Other Worlds Austin Announces Closing Night Film and Mary Shelley Award Finalists

Other Worlds Austin announces the Closing Night film for Austin’s first and only SciFi film festival (Dec 3-5). EMBERS, a Texas premiere, will screen at 7:30pm and 8:00pm on Saturday, December 5 at the Galaxy Highland Theatres. Other Worlds Austin also announces the finalists for the inaugural Mary Shelly Award.

Filled with intense performances and breathtaking cinematography, EMBERS is the rare science fiction film that excels in its lack of exposition. An atmospheric tone poem in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, EMBERS captures the human condition, stripped away of everything but personality and instinct.


Embers (Texas Premiere)


Claire Carré | USA | 86 min

Writers: Claire Carré, Charles Spano

Cast: Jason Ritter, Iva Gocheva, Greta Fernández, Tucker Smallwood, Karl Glusman, Dominique Swain

Synopsis: The world has moved on. In the wake of a global neurological epidemic, those who remain search for meaning and connection in a world without memory. Five interwoven stories explore life without recollection in a future that has no past. A boy longs for a role model, a young man embraces his rage, a teacher hunts for a cure, a couple clings to each other desperate to preserve their feelings, and a young woman wants nothing more than to forget.

 “Embers is a breathtaking film full of gorgeous imagery and delicate emotion,” says Bears Fonte, Founder and Director of Programming. “It is about as far away from Robots and Aliens as SciFi can get, which is probably why we are the first genre festival they are playing. If you liked THE MIDNIGHT SWIM from our Year Round Screening Series (which I think basically everyone who came did), this is your kind of Science Fiction. In this year where we unveil the Mary Shelley Award, it is especially encouraging to have such a strong film by a female writer/director as our Closing Night Film.”

About Claire Carré: Clair is currently developing the science fiction episodic series The Singularity and her second feature, The Shade of the Sea. EMBERS was selected as one of ten narrative projects in the 2014 IFP Independent Filmmaker Lab. When she’s not circumnavigating the globe as a director and editor, she is in upstate New York playing video games, writing, and practicing archery.


Mary Shelley Finalists

The finalists for the inaugural Mary Shelley Award are:

Claire Carré – writer/director, EMBERS

Nina Fog – actress, POLDER

Lucy Campbell – writer/director, THE PIG CHILD

Scarlett Moreno – writer/director/actress, VIV 1.0 or THEY MUST HAVE FORGOTTEN

Carole Brana – actress, REPLIKA and ON/OFF


EMBERS (feature)

The world has moved on. In the wake of a global neurological epidemic, those who remain search for meaning and connection in a world without memory. Five interwoven stories explore life without recollection in a future that has no past. An atmospheric tone poem in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, EMBERS captures the human condition, stripped away of everything but personality and instinct.

“Claire Carré's first feature film toys with the fanciful notion that a woman can direct, edit, and co-write a project that is thematically ambitious, visually evocative, and devastatingly relatable to us all,” says Jordan Brown, Programmer and Director of Submissions. “And she's quite successful at it. Pushing beyond gender to the broader question of what it means to be human, EMBERS presents characters trapped in a post-apocalyptic, GROUNDHOG DAY existence where memories are not retained and each day is a new, yet strangely familiar, slate.”


POLDER (feature)

Gaming company NEUROO-X is set to release a new gadget, the Red Book, which promises to scan the most secret longings of gamers and transform them into fantastic adventures. When Marcus, its Chief Development Manager, mysteriously dies before its completion, his lover Ryuko searches inside the game for clues. The deeper she enters the digital world, the more she rewrites NEUROO-X’s programmed narrative, disappearing into a parallel world of demons, witches, knights, and terrorists. 

“Amongst the many characters in POLDER, it's the character of Ryuko that stands out in this surreal alternative reality of games,” says Debbie Cerda, Programmer and Outreach Director. “Mother, lover, resistance fighter–Fog rises to the challenge in her portrayal of a complex woman.”



A female scientist working in embryology carries out an illegal surrogacy using her own body, part human and part pig. Discovering that she is carrying a “pig child,” she is torn between her scientific drive and maternalistic urges. 

“The eternal question of science: just because we can, should we?” asks Brown. “Calling to mind our Award namesake's greatest work, director Lucy Campbell and writer Scout Stuart shine a light on the frightening possibilities a female scientist is afforded thanks to biology (and those useful uteruses). Protagonist Rosa sees Victor Frankenstein's bet to create unnatural life and raises the stakes by using her own body as the vessel. Girl power, indeed.”



One day in the life of ‘the perfect woman.’

“Scarlet Moreno writes, directs and stars in this dark comedy about a forgotten robot,” says Cerda. “Moreno brings a haunting tale to the screen that evokes a loneliness with which the viewer can identify—what is our role in this vast universe?”


REPLIKA (short)

Forced to terminate her only daughter, a dysfunctional 13-year-old android, a loving mother tries to convince her husband to adopt a human child. But in a materialistic and functional world, safety takes precedence over emotions. 

ON/OFF (short)

Obsessed with a mysterious voice message, astronaut Meredith must face its paradoxical condition in order to stay connected to her humanity.

“It proved a delightful surprise for us to discover that two of the films that we loved and desired to play at our festival star the same actress,” says Courtney Hazlett, Programmer and Director of Operations. “What a testament to Carole Brana's talent that her performances in both REPLIKA and ON/OFF were so remarkably different and powerful. Each film has a phenomenal story making them a must-see. REPLIKA follows a couple in a futuristic world where android children are the norm however the wife desires to adopt a human child. ON/OFF is set in space as an astronaut questions her safety, mission, and sanity. I can't speaker higher of these two films and their incredibly written lead female characters.”


This jury for this year’s Mary Shelley Awards is: 

Marjorie Baumgarten – Film Critic and Senior Editor at the Austin Chronicle, and member of the Association of Women Film Journalists

Kristy Breneman – Creative Director and Programmer for the Atlanta Film Festival, one of the largest and longest-running festivals in the country

Mynette Louie – Independent Spirit Award-Winning Producer and President at Gamechanger Films, the first for-profit film fund dedicated exclusively to financing narrative features directed by women


About the Mary Shelley Award

As part as its continuing effort to discover and celebrate female voices working in the genre field, we are proud to announce a new award for this year’s festival – the Mary Shelley Award, awarded to the best film that furthers the involvement and representation of women in the SciFi genre. This award is sponsored by Canine Productions, producers of award winning indie shorts, music videos and documentaries.

Canine Productions is thrilled to sponsor the OWA Mary Shelly Award. “Filmmakers, like all artists, thrive when they are recognized and encouraged,” says Producer Ilona Rossman Ho. “We hope this award inspires women to continue to create worlds, imagine characters and share their vision. I want my children to see strong female protagonists as the norm not the exception.”


About Canine Productions

Award winning indie shorts, music videos and documentaries. We're enthusiastic about making a difference in how women and girls are portrayed in media. We actively support women in front of and behind the camera and the men who collaborate with them. Canine Productions is located in Seattle – home to outstanding indie filmmakers.


About Other Worlds Austin

Other Worlds Austin is dedicated to bringing the best of SciFi to Austin, Texas. The festival programming team looks past budgets or the Hollywood push to find great stories and give them an Austin premiere. In addition to its year ‘round programming, the 2nd Annual Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival takes place December 3-5, 2015 at the Galaxy Highland 10. For more information, go to OtherWorldsAustin.com