Dan O'Bannon Filmmaker Award

Austin, TX -- 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.  

Free to enter, 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.

Dan O’Bannon is best known as the creative force and screenwriter behind ALIEN, but his work on TOTAL RECALL, SCREAMERS, and HEAVY METAL further cemented his place in the SciFi pantheon. He even did special effects on the original STAR WARS.  His first film, the John Carpenter SciFi cult classic DARK STAR, found him taking on the roles of writer, special effects, editor, production design and actor. 

“In naming the grant after O’Bannon,” says Bears Fonté, OWA Founder and Artistic Director, “we can think of no better artist that better exemplifies the drive and singular determination it takes to make a SciFi film, and that’s what this award is for, to help someone with that drive.

O’Bannon was born in Missouri, where he made his first SciFi film, THE ATTACK OF THE 50-FT CHICKEN. At USC he met John Carpenter and the two colloborated on a short, then a feature about a space clean up crew called DARK STAR. After a few other SciFi gigs, he ended up writing ALIEN, one of the most important and influential SciFi films of all time.

Diana O’Bannon, Dan’s widow, thinks Dan would enjoy that OWA’s other award is named for Marry Shelley, saying “I will never forget Dan and I seeing her screen credit, as ‘Mrs. Percy B. Shelley’ while watching the old Frankenstein film!  I'm glad, as Dan would be, that you are getting it right about writers, and I'm certain he would be thrilled to be included in your festival.” The O’Bannon Company is co-sponsoring the award with Other Worlds Austin.

“It is our wish to be able to help bring more quality SciFi into the world,” says Fonté, “by contributing to an artist who shows promise, skill, and creativity, as well as to encourage the exciting Texas film scene. Film festivals have always been great curators of content. With this grant, we can help give back to the filmmaking community that has given us so much joy with their artistry.”  

Link for rules, information, and to submit: www.otherworldsaustin.com/other-worlds-austin-dan-obannon-filmmaking-award

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. An independent panel of esteemed professionals from the Austin film community will convene to review applications. The panel includes:


Jim Brunzell, Festival Programmer

Jim Brunzell III is the Program Director for the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF) in Austin, Texas, as well as festival director for the music film festival Sound Unseen in the Twin Cities, MN, and lead programmer for the Flyway Film Festival in Stockholm & Pepin, WI. He is also a film journalist whose work has appeared in Twin Cities Daily Planet, Star Tribune, City Pages, 89.3 the Current, MinnPost and Hammer to Nail where he has covered Sundance, Toronto, SXSW, True/False, Fantastic Fest, Seattle, Tribeca, MSPIFF and Chicago international film festivals. He has served on festival juries in Newport Beach, Milwaukee, Nashville, Knoxville and Bend, OR. He is also a big sports nerd.


Meredith Johns, SFX Artist and Production House Executive

Meredith Johns was born and raised in Austin, TX. She grew up in a family of artists ranging from ceramics and oil painting to woodworking and lampwork bead making. Sculpting, painting, and constantly pursuing outlets for her creativity was a part of life for Meredith, so it’s not surprising that she sought out an artistic career. She met business partner Carolyn O’Hara on set and abandoned her budding graphic design career to start Hawgfly Productions, Inc. Her favorite part of her job as a makeup artist is the constant challenge that new projects present and the exciting results of hard work and great ingenuity. Meredith was nominated for a 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for her makeup work on Temple Grandin. Some of Meredith’s other credits include Stoker (SFX Makeup Artist), Machete Kills (Key SFX Prosthetics Makeup), Mission Park (Makeup Department Head), Machete (SFX Makeup Department Head), True Grit (Makeup), Friday the 13th – Part XII (Prop Fabricator), Exit Speed (Key SFX Makeup), and Teeth (Makeup).


Jean Ann Lauer, Fest Programmer/Director

Jean joined the staff at Cine Las Americas in preparation for the 2009 festival, bringing with her a dedication to the development and promotion of independent and international film. She enjoys working with a talented and diverse team at Cine, to curate and present selections of Latin@, American Indigenous, and Ibero-American film and media, during the annual festival and other events throughout the year.


Andrew Matthews, Filmmaker

Andrew Matthews is an Austin filmmaker whose recent film Zero Charisma, which he wrote and co-directed, won the Narrative Spotlight Audience Award at SXSW 2013 and will be released by Tribeca Film and the Nerdist Industries in mid-October. He is also the editor of the award- winning documentaries Best Worst Movie and The American Scream (winner, Best Documentary, Fantastic Fest 2012).


Mike Saulters, Journalist

Herding programmers by day and slinging words by night, Mike came to Austin twenty years ago hoping to make movies. After the requisite seven years to complete a CS degree at UT, he found he was perfectly happy watching and writing about them while working separately in a field that's much more suited to keeping bills paid. He has contributed scores of reviews for Ain't It Cool News writing under the nom-de-clavier Augustus Gloop, mostly festival coverage for AFF, SXSW and Fantastic Fest.


Tishuan Scott, Actor

An Oprah Winfrey Scholar, Tishuan attended Morehouse College, where he matriculated towards earning his Bachelor of Arts in Drama and Psychology in 2002. He then attended the University of California - Los Angeles School of Theater, Film & Television, as a Lloyd Bridges/MGM Outer Limits Fellow, where he received his Master of Fine Arts in Acting in 2006.

Tishuan was awarded the 2013 SXSW Breakthrough Performance - Special Jury Recognition for Acting in his star turning lead role as "Nate," a freedman gravedigger for the Federal Union Army in THE RETRIEVAL by Chris Eska. Scott also plays "Keneiloe," a Ghanaian Guru, in Andrew Bujalski's 2013 Sundance Alfred P. Sloan Award Winner, COMPUTER CHESS.


Christine Thompson, Journalist

Christine Thompson is the Publisher and Editor of AMFM Magazine, a film and music editorial that has had nearly 15 million views since its inception.  She is a music and film enthusiast, having produced award-winning indie shorts for AMFM Studios, LLC since 2003.  AMFM Magazine was started in order to give voice to the Indie Artist of all persuasions, music, film, literary, and others.  She is a third-culture kid (military brat) and spent most of her formative years in Europe until attending the University of Tennessee, where she received a degree in Communications.


About Dan O’Bannon

Dan O’Bannon (1946-2009) was a highly acclaimed science fiction/horror film screenwriter. Best known for writing the blockbuster hit ALIEN and the zombie fest THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, which he also directed, O’Bannon went on to write TOTAL RECALL, INVADERS FROM MARS (1986), SCREAMERS, and many other SciFi films. O'Bannon helped create the animated feature HEAVY METAL writing two of its segments ("Soft Landing" and "B-17") and even did computer animation and graphic display work on STAR WARS.


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.