Feb. 14, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
The Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) in Astoria will be showing several science fiction films in March as part of an annual festival in New York and California that pays homage to Phillip K. Dick, the prolific author of the genre.
The museum will host the opening day of the seventh annual Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival, a six-day event that showcases short films created by independent filmmakers that embody the themes of Dick’s work.
Dick, who died in 1982 at 53, is most known for novels like “The Man in the High Castle,” “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,” and “A Scanner Darkly”. His works have also inspired productions like “Blade Runner” and “Minority Report”.
The bi-coastal festival will have 14 short films screened in two two-hour blocks at the 35th Avenue museum on March 7, with each work touching on philosophical, social and political subjects, much like Dick’s works. Question and answer sessions will follow at the end of each block.
The first block, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. will feature films like “The Last Office” (2018), directed by Trevor Hoover, about a 1940’s switchboard operator that comes into contact with someone from a past life, as well as “To Be Forgotten” (2018) directed by Masa Gibson, about a recovering drug addict who is offered the opportunity to be erased from the memory of the natural world.
The second block of films, shown from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., is dedicated to International Sci-Fi films and include an expressionist film, “N” (2018), directed by Iacopo Di Girolamo from Italy and a psychedelic piece, “I Want to Kill” (2017), directed by Dan Yaden.
The next day of the festival will take place on March 9 at the Producers Club in Manhattan, and is divided into six blocks of film to be shown under categories like Japanese Anime feature, horror and sci-fi short films, and feature length films.
The festival will then travel to California, a first for the event, as a result of the organizers partnering with a arts group based in Santa Ana, the last place Dick lived.
The west coast portion of the event will screen several short documentaries and films under the sci-fi genre, and will also announce the winning films of the Multicultural Dystopian/Sci Fi Short Film Challenge, submitted by traditionally underrepresented sci-fi filmmakers. Screenings will take place in Santa Ana and Los Angeles.
In all, 31 percent of the filmmakers featured in the festival were either directed or co-directed by women and minority filmmakers, which the organizers say comes after making a commitment to inclusivity.
“Science fiction is based on exploring the ‘other’ and no one is more qualified than those groups who have been marginalized to tell their story using the tools of sci-fi,” said Daniel Abella, the founder and director of the festival, in a release.
He added: “Anyone who has ever felt alienated should look up to PKD, because the heroes in his stories were everyday people attempting to retain their dignity in a progressively dehumanized world.”
Passes to the New York screenings will be made available through the PKD Film Festival’s website. A full lineup of films is also available at the site.