mysterious app that gamifies every facet of his life.
Sat 12/4, 6:30pm
TAKE BACK THE NIGHT
Gia Elliot | US
Writers: Emma Fitzpatrick, Gia Elliot
Finding herself the victim of a violent monster attack, Jane launches a vigilante campaign to hunt the beast that tried to kill her. However, as her troubling history of drug use and mental illness bubbles to the surface, the authorities, her family — even Jane herself — begin to question the authenticity of her account.
Sun 12/5, 2:30pm
TUNE INTO THE FUTURE
Eric Schockmel | Luxembourg
One hundred years before the internet, a self-declared tech guru preached the future to a flock of outsiders, predicting Skype, jetpacks, space mining and drones. Despite his 80 patents and friendship with Edison and Tesla, Hugo Gernsback is barely even remembered for his most important invention, Science Fiction.
Sat 12/4, 11am
TURN OF THE SCREW
Alex Galvin | New Zealand
Writer: Alex Galvin
Julia — a last minute replacement for another actress — arrives the night before open and is thrust immediately onstage to act the lead role in an evening of terror. Cast as the governess in a stage adaptation of Henry James’ Turn of the Screw, Julia, just like her character, begins to suspect that not just the fictitious house is haunted, but also the stage where she stands.
Fri 12/3, 4:30pm
Rob Schroeder | US
Writer: Conor Stechschulte
After a strange sexual encounter, Glen and Cyndi become unwitting test subjects in a mind control experiment. They search for answers as their own memories become tools for manipulation. Based on the graphic novel ‘Generous Bosom’ by Conor Stechschulte
Sat 12/4, 11:30pm & Sun 12/5, 7:30pm
WHEN I CONSUME YOU
Perry Blackshear | US
Writer: Perry Blackshear
A woman and her brother seek revenge against a mysterious stalker. A gritty, slow-burn urban folktale about family, damnation, and redemption.
Sat 12/4, 6:30pm
Teddy Grennan | US
Writer: Teddy Grennan
When Harley joins her new boyfriend for a long Halloween weekend at his country estate, they’re invaded by a band of masked freaks. Forced to take part in some sort of human hunting game, Harley surprises everyone when her history proves to have prepared her with enough tricks to even her odds.
Sat 12/4, 11:30pm & Sun 12/5, 5pm