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There are a few Film Fests previously mentioned here that are continuing this week, but the new festival I feel compelled to make sure folks are aware of is the Sheffield Doc/Fest in the UK. And yes, I do know that talking about a documentary film festival seems strange on a Sci-Fi blog, but there is a good reason to include it, and other Fests like it: pieces of it are helping us build and imagine the future, which is what SF is all about. The fact that the slogan of this particular DocFest is The Truth Is Out There just makes it a bit more obvious than most.

One such piece is The Execution of Gary Glitter?, a story set in a parallel time line where the death penalty has been reintroduced in the UK following overwhelming public pressure. This Docudrama uses a pop music figure and a journey across the Einstein-Rosen Bridge to explore some very serious questions.

Another such film is Arena: Eno, in which you get to know aspects of musical genius Brian Eno, and learn about his own part in getting together with influential minds in the fields of science, art, systems analysis, cybernetics, and more, and how he is helping to shape the future through his intelligence and influence.

If you noticed the link between musical skills and the growth of the future, it wasn’t a fluke. Other documentaries that evolve through both of those factors include How The Beatles Rocked The Kremlin and Soundtrack for a Revolution.

Other films are Dealing With Time (Le temps presse), where the 10% increase in our average daily speed per project over the last decade is examined in detail, RiP! A Remix Manifesto which explores the legal battlefield where existing copyright and freedom of speech go head to head, and Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam which looks at the serious clash between cultures that can occur when someone writes a fictional story of What If that the rest of their peer group wishes were true so much that they start living that life.

Some serious food for thought at this event.

The AFI Fest runs from October 30th to November 7th, and kicks off with the world premier of the animated The Fantastic Mister Fox, followed up on the second night with Halloween Horror Films. Just because that wasn’t enough, this year the AFI Fest is Free, at least mostly.

If you thought the UK Festivals were over, that would be a no; the Screen Writers Festival started yesterday and runs through the 29th. What makes this Fest special is it includes its own Doctor Who Sessions, with a ton of panel members covering both the classic and new Doctor Who series. And yes, Steven Moffat will indeed be there along with all the others. There is also a panel of the non-TV releases (and news that Tom Baker is to return to the studio for some new 4th Doctor audio episodes for Big Finish), a panel on the new K9 series, and a special screening of Girl Number 9 before its online premiere Friday.

Ongoing festivals include the Austin Film Festival through the 29th, the 53rd BFI London Film Festival also through October 29th, and the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival through November 11th. Details can be found in my previous Festival entries.

Sci-Fi London is holding their Oktoberfest Film Festival this weekend! It kicks off on Friday with the Royal Observatory Greenwich (home of Greenwich Mean Time) unveiling the Sci-Fi Universe planetarium program for the first time anywhere. There will also be Aliens, Anime, and MST3K all-night film marathons and much more. Of course, the 53rd BFI London Film Festival continues until the 29th, so the UK looks to be the place for movies in October.

In Melbourne, Au, the Atom Awards Presentation will take place Friday, and while the films are more Science than SciFi, there are some interesting entries.

Also this weekend, the South Asian International Film Festival will be taking place, with entries like ALADIN for the Disney-entranced, and BUBONIC FILMS GONZO TRAILER EXTRAVAGANZA for the terminally warped (pretty much the Hindi version of Troma Studios TrailerFest).

In the US, the Austin Film Festival runs from the 22nd to the 29th, and it is the first time I have heard of Caprica showing on the big screen at a festival (probably because I wasn’t paying attention the last time). Other Sci-Fi like films include 31 Minutes, The Ballad of Friday and June, and The Bake Shop Ghost, for the first few letters of the alphabet. Many of the movies are oriented around Art and Music, the main two driving forces that define Austin (yes, it is the state capital of Texas, but that is a small part of what happens there). Other films worth paying attention to for this fest include Give The Dog A Bone, the Incredible Story Of My Great Grandmother Olive, followed by Leonardo, and then Lo. Other offerings include NASA and the Space Pen, The Mouse That Soared, Mighty Mutant Mollusks, Missy and the Maxinator, and about 20 more. This is my kind of Film Fest!

Opening on the 23rd and running to November 11th in Florida, the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival kicks off with a Sci-Fi romantic comedy called Timer in an opening night gala event. Other draws include the live stage presentation of Repo: The Genetic Opera and the film Seventh Moon.

The number of Film Festivals grew this week, or perhaps I am just getting better at finding them. So for at least this week, I am breaking them out of the Wednesday post and giving them a night of their own.

The 53rd BFI London Film Festival runs from October 14th to the 29th, and includes presentation of the Southerland Trophy. I’m cheering on Cold Souls for that prize, but Metropia looks interesting as well. Other films of note include the Fantastic Mr. Fox, the non-stop MICMACS, the star-studded and based on a real military organization The Men Who Stare at Goats, and the long-delayed and heavily re-edited The Road.

Also in the UK, the Festival of Fantastic Films takes place in Manchester from the 16th to the 18th, covering Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror films of all kinds. Timed to take advantage of the larger British Film Association festival (as is next weeks Sci-Fi London Oktoberfest), it does a good job of including works you won’t be seeing on the bigger venue.

In the US, the 45th Chicago Film Festival continues to run until the 22nd (it started on the 8th of October). While there are a few SF/F films tucked away in this event, like The Rapture of Fe and Astro Boy, the movie I feel compelled to mention is The Castle; read the review to discover why.

October 15th to the 25th brings the Hawaii International Film Festival, which will feature their very own day-long Lost celebration. Movies of interest include Air Doll, the French sequel District 13 Ultimatum, anime Evangelion 2.0, You Can Not Advance, and the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus by Terry Gilliam. There is also the live-action Gokusen The Movie, the animated FIRST SQUAD: THE MOMENT OF TRUTH and the silly-sounding Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl which may be the perfect Halloween movie this year.

From the 17th to the 25th is the TIFF, or Tokyo International Film Festival, one of the major fests each year. The usual large number of prizes will be handed out, which have categories non-native to Western Fests. Films of note include Go Find A Psychic, Yona Yona Penguin, and the Avatar Special Presentation. There is also Kung Fu Cyborg : Metallic Attraction, a comedic love story, and Chengdu, I Love You, a story of time-traveling rock-n-roll and romance (OK, it’s got a BIT of kung-fu in it).

And then there is the Rome Cinemafest, for yet another touch of the world, including some TwiLight references.

This news is interesting; at the 20th Stockholm International Film Festival this November they will be screening a movie on ice. They haven’t decided which movie they will be projecting onto the 11 ton slab of ice yet, but I recommend that you bundle up if you plan to attend.

A Fest I missed last week was Indie Memphis, but visit the Memphis Flyer site to see what they will be serving up in this weekends encore presentation. Likewise I missed mentioning the Takoma Film Festival (possibly because it ended the same day as the first Fest post), but if you are VERY quick you still have a chance to see at least a few of them, including Otis v. Monster.

Fathom Entertainment brings another exclusive Anime event to the big screens across the US. This time around they have the feature film Eureka 7 – good night, sleep tight, young lovers, playing one night only on Thursday, September 24th (yes, that is 2009). Tickets went on sale today for its only other big-screen showing in North America, and its North American Premier, at the FanTasia 2009 Film Festival in Montreal, CA, on July 28th. Purists will want to be at the FanTasia showing, which is in Japanese and subbed; the Fathom presentation will be dubbed.

The Fantasia International Film Festival 2009 starts this Thursday, July 9th, and runs to the 29th. The films include a dozen of my favorites that I never expected to hear about being on a big screen, like Cyborg She and The Clone Returns Home, as well as many others I would love to see but never have, like Rough Cut and 8th Wonderland. There are even some I would go to just because of the silly titles, like Lesbian Vampire Killers. It doesn’t hurt any that Montreal has near-perfect weather in July.

Since I don’t have the option of going there, my sights are set on something a bit more temporally restricted: Otakon 2009, the Otaku-friendly Anime Con also held every July, this year from the 17th through the 19th. It kicks off with a performance by VAMPS, and has way too many guests and events for me to go into here; visit their Guests and activities menus for a full rundown.

And finally today, I had to share this video of Guillaume Estace playing the Star Wars Cantina song on a Chapman Stick. Enjoy…