The First-Ever New York Sci-Fi Film Festival Will Feature VR Movies

Wednesday, 18 January 2017 - 10:15AM
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 - 10:15AM
The First-Ever New York Sci-Fi Film Festival Will Feature VR Movies
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Image credit: YouVisit Studios
With Hollywood sci-fi, you pretty much know what you're going to get: a reboot (Star Trek), a sequel (Blade Runner: 2049), or a film adaptation of a book (The Martian). If you want something mind-blowing, something bizarre or new or just unexpected (like Ex Machina, Her, or Moon), then you're better off going straight to the source: a legit film festival. Not something hoity-toity and expensive like Cannes or Sundance—we're talking a sci-fi film festival, where fans of fantasy, horror, and science fiction can go and check out sweet indie films and even VR movies.

Enter the New York Sci-Fi Film Festival, the Big Apple's very own celebration of indie sci-fi, whose inaugural showing is happening this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Manhattan. NYSFFF will be a combination of screenings, panels, sci-fi retrospectives and installation/exhibitions, including a virtual reality block. According to Dan Abella, the festival director, "The VR program is as visually stunning as it is technically advanced. It is being held at The Roxy Hotel, which is one of the most classy venues in the city for filmmakers and film-goers to have great conversations and network after the screenings."

More details are below!

Films to Check Out

According to Dan, the Philip K. Dick Sci-Fi Film Festival he's been organizing since 2012 couldn't accommodate all the amazing films they were receiving, so he and the team decided to create a new festival that would focus on horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and supernatural films, with a special eye on reflecting New York's unique diversity. "New York deserves its own science fiction festival," Dan says. So here are some of the films to look forward to—our eye is on Dryad and UFOs in Zacapa:

Shorts Films:
  • Nicholas Valaskatgis's Uncanny Harbor (2015) follows a man blamed for his wife's disappearance
  • Coralie Fargeat's Reality+ (2014) tells the story of characters who are able to see themselves with perfect physiques thanks to a brain chip
  • Thomas Vernay's Dryad (2016) is "an atmospheric and mystical tale" 


  • Ian Truitner's Teleios (2016) tells the story of genetically-engineered humans who must survive a space mission
  • Marcos Machado's UFOs in Zacapa (2016) is about a UFO television show that discovers the boundaries between faith and the truth
  • Jay Cheel's documentary How To Build a Time Machine (2016) is about "two men, one being Ronald Mallet, who is a scientist and professor at University of Connecticut, and they are working on building a time machine."

Here are some preview images from (left to right) Reality+, Teleios, and Dryad:
Images credits: Mezzanine, actor Samuel Trépanier (left), P3 Post, Thousand Mile Media (center), Cumulus and Origine Films (right)

According to Dan, he started watching sci-fi with the classics: "My earliest recollections of science fiction were the classic films The Fly starring Vincent Price, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers." What does he recommend now? "For indie sci-fi, I'd say the films Pi, Primer and The Mist in the Palm Trees." 

The VR Films

NYSFFF is going to explore everything from space dramas to horror, but it's one thing to watch a movie—what about living it? According to Dan, the VR lineup this year is meant to allow fans to "experience these different worlds and mindsets." Some of the films to watch for in the VR block are: 

  • Aldo Romero's The Probe (2016)
  • Ryan Hartsell's I'll Make You Bleed (2016)
  • Pierre Zandrowicz's I, Philip (2016)
  • Ben Leonberg's Dead Head (2016)
  • Philipp Maas and Dominik Stockhausen's Sonar (2014)

You can see images from I, Phillip and Dead Head below!

Images credits: ARTE France, Fatcat Films, Saint-George (left), YouVisit Studios (right)

Things To Know Before You Go

This is the inaugural New York Sci-Fi Film Festival—the first ever. The festival spans three days (Friday, Jan 20th—Sunday Jan 22nd), as well as a number of locations—you can see the programming schedule here. Three-day tickets are $35 (you can get those here), and for this week only, you can get $10 tickets to any single event at this link! There's also a free pre-festival party at 7PM on Thursday, January 19th at Lovecraft Bar NYC—a bar inspired by the work of sci-fi writer H.P. Lovecraft!

Keep an eye out for OP—we'll be the ones walking around the festival with press passes and the 3D glasses.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies