Mini Profile: Jean Anne Lauer, Dan O'Bannon Filmmaker Award Juror

Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival is excited to announce that it will award a $1,500 grant for the production or post-production of a short film to an emerging Texas filmmaker who exhibits an equal passion for Science Fiction.  

The Other Worlds Austin Dan O'Bannon Filmmaker Award will be gifted to a filmmaker whose proposed short film follows our mission statement’s explanation of a phenomenal SciFi film: a great story that isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of the audience, thrilling them both visually and intellectually.

An independent panel of esteemed professionals from the Austin film community will convene to review applications. The panel includes: Jim Brunzell, Festival Programmer; Meredith Johns, SFX Artist and Production House Executive; Jean Ann Lauer, Fest Programmer/Director; Andrew Matthews, Filmmaker; Mike Saulters, Journalist; Christine Thompson, Journalist; and Tishuan Scott, Actor. 

In time for the October 15 deadline to submit your application, we take a closer look at juror Jean Anne Lauer and her SciFi inklings:

Jean Anne Lauer’s love of SciFi can be traced back to the book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien, which was a prized RIF acquisition and which she read at least a million times. Also as a child, she regularly watched such classics as Fantastic Voyage (Dir. Fleischer), fell in love with Kurt Russell in The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (Dir. Butler), and never missed an opportunity to see The Absent Minded Professor (Dir. Stevenson). Jean’s tastes evolved to appreciate more sophisticated SciFi through the years, with her favorite author being Iain M. Banks. TV shows of note include Doctor Who and Torchwood, Firefly, The X-Files, Battlestar Galactica (reboot), Futurama, and Fringe, to name a few. And… films she is most likely to make people sit down and watch if they haven’t ever before… Open Your Eyes (Dir. Amenábar), Delicatessen (Dirs. Caro & Jeunet), The Fifth Element (Dir. Besson), Time Crimes (Dir. Vigalondo), Metropolis (Dir. Lang), and Mutant Action (Dir. de la Iglesia). Obviously, she’s quite obsessed with dystopias and science gone awry.

What about the SciFi genre interests you the most?

I am a big fan of allegory as a way to tell stories that are entertaining and thought provoking, and SciFi is a genre that allows for inventiveness plus social commentary all in one. SciFi has the possibility of broaching moral and ethical questions at the limits of human potential and human creativity, positing what “could be” and allowing for reflection on those issues. Many of the questions posed in SciFi stories arguably or directly apply to contemporary issues. Because they are presented in the guise of Science “Fiction,” it creates a comfortable distance between “us” (real world) and “them” (fictional scenario), which can facilitate discussion about difficult topics. Alternately, allegories can provide for fun extrapolation and dreaming of what positive changes the future could bring for us.

Who would your SciFi parents be and why?

Mom: Sarah Conner from Terminator 2. She’s a bad ass, doesn’t take shit from anyone, and stands by her convictions to protect those she cares about (and by extension, the human race). Dad: Commander/Admiral Adama from Battlestar Galactic (reboot). Also a bad ass, who makes hard choices to save humanity even during times of personal sacrifice, earns the respect of those around him, and rises above it all.

The deadline for all applications is October 15, 2016.  The grant winner will be announced in the fall with OWA’s film lineup and posted on our website at that time. Click here to apply.