Trieste Science + Fiction 2018: Jam-Packed Lineup Includes OVERLORD, FREAKS, THE DARK, a Healthy Focus on Italian Cinema and Much More

Contributing Writer; Belgium (@BelgianFilmBuff)
Trieste Science + Fiction 2018: Jam-Packed Lineup Includes OVERLORD, FREAKS, THE DARK, a Healthy Focus on Italian Cinema and Much More

Italian genre aficionados chomping at the bit for their annual round of fantastic cinema with sci-fi inclinations have reason to rejoice since Trieste Science + Fiction recently announced the complete program of their 18th edition (October 30 - November 4). It packs one hell of a punch!

Italy’s foremost genre festival opens and closes with hotly anticipated films in the form of Damien Chazelle’s First Man and Julius Avery’s Overlord but in between those two heavy-hitters there’s no shortage of discoveries and international favorites. Demián Rugna’s Terrified continues to make good on the promise of its title and hopes to scare the bejesus out of Italian audiences while The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion will see scientifically-engineered teens kick ass. Both films will screen out of competition alongside festival hits like Prospect and horror anthology The Field Guide to Evil.

The international competition for the best science fiction film directed by emerging directors includes Johnny Kevorkian’s Await Further Instructions, a Cronenbergian tale of paranoia and home invasion, the Emile Hirsch and Bruce Dern-starring Freaks (hot on the heels of its buzzed-about TIFF debut), but also lesser known titles such as Bill Oliver’s Jonathan, a sci-fi tale of two brothers inhabiting a single body (with Ansel Elgort playing the titular lead as well as his own brother, John). All of these and more will be vying for The Asteroide Award.

Justin Lange’s The Dark will compete against Dominique Rocher’s The Night Eats the World for a shot at Trieste’s Silver Méliès Award. Both of these character-driven films dipping into the zombie genre are joined by The Year of the Plague (Carlos Martín Ferrera’s adaptation of Marc Pastor’s bestseller), the world premiere of Paul Hyett’s Peripheral and others.

On a yearly basis Trieste Science + Fiction uses its Spazio Italia platform to showcase some of the year’s best national genre productions and 2018 is no different. Among other works, the section includes Go Home - A casa loro (by Luna Gualano), a topical and political zombie film centered on a right wing extremist in a refugee center.

This year’s career award (the Urania d'argento) will be handed out to special effects maestro Douglas Trumbull (two-time Oscar winner who is most famous for his visual contributions to 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Blade Runner [1982]). To celebrate his work as well as the fiftieth anniversary of Kubrick’s classic the restored 4K version of 2001: A Space Odyssey will screen on November 1. One day prior Trumbull will introduce Silent Running, his directorial debut from 1972.

Seriously, whatever your craving might be, chances are Trieste 2018 has got it covered. More shorts than you can count and from all corners of the world? Check. A celebration of the bicentennial of Mary Shelley’s literary classic by way of James Whale’s Frankenstein with live score? Check. A documentary about artificial intelligence? You guessed it: check.

The complete (and massive) lineup can be read below but anyone attending the fest can rest assured that each day will be chock-full of interesting offerings.

Click here for the first press release which sheds light on this year’s poster and announced cyberpunk author Richard K. Morgan as president of the international competition.


The long-awaited First Man directed by the Oscar winner Damien Chazelle (the already acclaimed director of Whiplash and La La Land) will open Trieste's event on Tuesday October 30th. The film, on screen in Italy from the 31st of October and distributed by Universal Pictures, stars Ryan Gosling as the lead actor in the role of astronaut Neil Armstrong and tells the engaging story of the NASA mission of the Apollo 11, the spaceflight which landed the first man on the Moon.

The closing event this year will be Overlord by Julius Avery, the action-horror set during the Second World War and produced by J.J. Abrams, on Italy's screens with 20th Century Fox from the 8th of November and scheduled at Trieste's Festival on Sunday November 4th.

This year, the official selection of Trieste Science+Fiction appears once again as a can't-miss event for all cinephiles and science fiction lovers, with several Italian and international previews in the mark of the best science fiction, fantasy and horror production, coming from all parts of planet Earth.


The international competition for the best science-fiction, horror and fantasy film is reserved to first, second or third works by emerging directors in the Neon | Competition section. The prize is awarded by an international jury composed of cinema professionals and experts of fantastic cinema: Richard K. Morgan, writer, Annick Mahnert, programmer, Alexandre Poncet, documentarist.

The Night Eats the World by Dominique Rocher con Anders Danielsen Lie, Golshifteh Farahani, Denis Lavant. France, 2018, 94’ | Italian premiere

Freaks by Zach Lipovsky, Adam Stein con Lexy Kolker, Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Grace Park. Canada, 2018, 104’ | Italian premiere

Solis by Carl Strathie con Steven Ogg, Alice Lowe. UK, 2018, 88’ | Italian premiere

Man Divided by Max Kestner con Carsten Bjørnlund, Sofia Helin, Marijana Jankovic. Denmark, Sweden, Finland, 2017, 87’ | Italian premiere

Ederlezi Rising by Lazar Bodroza con Stoya, Sebastian Cavazza, Marusa Majer, Kirsty Besterman. Serbia, 2018, 85’ | Italian premiere

Jonathan by Bill Oliver con Ansel Elgort, Suki Waterhouse, Patricia Clarkson, Matthew Bomer. USA, 2018, 95’ | Italian premiere

Await Further Instructions by Johnny Kevorkian con Sam Gittins, Neerja Naik, Grant Masters, Holly Weston, David Bradley. UK, 2018, 90’ | Italian premiere


The competition is organized in collaboration with the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation (EFFFF) and is reserved to European fantastic feature films. The prize is awarded by an international jury composed of cinema professionals and also counts as a nomination to take part in the annual competition for the Méliès d’or Award: Enrico Magrelli, critic and journalist, Roy Menarini, critic and teaching professor, Alessandro Mezzena Lona, journalist and writer.

Peripheral by Paul Hyett con Hannah Arterton, Elliot James Langridge, Belinda Stewart-Wilson, Connor Byrne. UK, 2018, 90’ | World premiere

The Night Eats the World by Dominique Rocher con Anders Danielsen Lie, Golshifteh Farahani, Denis Lavant. France, 2018, 94’ | Italian premiere

The Dark Justin P. Lange, Klemens Hufnagl con Nadia Alexander, Toby Nichols, Karl Markovics, Margarete Tiesel. Austria, 2018, 94’ | Italian premiere

Man Divided by Max Kestner con Carsten Bjørnlund, Sofia Helin, Marijana Jankovic. Denmark, Sweden, Finland, 2017, 87’ | Italian premiere

Ederlezi Rising by Lazar Bodroza con Stoya, Sebastian Cavazza, Marusa Majer, Kirsty Besterman. Serbia, 2018, 85’ | Italian premiere

The Year of the Plague by Carlos Martin Ferrera con Ivan Massagué, Ana Serradilla, Miriam Giovanelli, Silvia Abril. Spain, Mexico, Belgium, 2018, 96’ | International premiere

His Master's Voice by Gyorgy Palfi con Csaba Polgar, Eric Peterson, Adam Fekete, Angelo Tsarouchas. Hungary, Canada, 2018, 100’ | European premiere

Await Further Instructions by Johnny Kevorkian con Sam Gittins, Neerja Naik, Grant Masters, Holly Weston, David Bradley. UK, 2018, 90’ | Italian premiere


Future World by James Franco, Bruce Thierry Cheung con James Franco, Jeffrey Wahlberg, Suki Waterhouse, Milla Jovovich, Lucy Liu. USA, 2018, 90’ | Italian premiere

First Man by Damien Chazelle con Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll. USA, 2018, 138’

The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion by Park Hoon-jung con Kim Da-mi, Cho Min-soo, Park Hee-soon, Choi Wooshik. South Korea, 2018, 125’ | Italian premiere

Laika by Aurel Klimt con Helena Dvorakova, Jan Vondracek, Petr Ctvrtnicek, Karel Zima. Czech Republic, 2017, 88’ | Italian premiere

Elizabeth Harvest by Sebastian Gutiérrez con Abbey Lee, Ciaran Hinds, Carla Gugino, Matthew Beard, Dylan Baker. USA, UK, 2018, 105’ | Italian premiere

The Field Guide To Evil by AA.VV. Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Poland, Turkey, USA, 2018, 117’ | Italian premiere

Terrified by Demian Rugna con Maxi Ghione, Norberto Gonzalo, Elvira Onetto, George Lewis. Argentina, 2017, 87’ | Italian premiere

Lajko - Gipsy in Space by Balazs Lengyel con Tamas Keresztes, Jozsef Gyabronka, Tibor Palffy, Anna Boger. Hungary, 2018, 90’ | Italian premiere

Prospect by Zeek Earl, Chris Caldwell con Sophie Thatcher, Pedro Pascal, Jay Duplass, Andre Royo, Shelia Vand. USA, Canada, 2018, 97’

Overlord by Julius Avery con Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbæk, Mathilde Olliver. USA, 2018, 110’


Spazio Italia, the special programme dedicated to the fantastic and science fiction productions made in Italy with short films and previews, is back at Trieste Science+Fiction Festival.

The opening is on Wednesday the 31st of October at 8pm at Teatro Miela with the screening of the film Go Home - A casa loro by Luna Gualano, recently presented at “Alice nella città”. The director stages a ferocious zombie apocalypse in a refugee center in Rome's suburbs: while outside the dead are walking on the earth, Enrico, a right wing young extremist, seeks shelter in that very refugee center he has been protesting against, lying on his identity. A political zombie movie in perfect Rohmer's style, where rage turns into infection, while the ravenous un-dead become, once again, a social metaphor. The poster is by Zerocalcare.

The second appointment of Spazio Italia is with the horror You die - Scarica l’app, poi muori by Alessandro Antonaci, Stefano Mandalà and Daniel Lascar, that will be presented in European preview at Trieste Science+Fiction on Thursday November 1st at 10.30pm at Teatro Miela. The film retrieves one of the favorite topos of the horror genre, the endless curse, revisiting it in a 2.0 version: at the center of the story there is Asia, a students who finds on her mobile a mysterious app in augmented reality. The girl will soon realize she is dealing with a cursed app, which within 24 hours kills the owner of the device it's installed on, unless another person downloads it in turn. You Die - Scarica l'App, poi Muori has just won the Award for the best photography at the Screamfest Horror Film Festival of Los Angeles (USA), the largest American horror festival, held at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood from the 9th to the 18th of October 2018.

A world preview for the Italian thriller La voce del lupo by Alberto Gelpi, scheduled on Friday November 2nd at 8pm at Miela. A tense and intriguing story about self acceptance, also in extreme conditions, starring Christopher Lambert and Maria Grazia Cucinotta. The protagonist is Nico, a violent cop back in his city of origin to say goodbye to the sick mother. After his return, the town will be shaken by a series of terrible massacres, which seem committed by a non-human being: all evidence, indeed, suggests that the killings might have been performed by a monstrous beast.

In Spazio Corto we will see the shorts Cras by Maurizio Squillari, In principio by Daniele Nicolosi, Herd by Mattia Temponi, As the Sun Rises by Giordano Toreti, N.L.A. by Marco Minciarelli and Moths to Flame by Luca Jankovic and Marco Pellegrino, L’uomo proibito by Tiziano Russo, Cavernicolo by Alessandro Berteri, Mise en abyme by Edoardo Smerilli, Uccia by Elena Starace and Marco Renda, The Essence of Everything by Daniele Barbiero and Rain by Alessandro Spallino.

Out of competition, at the lead of the selection of the 12 short films there will be the screening of the teaser by Daniele Auber, the special effects master (already at work with Wes Craven, Luc Besson, Christina Aguilera) born in Trieste, who is launching from Los Angeles his first short film produced by Terry Gilliam, Hallucinaut, defined as an epic journey of microscopic size!


The appointment of honor lies with the celebration of the 50th birthday of 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick, back on screen in a remastered 4K edition on the 1st of November at 5pm at Politeama Rossetti. On this occasion, Trieste Science+Fiction Festival will assign the Silver Urania Award to Douglas Trumbull, winner of the Oscar for the special effects of the film which changed forever science fiction cinema.

On the 31st of October at 5pm at Teatro Miela Douglas Trumbull will hold a Public Talk on the future of cinema technology, and will also attend the screening of his Silent Running (2002: la seconda odissea), a futuristic environmental-themed space film, where if on one side on the Earth all plant life has become extinct due to carelessness and pollution, in space there are the greenhouse-spaceships, where the botanical scientists are at work to preserve as many specimens as possible. 

Barbarella, the cult science fiction comedy by Roger Vadim with Jane Fonda and John Phillip Law will also celebrate its 50th birthday, and will be back on the screen of Teatro Miela on the 31st of October at 10.30pm. Trieste Science+Fiction Festival celebrates the 200 years of the novel by Mary Shelley Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. On Tuesday the 30th of October at Teatro Miela at 11pm Frankenstein by James Whale will be on screen, with a live score by one of the most important bands of Italian rock, the OvO: “OvO has a natural fascination towards horror films and those bizarre characters which are sometimes called monsters – this appears pretty obvious when you listen to our music. We have chosen Frankenstein by Whale because its monster represents the last of the outcast.”

One more anniversary and one more score: on Saturday the 3rd of November at 10pm at Teatro Miela Godblesscomputers will be a guest of Trieste Science+Fiction Festival to score A Trip to Mars (Himmelskibet) by Holger-Madsen, the first science fiction feature film in the history of cinema, which this year is celebrating its first century: “We are traveling to Mars, in space and in time as well. This is why I have played on a palette of characteristic sounds - the classic synthesizers of this film genre - we all have in mind, adding ageless space atmospheres, and leaving room for harmonies, contrasts, and cinema climaxes.”

Another cross-media homage is dedicated by Trieste Science+Fiction Festival to Stalker. The mysteries and revelations of Andrej Tarkovskij's science fiction masterwork will be explored in a digitally remastered edition, both on screen and in the immersive and itinerant show “La Zona” by Giovanni Boni, Lorenzo Acquaviva and Lorenzo Zuffi.

40th birthday also for the Italian cult science fiction film Starcrash by Luigi Cozzi with an extremely young David Hasselhoff and Caroline Munro, who will attend the projection of this entertaining space adventure inspired by the pulp science fiction of the old times and by the special effects of Ray Harryhausen, schedule on Saturday the 3rd of November at Teatro Miela. Zeder by Pupi Avati is back into town, one of the cornerstones of Italian horror cinema in a 35mm “vintage” copy, a can't-miss Padanian horror which transcends reality to mingle with the supernatural.

Moreover, Westworld will be presented in a rare antique 35mm copy, a film with pioneering special effects, created by the genial mind of Michael Crichton, and which has given birth to the famous TV series.


What are the connections between science fiction and scientific research? Trieste Science+Fiction Festival tries to answer this question with a programme of specific documentaries and with the support of experts and scientists, in collaboration with the scientific institutions of the Trieste System, to reflect on the future of our species, the recurring theme of the four films of the official selection.

More Human Than Human by Tommy Pallotta and Femke Wolting investigates life at the time of artificial intelligence. In this personal research, at times dramatic, at times playful, Tommy Pallotta tries to discover how much there is at stake of his humanity and creativity in the creation of a robot capable of taking his place as director. Will artificial intelligence really make humanity obsolete?

In the remote New Siberian Islands men are searching for fangs of mammoths. The finding of an exceptionally well kept carcass attracts the attention of super technological scientists, interested in the cloning of mammoths. Global warming and genetics, and the next great technological revolution, meet in Genesis 2.0 one of the most fascinating and disturbing documentaries of the year.

Conversazioni atomiche by Felice Farina is a film on the road in search of contemporary physics, which accepts the challenge of making issues such as quantum mechanics and relativity comprehensible and intriguing: an educational comedy, embellished by some fantastic archive materials, which explores the everyday life of those who have chosen to ask questions.

Flying saucers, FBI agents and a time machine: everything revolves around Integraton, a mysterious dome erected in the desert of California at the end of the 1950s, now a national monument and the reference point of unconventionality. Calling All Earthlings by Jonathan Berman is an intriguing documentary which looks up, towards space, and down, to the roots of counterculture.


The complete short films programme of Trieste Science+Fiction Festival presents 42 short films in three different sections: the contest European Fantastic Shorts for the Méliès d’argent, Spazio Corto and the scenario of the Fantastic Shorts.

The contest for the Méliès d’argent, the award for the best European short film of fantastic genre, is organized in collaboration with the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation. The winner will run for the Méliès d'or for the best European short film of fantastic genre. A contest which involves 22 festivals, 16 countries and 500.000 spectators. An award which opens the doors of cinema to the filmmakers of the future. The prize is assigned by the audience of Trieste Science+Fiction Festival.

15 short films from 8 European countries will participate to the Méliès d’argent in Trieste. Among the most represented topics of the genre there are dystopias, robots, space travels, viruses and cosmic warriors. The titles running for the Méliès d’argent are: The Delivery by Steeve Calvo, I Am the Doorway by Simon Pearce, Pulsar by Aurora Fearnley, Stigma by David Velduque, Good Morning World by Alexander Weber, The Restrictor by Jade Hærem Aksnes, Ipdentical by Marco Huertas, Scenario by To Guys, UI - Soon We Will All Be One by Johannes Mücke and Patrick Sturm, Two Puddles by Timothy Keeling, Attack of the Cyber Octopuses by Nicola Piovesan, Rain Catcher by Michele Fiascaris, Then & Now by Antonino Torrisi and Giulia Tata, Thunder from a Clear Sky by Yohan Faure, The Last Well by Filip Filković Philatz.

Fantastic Shorts is the out of the contest overview of Trieste Science+Fiction Festival with the best science fiction, horror and fantasy short films. The worldwide selection of 14 titles intends to explore the imaginary of the young talents and the visions of the next future with productions coming from the USA, South Africa, Singapore, Israel, Mexico, Turkey, Canada, Japan and Nigeria. Fantastic Shorts programme paint a vault of fears and dreams, space and time travels, technology and avant-garde. These are the titles of the Fantastic Shorts programme: Andromeda by Emily Limyun Dean, The Crossing by Jaak Erasmus, Paleonaut by Eric McEver, Revenu by Eric Piccoli, Tick by Ashlea Wessel, The Update by Mor Hanay, Niggun by Yoni Salmon, The Morphable Man by Jonathan Ostos Yaber, Let Them Die Like Lovers by Jesse Atlas, Ad Infinitum by Murat Çetinkaya, CC by Kailey Spear and Sam Spear, Breaker by Philippe McKie, Mr Memento by Chris Heck, Hello, Rain by C.J. “Fiery” Obasi.

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