Saturday, February 24, 2018


I went to the "International Sci-Fi Shorts 2" portion of the Philip K. Dick Film Festival for Nicki Clyne and "Personal Space," and stayed for "Nano," "The Last Protester," and other short films. Nicki played Cally on "Battlestar Galactica," and she and her late "BSG" colleague, Richard Hatch (Tom Zarek in the modern take, and Apollo in the original "BSG," for which I still have a soft spot), star in "Personal Space," a Web series that is deservedly coming to Amazon Video next weekend.

The first three episodes were screened at the festival, and they were a lot of fun! Clyne plays Gail Gartner, the incoming commander of the "second shift" of the generation ship Overture; Hatch is the first shift's commander, stalling his trip to cryo because he doesn't think the new shift (and its commander) can handle the responsibilities... and probably also because he doesn't want to let go of command. It was bittersweet to see him on-screen in one of his last roles, with the character resisting the order to turn over the ship and leave. Definitely looks like a fun show, though, with the hook being that the crew of the ship are unaware that their sessions with Ami, the "therapy computer," are being broadcast as a reality TV show back on Earth.

The five short films that were screened after "Personal Space" were all excellent, too. William Minsky's "Resonance" deals with a future where no one really sleeps, or dreams, anymore, and stars Briana Rayner. Mike Manning's "Nano," starring Brooke Butler, imagines a world where mandatory mobile-phone upgrades synched with bio-nanotechnology mean there's an app for just about everything, including changing your hair and eye color on the fly... and allowing law enforcement to temporarily paralyze their adversaries. Nicole Castillo's "The Last Protester" shows us yet another bleak future state where books are forbidden and smuggling them in is punishable by death, with Joe Duffy as a regime stalwart loyal to Elizabeth Lambert's Ambrose. "Sound from the Deep," directed by Antti Laakso and Joonas Allonen, is a rare venture into Lovecraftian territory (without directly adapting any of his stories, though there's definitely an "At the Mountains of Madness" vibe, with some "Dagon" thrown in) that has the right feel; it stars Lasse Fagerström and Eero Ojala. Lastly, Daniel Andrew Wunderer's "Shelter" stars Alexander E. Fennon as a man taking, well, shelter. And coming across the body of a boy with some odd wounds...

After all the films had been shown, Nicki Clyne and "Personal Space" producer Jeff Hammer talked a little about the show and took some questions. It was nice to learn that Nicki is also involved with the Knife Media, which "strips news of spin so it's just the news." Gods know we need less spin and more facts these days, all around.

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