Other Worlds Austin Announces 2016 Award Winners

AUSTIN, TX -- Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival wrapped up its third season today by announcing the 2016 winners for its Best Feature Audience Award, Best Short Audience Award (sponsored by Film Colossus), the Mary Shelley Award, the Cthulhies awards, and the finalists for the Screenplay Contest.

Nearly 300 films were submitted to the third-year festival. A passionate and engaged audience ultimately had to choose from 15 features and 31 shorts, all Austin premieres.

The Best Feature Audience Award winner for OWA 2016 is the World Premiere of DOMAIN, written and directed by Nathaniel Atcheson. The post-apocalyptic film follows survivors of deadly virus who wait alone in self-sustaining bunkers while the threat runs its course. Able to communicate through a networked video interface, their fragile social ecosystem is shattered when, one by one, they start mysteriously disappearing from their bunkers.

"Nathaniel Atcheson packs his tiny bunkers with so many well-developed characters and ideas that you forget it's the classic one location set-up,” says Bears Fonté, OWA Founder and Artistic Director. “He also reminds us that SciFi can explore psychological science as much as physical science, which in many ways is more thought provoking. How many people do we really need in our lives to feel part of the world? With a great script and a fantastic ensemble cast, DOMAIN deserves to play every genre festival out there. We are so overjoyed that it starts its journey here with us and that our audience saw fit to send it off with this prize."

The Best Short Audience Award winner for OWA 2016 (sponsored by Film Colossus) is MONSTERS, written by Steve Desmond and Michael Sherman and directed by Steve Desmond. The thriller MONSTERS follows Jenn, who lives in an underground bunker, protected from the monsters that daily ravage the world—until she ventures outside…

"Steve Desmond's film builds a complete world only to pull it out from under not once, but twice, in only 12 minutes, says Fonté. “Add to that a truly standout performance from Caitlin Carmichael, a star in the making, and this is easily one of the best shorts I've seen all year. I am proud to have it represent Other Worlds Austin."

The Best Feature Audience Award 2016 winner receives a $500 cash prize. The Best Short Audience Award 2016 winner receives a $250 cash prize.

Mary Shelly Award

As part as its continuing effort to discover and celebrate female voices working in the genre field, Other Worlds Austin presents the second annual Mary Shelley Award for SciFi Filmmaking, 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.

The Mary Shelley Award winner for the most innovative and most original vision for 2016 is Erin Li, director of the short film KEPLER X-47. The dark, thought-provoking film follows a woman fetched from Earth as a perfect specimen, who adjusts to her new reality in a human zoo on an alien planet. KEPLER X-47 is dedication to the mission of the award.

Nominees from this year’s programming were identified by the OWA programming team and the winner was determined by a special jury of female film industry professionals:

Anne Chaisson, Executive Director Hamptons International Film Festival

Alysia Reiner, Producer/Founder Broad Street Picture (EQUITY - Sundance Jury award winner), actress (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, SIDEWAYS, EQUITY)

Sarah Adina Smith, writer/director BUSTER'S MAL HEART, THE MIDNIGHT SWIM

Statement from the jury: “The jury is unanimous. We award the Mary Shelley prize to Erin Li for her original vision, rigorous world-building, and creative storytelling in her impressive short film, KEPLER X-47. We look forward to seeing Erin grow as a bold new voice in the SciFi genre.”

Special Mention to ALLHALLOWTIDE, Tia Salisbury (wri/dir) for a comic take on a known genre and spectacular writing.

Special Mention to THE TRIBE, Roxy Shih (dir) for outstanding ensemble acting.

The Mary Shelley Award is named for the author of Frankenstein, the original SciFi novel – a work that examines the human condition and the positive and dangerous possibilities of science. The award grants $500 to one filmmaker (of either a short or a feature) which played the Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival 2016.

To qualify, the films must either:

            * Be written and/or directed by a female, or

            * Feature complex female protagonists driving the narrative and leading the action.

Screenplay Contest Finalists

Other Worlds Austin’s ongoing mission to encourage work in Science Fiction resulted in its second annual SciFi Screenwriting Contest to reward creativity in its earliest stages and encourage writers to keep working in the genre. The contest is sponsored by No BullScript Consulting. The 2016 Finalists are:

Screenplay Short



UNDO by Tom Sanchez Prunier



THE SANDBOX (Pilot) by Jennifer Reaves Bouani, Jacqueline Nell Schumann


Screenplay Feature


DREAM MACHINE by Aaron B. Koontz, Cameron Burns, Farrell Rose

THE HERETICS by Neil L. Looker

THE TOMORROWISTS by Andres Rovira, A. Cardinal

WEEVILS by Ryan "Staples" Scott

In addition to cash prizes, winners also receive a Development Notes Phone Consultation with Danny Manus of No BullScript Consulting, a top 15 script consultant according to Creative Screenwriting. In addition, Manus has agreed to offer a $25 discount to all entrants on Consulting Services like Basic and Extensive Studio Notes, Developmental Notes, and TV Pilot Notes. For a full list of services available, go to www.nobullscript.net.

Feedback will be available for all scripts entered at the writers’ request by emailing www.screenplay@otherworldsaustin.com.



In addition, Other Worlds Austin announced the winners of the Cthulhies, a series of awards given by the programming team in areas such as Script, Cinematography, Visual Effects and Acting. The winners for 2016 are:

Feature Script

Andy Mitton, WE GO ON

Feature Director

Roxy Shih, THE TRIBE

Feature Actor

Aden Young, THE UNSEEN

Feature Actress

Britt Lower, DOMAIN

Feature Cinematography

Martin Gschlacht, STILLE RESERVEN

Feature Editing

Yftah Paul Shoshan, OMG I'M A ROBOT?!

Feature Score or Music


Feature VFX


Feature Production Design

Lauren Fitzsimmons, DOMAIN

Short Script

David Gaddie, Steven Kelleher, BEAUTIFUL DREAMER

Short Director


Short Actor

Jamie Pigott, POPULACE

Short Actress


Short Cinematography

Russell Gleeson, BLIGHT

Short Editor


Short Score or Music


Short VFX

Aaron Rovner, RAE

Short Production Design

Francois Dickes, QUENOTTES


About Other Worlds Austin

Other Worlds Austin is one of the premiere SciFi film festivals in the US, championing filmmakers and writers and bringing the best films to the ‘Geek Capital of the World.’

With a diverse and approachable team of programmers, we are building a network of SciFi fans and filmmakers, leading a loyal community, and launching SciFi films into the wider world.


About Film Colossus

Co-founded by Chris Lambert and Travis Bean, Film Colossus represents a new wave of film criticism that goes beyond a synopsis and review. It is also a resource for filmmakers that shines a light on smaller, festival films that don’t get a lot of attention but have great qualities that can be learned from. With a slew of podcasts, interviews, and reviews, Film Colossus cracks open the inner world of film.  And by making connections with film festivals and people in the business, Film Colossus provides insights in to where filmmakers should send their films. For more information, go to http://filmcolossus.com/requests/


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 Danny Manus

Danny Manus is one of the most in-demand script consultants as CEO of No BullScript Consulting (www.nobullscript.net) and author of “No B.S. for Screenwriters: Advice from the Executive Perspective.” He was ranked one of the Top 15 “Cream of the Crop” script consultants in CS Magazine and named one of ScreenCraft’s “25 People Writers Should Follow on Twitter”. 

Manus was previously the Director of Development for Clifford Werber Productions (Cinderella Story, Sydney White), where he sold “To Oz” to United Artists. He was also Development Consultant for Eclectic Pictures (Lovelace) and the DOD at Sandstorm Films (The Covenant, 8MM2), which had a first look deal at Screen Gems. HeDanny is a columnist for ScriptMag, a judge four years running for the PAGE Awards, and has been a speaker at Austin Film Festival, Kansas City Film Fest, and well over a dozen other major writing conferences.