News / 09 February 2023


MELBOURNE SCIENCE FICTION FILM FESTIVAL returns to Cinema Nova from February 24 – 26 and with it brings two World Premieres, three International Premieres and eight Australian Premieres along with some Cult Classics.

From The Maestro of Ozploitation mayhem, director Brian Trenchard Smith, comes DEAD END DRIVE-IN, the raucous dystopian action-adventure fever dream that has grown in cult status around the world since it first bewildered audiences in 1986. Cited by Quentin Tarantino as his favourite Down Under genre film, this snapshot of punkish ‘80s attitude has been afforded a 2K Remaster from Umbrella Entertainment. It will screen with the World Premiere of the music video ‘Beerbarian’ from Teutonic thrash metal band Tankard, an animated work produced by Animation and Interactive Media design students at Melbourne’s RMIT.
Having its Australian Premiere at the Melbourne Science Fiction Film Festival will be THE IMPACT, a project overseen by Chris Jones, Creative Director of the London Screenwriters Festival. Featuring narrative strands from short films made by 37 directors and 66 screenwriters worldwide, THE IMPACT presents a global perspective on how Earth’s final hours are spent as an extinction-level asteroid hurtles towards mankind. The credit list is a world record for a feature film production, a project that has been eight years in the making.
The festival will open with the International Premiere of Dana Kippel’s feature directorial debut, REFLECT, a gripping, mysterious, challenging U.S. indie vision that encapsulates the metaphysical beliefs of the filmmaker, who also wrote and stars. It will screen alongside the World Premiere of The Beginning, the new short from Australian filmmaker Jonathan Adams. Both films explore mind manipulation and skewed beliefs that set their female protagonists on surreal, life-changing journeys.
Other features in the program include:

    Dir: Alê Camargo, Camila Carrossine | Brazil | 95 mins | Australian Premiere
    Two deep-space adventurers face giant robots, savage aliens and carnivorous trains on a perilous journey to the Forbidden World. From Brazil’s artistically groundbreaking animation studio Buba Filmes comes an old-school action-adventure romp rendered in a stunning meld of traditional cell and cutting-edge CGI animation.

    1984 | Dir: Nick Castle | USA | 101 mins
    Featuring spacecraft conjured from the mind of production design legend, the late Ron Cobb, The Last Starfighter is both a rousing ode to the early days of CGI effects wizardry and a timeless adventure for the whole family. Clearly an inspiration for crowd pleasers like Galaxy Quest and Guardians of the Galaxy, The Last Starfighter is a charming, thrilling, ‘feel good’ piece of ‘80s Hollywood entertainment for all ages.

    Dir: Aaron Stevenson | Australia | 97 mins | Theatrical Premiere
    Aaron Stevenson’s fusion of science fiction, mysticism, and post-apocalyptic fantasy holds a unique place in Australia’s film culture. Shot at Lake Mungo, Broken Hill and other locations around Australia, The Rare Earth relies on practical effects work and in-camera technical prowess to tell a story that engages both the hearts and minds of fans of vivid world-building and dystopian landscapes.

    Dir: Takayuki Ohashi | Japan | 145 mins | Australian Premiere
    Takayuki Ohashi’s film encompasses two overlapping narratives. In modern day Setouchi, three sisters are reunited and the reaffirmation of their shared love is crucial; in two months, a meteor will destroy the planet. The sisters recall memories that help to strengthen their resilience and ease their anxiety as the end draws near. A beautifully meditative storytelling experience; a breathtakingly lovely, heartbreakingly moving piece of speculative cinema.

    Dir: Derick Muller | South Africa | 90 mins | Victorian Premiere
    On 1 December 1967, an unidentified object landed on a farm in the Karoo in rural South Africa. Two days later, four Republican Intelligence agents, equipped with Super 8 and 16mm cameras, arrive to investigate the phenomenon. What follows is all the footage that remains of a moment in history that defies belief; a mystery that challenges the “absolute truth” about our existence here on earth.

Short film selections highlight some of Victoria’s best speculative filmmaking talent, including Finley Bishop (SUFFOCATE), Anne-Marie D’Angelo (PERFECTION), Alice Jao (SUMPTER), Izzi Harris (NOT FOR YOU TO SEE) and Olivier Bonenfant (WHY NO). Their works will be joined by visionary works from China (Jias Liu’s WHEN THE SUN RISES, THE MOON SHINES); Spain (Marta Casielle’s UFO); Brazil (QUARTZO, by Evandro Caixeta and João Gilberto Lara); Sweden (Farhad Bakhtiarikish’s RIFT); and, two from the USA (Michael Lavine’s DARK ODYSSEY 2: ICE NEXUS, and Joshua Ashish Dawson’s SPA SYBARITE).

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