By DANIEL M. KIMMEL
Is Somerville the science fiction capital of Massachusetts? Perhaps not, but this Saturday the Etheria Film Festival has it is debut – indeed, its world premiere – as a showcase for short fantasy and science films by women filmmakers. It joins the New England Science Fiction Association in Magoun Square and the annual 24 Hour Science Fiction Film Marathon (which has expanded into a weeklong festival) in February at the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square.
The Etheria Festival grew out of a Los Angeles horror film festival that played last year in Somerville. This year its local co-directors, Somerville resident Chris Hallock and his business partner Mike Snoonian, are showcasing short fantasy and science fiction films. They worked with the Los Angeles group in selecting the films but, according to Hallock, “They didn’t have the resources to have the premiere there.”
The event, to be held at the Somerville Theatre, begins Sept. 15 with a free showing of the documentary “We Are All Cylons,” about the TV series “Battlestar Galactica,” at 4 p.m. Director Ilana Rein will take questions following the screening of the 45-minute film. This will be followed by a free reception.
The main 90-minute program of fantasy films will be shown at 7 p.m. followed by a 90-minute program of science fiction films at 9 p.m. Tickets for the separate events are $10, or $15 for both. There will be an after party at Red Bones at 11 p.m.
Asked what distinguishes the fantasy from the science fiction, Hallock explained, “I think for science fiction we tried to really focus on what you would call speculative fiction with a science element to it. The fantasy films definitely have the quality of a fairy tale.” He said it’s important to showcase women filmmakers in these genres because the films are getting made but they don’t always attract attention in Hollywood.
Films in the program are from the US, Canada, Australia, Italy and Mexico. Hallock says the plan is to take the program to other cities and make it an annual event.
Details about the films and tickets can be found at http://www.etheriafilmfestival.com/.
Daniel M. Kimmel is a movie critic and the author of five books including his most recent, Jar Jar Binks Must Die… and other observations about science fiction movies (Fantastic Books), which was a nominee for the Hugo Award. He is a Somerville resident.