Guest: Daniel Abella
Being human after all is more than the theme to a popular robot rock song, it is the cornerstone for the Speculative Science Fiction genre that is becoming more and more popular in both film and written works. On this week’s episode of The Malliard Report, Jim shifts from the traditional repertoire and welcomes a very special (and very busy) guest, Daniel Abella. Already in its fourth year, Daniel oversees the operations for the Philip K Dick Film Festival: an independent film festival that showcases up and coming film makers in the Science Fiction genre that is quickly gaining international notoriety by hosting events in France, Poland, and the US. The festival is inspired by the works of Philip K Dick who was a science fiction writer from 1952 – 1982 and was the inspiration behind great films such as “Blade Runner”, “Total Recall”, “A Scanner Darkly”, and many others.
Following a brief introduction, Daniel and Jim quickly dive into what exactly “Speculative Science Fiction” is and how it plays into the overall Sci-Fi world. Unlike the traditional “hard-lined” Sci-Fi, the speculative category delves more into the human aspect of it all. Instead of focusing on the great powers of the super hero, the internal struggles of the hero may be highlighted, or rather than the eventual hostile AI takeover, a story may be based on the seemingly minute, but devastating effects that technology is having on the human race. Speculative Science Fiction has a tendency to take on many of the philosophical fundamentals such as what it means to be human, who are we, what is reality, how to remain human in a dehumanized world, and breaks them down into an understandable and entertaining format.
After the informative breakdown of the subject matter, Jim begins to poke into Daniel’s personal interests and thoughts on the current state of the Science Fiction genre as a whole and some of the submissions to the festival. Daniel openly admits that he is a personal fan of the “old school” when it comes to film making, but states that there are a number of animation films that are a cut above the rest. One animated short that was a submission to the festival that really stood out to Daniel was “The Looking Planet” and for good reason; this is a fantastic film. “The Looking Planet” is available for viewing online and would recommend taking some time to view it. Jim and Daniel also discuss how Sci-Fi has helped bring the paranormal into the “mainstream” (this has been both a good thing and a bad thing) and how the festival itself has become a fantastic platform for artistic creation that does not stray too far from reality. As Daniel states “Science Fiction is the science of the future.”
The conversation quickly shifts into the quality of the movies being made today, trends that are on the horizon, and those that have come and gone. Jim and Daniel both acknowledge that while film production has become somewhat simpler in use, the quality still holds to superb levels. The challenge however is in the storytelling itself; creating new and interesting ideas to keep the people entertained. This brings about the subject of the film trends that are being noticed, and the (in some cases much needed) phase out of others. Daniel states that there is no real stand out theme this year, but is seeing an increase in movies that focus on the technological impact on the human race and the blurring of realities. Cliché’s seem to be fading out, and new, exciting storytelling is beginning to come forward.
Unfortunately the interview has to be cut short due to the limited battery life of cell phones, but before Jim and Daniel part ways they are able to cover the success and growth of the festival, hopes for future festivals, the new Star Wars movie, and the revival of the X-Files. One point that Daniel makes before the end that really stands out is that at the end of the day it is not about movies, stories, festivals, etc. but rather people coming together and connecting over a common interest.
The last segment of the show is the duck flying solo, and this gives Jim the opportunity to cover a few of the great things that are coming in the new year, and reminisce on the highlights of the past five years. Yes folks, that is right. 2016 will see the five year anniversary of The Malliard Report and it just so happens that it actually falls on a Tuesday as well, so it should be a good time all around. You may have noticed the new intro, the slick website re-design, but the outro by the late Scott Blight still sends us off in a classy fashion because hey, why change a good thing right? Finally, a special “Thank You” to each and every one of you. You are the reason that we do what we do; why we make the films, why we do the podcasts, why we host the festivals but this is not all us. You are just as a big player in this as any one of us. Go to the festivals, leave reviews, thoughts, ideas on the podcast forums, and share with your friends and family. This gives us the opportunity to change direction, make the genre bigger, and just make the content better as a whole. You are the reason that this show is THE Fastest Hour in Paranormal Talk Radio and we thank you.
For information on the festival or how to get tickets, go to: www.thephilipkdickfilmfestival.com
The fantastic animated short “The Looking Planet” can be found here: