Future Film Festival
Jan. 19-23, 2005

Virtual actors, F/X, anime: the Future Film Festival screens films that tell stories about future worlds, developed by producers using the most cutting-edge technology around.

Screenings include mainstream, indie and experimental movies; the common denominator is the creative use of new digital technologies.

The most innovative film directors, and creative producers who deal with special effects and digital animation, are invited in Bologna from all over the world to screen their films, and to discuss the making of the most interesting digital productions.

The opening ceremony includes a screening of Japanese silent animated shorts with soundscapes by contemporary composer Ikue Mori.

Mori started her career as a percussionist collaborating with Arto Linsday. She started experimenting with digitized percussion rhythms in 1985, developing her own inventive and unusual style; she won a Distinctive Award for Prix Arts Electronics in 1999.

Shown above: "Immortel Ad Vitam"

This year’s special events also include an homage to comix artist Enki Bilal.

Three of his works are set to screen: "Bunker Palace Hotel" (1989), "Tykho Moon" (1997) and "Immortel Ad Vitam" (2004). Bilal’s works feature bi-dimensional worlds, where mythological figures and futuristic landscapes intersect.

Lastly, manga fans -- get ready for the cosplay masquerade on closing night.


"Back to Gaya"
And, it’s the...attack of the Keebler elves. Gaya is an imaginary world populated by very small creatures; they risk their own extinction, because Dalamite, the magic stone that enable them to survive, has been stolen.

Boo and Zino set off on a hard journey to get it back. Along the way, they find out the ghastly truth about their origins: they’re really just characters on a TV program.

"Natural City"
By the year 2080, humanity has nearly blasted itself off the planet, after a nuclear war. Cyborgs are employed as workers. Some of them, built using human DNA, start to rebel.

Future cop R is a member of the squad designed to take down rebel cyborgs. Unruly and obstinate, R clashes with top cop Noma.

Shown above: "Natural City"

R also has another problem: while tracking a female android named Rai, he falls in love with her. Unfortunately, she’s slowly dying.

R starts illegally extracting AI chips from destroyed cyborgs, selling them on the black market to earn enough money to pay off Dr. Giro, a mad scientist who’s found a way to extend Rai’s life.

Does this sound familiar? It is. "Natural City" is a Korean F/X extravaganza directly inspired by Ridley Scott’s "Blade Runner."

Fantasy tale told with puppets. Beautiful, unfriendly puppets. A bit like "Hamlet," as the main character, Prince Hal Tara, goes off on a quest to avenge the murder of his father, the Emperor of Hebalon, by their enemies, the Zeriths.

But does the danger lie without –- or within the barred gates of the city? An interesting, gloomy revenge tale for adults. The strings are the character’s link to life – once cut, they die.

Shown above: "Strings"

The idea for "Strings" hit writer/director Anders Rønnow Klarlund during a trans-Atlantic flight:

"I was 30,000 feet above ground...the aircraft was moving along high above the clouds and on the small screen in front of me, a commercial taking place in Prague was playing. It had marionette puppets as actors and I was amazed...how much expression they could display.

"I began to wonder how the world would appear, if I was a marionette, and I drew up a sketch of a marionette fleeing his enemy...I immediately felt the idea was very strong. An idea of a universe inhabited by marionettes with strings reaching all the way up to the sky, to a place where we are all connected -- and controlled.

"I promised myself that if I won the European Fantasy Film Award for ‘Possessed,’ my next project would be ‘Strings.’ The plane touched down and a few days later I was accepting the award."

"Strings" is a mesmerizing tale of adventure, loyalty and betrayal, bondage and liberation; love and war, destiny, courage and common humanity.

Nothing is what it seems in this land on the edge of time, where the threads of destiny are woven together by unseen hands.

Shown/header image: "Strings"

Find it: Future Film Festival
Via del Pratello 21/2
Bologna, Italy
Get info: +39 051 2960664

Find film festivals worldwide, in the DEC/JAN issue of "Arte Six."