The 2018 Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival is ready for a Queens experiment, and it might include trans-humans, future dystopias and surreal twilight zones.

The sixth-annual extravaganza will take place mainly in Manhattan’s Village Cinema East this weekend, but some of the fun will unfold at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District.

Director Elias Ganster will screen and discuss his “Ayla” at the museum on Friday, Feb. 23, at 6:30 p.m. Ditto for director Michael Melski and his “The Child Remains” on Saturday, Feb. 24, at the same time. Both thrillers will be in the Bartos Screening Room, and tickets cost $15.

Released in 2017 and inspired by a Tibetan myth, “Ayla” follows a man who is haunted by the mysterious death of his 4-year-old sister. After obsessing for 30 years, he brings her back to life as a child with an adult woman’s body. The consequences are dire.

“The Child Remains,” which also came out in 2017, is inspired by the true story of the Butterbox Babies in Nova Scotia in the 1920s through 1940s. The psychological horror begins in a country inn where an expectant couple endeavors to enjoy an intimate weekend together. Their plans go awry after they discover that the secluded getaway is actually a haunted maternity home where unwanted infants and mothers were murdered.

In total, the festival will present more than 50 movies, including a few premieres, along with panel discussions and virtual reality installations. Industry heavyweights such as Melvin Van Peebles, Armand Assante, Charles Bakers and Vincent Pastore will attend as well as scientists and tech experts.

The weekend’s honoree and namesake, Philip Kindred Dick, was a prolific 20th-century sci-fi writer who published 44 novels and at least 121 short stories. He was known for saying, “The core of my writing is not art but truth.”

For most of his life, he toiled below the radar, contributing mostly to science magazines. However, his tome “The Man in the High Castle” won a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1963. Afterward, his career picked up, and 11 popular box office smash movies – including “Blade Runner,” “Total Recall” and “Minority Report” – were based on his work.

Sea creatures and marine biologists

The museum will host a similar-but-unrelated event, Of the Deep: Films by the Department of Tropical Research, on Sunday, Feb. 25, at 2 p.m.

Rarely seen documentary clips of ocean dives by famed ecologist William Beebe will show while multi-instrumentalist High Water performs. The black-and-white scenes offer views of the world’s marine landscape about 80 years ago.

Then, Fabien Cousteau — an oceanographic explorer who grew up on ships with his grandfather, Jacques Cousteau — will participate in a related discussion with Howard Rosenbaum, who runs the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Ocean Giants Program, and New York Aquarium Director Jon Forrest Dohlin.

With expertise in sharks and coral reefs, Cousteau has helped produce television specials such as “Attacks of the Mystery Shark” (National Geographic), “Mind of a Demon” (CBS) and “Ocean Adventures” (PBS).

Tickets are $15 as well.

Images: The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival


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