Taking place in Brno from 5th-9th February, this year’s festival will have the theme of “freedom”, with a special focus on the cyberpunk genre. The film program will be accompanied by lectures, quizzes, and various other treats for science-fiction fans. Photo: A classic sci-fi festival section will, among others, feature popular sci-fi adventure Total Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger / Credit: Courtesy of Future Gate Festival.

Brno, Jan 28 (BD) – The Future Gate science-fiction film festival returns to Brno for the seventh year in February, bringing the usual mix of fascinating documentaries, thought-provoking feature films, special guests, and a rich accompanying program of science-related entertainment.

Competition Prize

The competition prize for new critically-acclaimed films from the genre is a new addition to the festival this year. Six films will compete for the Future Gate festival prize, decided by an international jury in Prague, and the audience award voted for by the public in both Brno and Prague.

Color Out of Space. Starring Nicholas Cage, this psychedelic and sometimes brutal film tells the story of a family hit by a meteorite in their backyard. Image: Courtesy of Future Gate.

The jury will include: British screenwriter Chips Hardy, currently working on a screenplay of Czech writer Karel Čapek’s classic sci-fi novel War with the Newts; future Dean of Prague Film School (FAMU), Andrea Slováková; and journalist Benjamin Slavík. The winning films will receive 3D-printed statuettes made by 3D printing company Prusa Research.

The six films included in the competition are:

  • Little Joe, directed by Jessica Hausner and starring Emily Beecham, who won a Best Actress award at Cannes. The film depicts a plant breeder who develops a strain of plants that can bring happiness to humans.
  •  Vivarium, directed by Lorcan Finnegan, an artistic allegory for the cycle of consumer society, focusing on a young family played by Jessie Eisenberg and Imogen Poots.
  • Synchronic, directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead and starring Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie as emergency response staff who increasingly encounter strange accidents associated with the use of a new drug called Synchronic.
  • Color Out of Space, an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s story of the same name, directed by cult director Richard Stanley. Starring Nicholas Cage, this psychedelic and sometimes brutal film tells the story of a family hit by a meteorite in their backyard.
  • H0us3, an intelligent conversational drama directed by Spanish director Manolo Munguio in his debut. The film uncovers our concerns about artificial intelligence and covers topics such as the Internet of Things and hacking. The director will attend the Prague screening of the film.
  • Last Dawn (“Zui Hou De Ri Chu”), a Chinese independent film from 30-year-old director Wen Ren, who made his first feature film for just $250,000. This breathtaking, visually captivating spectacle delivers a socially sensitive and subtle social critique.

The festival will also include three other new films that are not entered into the competition.

Classic Sci-Fi and Documentaries

The rest of the festival’s screening program will cover the twin themes of this year’s Future Gate: freedom, and cyberpunk. According to festival organizer Filip Schauer, “Cyberpunk culture in film production often provides a mirror to modern society. Here, technology is not only used to improve the lives of individuals, but is often misused for greater control of the population, such as the restriction of personal or social freedoms. We would like to draw attention to current and possible future problems related to modern technologies and their possible misuse.”

Classic sci-fi features on show will include Total Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, the iconic Japanese film Tetsuo, and Mamoru Oshi’s classic anime sequel, Ghost in The Shell 2: Innocence. The documentary section will screenings informative films about artificial intelligence, the production of humanoid robots and androids, and transhumanism, accompanied by introductory lectures by Czech scientists.

Accompanying Program

The festival will as usual include a rich accompanying program focusing on topics of interest to festival goers. This year’s theme of freedom has been inspired by the struggles of local people around the world for their rights. The topic of media freedom will be addressed by journalist Jindřich Šídlo, in conversation with Olga Lomová, an academic expert in China. For schools, there will be a screening of a film on cyberbullying, with a follow-up discussion with second-grade elementary school pupils, to help them defend themselves and avoid bullying in the online world, in cooperation with the National Cyber ​​Security Office. Kurt van der Basch will lead a free workshop for young storyboarders. And for those with a competitive streak, there will be two pub quizzes on the theme of computer games and movies.

Dutch composer and lute player Jozef van Wissem will also be a guest of the festival. An innovative player of a traditional instrument, van Wissem won an award at Cannes for his soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch’s film, Only Lovers Left Alive. He will perform his new album, “Ex Mortis”, at a double concert in Prague and Brno. The Brno concert will take place on 5th February at 8pm at the Brno Planetarium with a full-dome stellar projection.

The festival program will also be complemented by post-screening discussions with film critics and academics. The festival has invited a number of top Czech scientists, who will give some context to the documentary films that are screened. Professor Michal Filip and Professor Roman Jašek will speak about the film I Am Human, on the topic of transhumanism (improving the human body with technical implants). Professor Václav Jirsík and Professor František Šolc, after the screening of the film Robolove, will reflect on issues related to the combining of robotics and artificial intelligence, including from the perspective of love. After the screening of Apollo 11, Dušan Majer will speak about the significant anniversary of the first man landing on the moon.

Official poster. Photo credit: Studio Incendo / Courtesy of Future Gate Festival

For more information on the festival, check out the festival Facebook page or the official website. You can find out more about the post-film discussions here (in Czech), and the accompanying program here.

Brno Daily is a media partner of FUTURE GATE FESTIVAL in Brno.

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