You know the film Blade Runner, a masterpiece made in the movies by Ridley Scott, and the sequel of Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049, released in October 2017. But do you really know the author of the novel Blade Runner: Philip K Dick?
Interview with Daniel Abela, director of the Philip K Dick Festival
The Director of public relations of the International Science Fiction Festival Philip K Dick has asked me to introduce you to their festival, which takes place in October each year. This is the transcript of this written interview.
Can you introduce yourself to the public and present the festival?
The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival began in New York in 2012 as a platform for the promotion of independent works.
are presented to the general public and to film professionals and authors, sci-fi films, horror, Fantasy and beyond, and, this year’s European event, the festival presents a virtual reality block.
Video trailer Blade Runner (Ridley Scott) VO
We are the festival that really explores all forms of storytelling because this particular aspect is important for our cultures and society as a whole.
In the space of four years, we have become indispensable, and today is officially the first science fiction film Festival in New York City. We have seen a large amount of film submissions from all over the world and in 2013 started the European festival. Every year we organized events in Lille and last year in Łódź, Poland. This year we are also located in Cologne, Germany. We have fantastic returns in both the United States and Europe.
How would you describe Philip K. Dick for those who don’t know him yet? What are your favorite books?
Philip K. Dick is one of the most prolific sci-fi writers of the modern era. It is more than adaptations of his work, but appreciation of his ideas.
In his work, he questioned our belief systems and what we learned. It foresaw a time when technology would control our decreasing humanity. He is a writer who valiantly defends mankind and helps us to reflect on the paths of resolution for our time.
My first exposure to his texts was through his novel SIVA,[i] a fantastic story of a vast intelligence system creating a Matrix-style simulation and since then, I have devoured a large part of his writings.
Without all the answers being given, it helps to deal with the ambiguity of what we do not know. In the official selections of our festival, the stories are daring and ask questions that many of the mainstream films avoid or do not grow far enough. They dare to evoke what some think is unacceptable: this is entirely in the work of Philip K. Dick.
Having founded the festival on Philip K. Dick, I have to mention how I stumbled upon him. As a fan of magical realism, a l[ii]iterature associated with writer Jorge Luis Borges, I[iii] read a quotation from Ursula Le Guin[iv]. She referred to Philip K. Dick as our “Homegrown Borges[v].” After reading SIVA, I read his other books and was amazed at his intelligence and ability to raise questions and question our way of thinking about this world.
The festival goes beyond science fiction, it is a study of what we do not know and it illustrates it very well.
Video Melancholia (Lars von Trier) to illustrate the magic realism
What do you think of the general public film adaptations and series of works by Philip K. Dick and what are your favorites or adaptations that have challenged you?
The stories of Philip K. Dick include ordinary characters struggling to understand a very complex and troubling world. His characters do not have all the answers, but they try to understand.
An adaptation of which I am a fan is the film Radio Free Albemuth, directed by John Alan Simon. This film won the award for Best sci-fi feature film at our inaugural New York Festival in 2012 and it is completely up to par in its quest to show that there is more in this world than you think.
Why was the choice only for long or independent short films?
In each festival, the range includes long and short films. Independent cinema encourages reflection and deals with topics that other films are reluctant to deal with. They dare to question our world. The creative process is incredible and we believe that there is no limit for our festival to be a major festival to be counted on in the years to come.
That’s why honoring Philip K. Dick’s legacy is so important. We all work on this same mission which is not to accept everything at its nominal value.
What are your short films at the heart of previous editions of the festival and why did they touch you?
Some of my favorite movies from previous festivals are Radio Free Albemuth, Turn On by Matt Owen, Suicide or Lulu in a world made for two by Christian Carroll, Montauk Chronicles by Christopher P. Garetano, El incidente by Isaac Ezban. These are just a few examples, we have the chance to watch so many interesting films. Every film we’ve planned is special for the festival. Everyone helped us to relay the message of Philip K. Dick’s work, in a way.
Can you tell us a story about the festival?
One of the greatest supporters of the festival was the literary writer David Hartwell[vi]. He was a colleague and friend of Philip K. Dick. He worked as editor in chief of Tor books and wa[vii]s the administrator of the Philip K. Dick Award[viii]. Unfortunately, he passed away on January 20, 2016, just days after our fourth annual festival where he opened the event and served as a judge. At the opening night, he highlighted our mission to serve as a platform to provide great independent films in honor of Philip K. Dick and said:[Dick] “He was an impressive man. The idea of a festival devoted to him would have astonished him. ” We think David was just as impressive and we are honored to have been able to call him a friend.
The theme of 2016, “who are we and do we have a future?” is ambitious, is this not the question inherent in any work of fiction by extension? Before the award ceremony, can you tell us about the choice of this theme?
This theme echoes what Philip K. Dick wrote in his works. He questioned the very state of mankind and the universe. There is not a single reality or interpretation of reality. He asked about the change of time and that everything we see, know and understand may not even exist outside of our perception. What is presented to us is left open to discovery. This theme echoes many of our films, but also the society itself.
What are the next or future projects for your festival?
Currently we are working on the fifth edition of our annual festival in New York, which will be a bigger and more flourishing event. In addition, we present a debate event with the Cuban sci-fi writer Yossi, on Novem[ix]ber 14th at the Instituto Cervantes in New York. The festival is also spearheading the first edition of the New York science fiction Film Festival for launch in January 2017.
If Philip K. Dick had found a way to defy the laws of nature and was at your festival, what do you think would be his reactions?
We hope that Philip K. Dick would enjoy our festival or encourage his success. He would see that his ideas were fully used and understood. We would like him to see that the films at the festival have a cinematic connection to his themes and that they are essential to our existence and the very fabric of nature. We hope that he will be happy that we continue his legacy to walk through the riches of films.
Cinema, the sequel to Blade Runner
The sequel to the film Blade Runner by Ridley Scott, Blade Runner 2049 was released at the cinema in October 2017. The difficulty of being at the height of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and the spirit of Philip K Dick’s novel was rather high.
However, after Denis Villeneuve’s highly deserved success with Arrival (first Contact), the audience was enthusiastic and expected much of the aesthetics and quality of the screenplay, the soundtrack and the actors ‘ game for Blade Runner 2049. The film is at the height of expectations. It is a jewel in its own right, while managing to offer a sequel in the mind so much of the author of the original story do the Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? of Phiklip K Dick as the director of the film Blade Runner.
The Blade Runner 2049 imagined by the team of Denis Villeneuve is a visual aesthetic, auditory masterpiece and opens wisely questions without locking them. The work of the whole team, passionate, is breathtaking. Director of photography Roger Deakins, the decorator chef Denis Gassner, worked with artistic director Paul Inglis. The sound design and musical composition made for the film by Johann Johannsson, joined by Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer bring their personal imprint. The montage was directed by Joe Walker in a way that is apparently not common: sound and image at the same time. The rendering is a movie that takes you, accompanies you. You walk, you breathe alongside the characters.
If you haven’t seen it yet, expect nothing but a story, it will carry you on its own. His characters play the frontier between freshness in search of meaning and human warmth with brio. The film does not fall into the coldness that reaches many feature films, currently. His characters seek, meet, wonder. Their doubts and emotions are also passing through us. Who is human? Who’s Android? Who is worthy? What would you do in their place? Denis Villeneuve questions the human race with his own “paw”.
I invite you to watch this video: Inside the Making of of Blade Runner 2049, presented by Kim Taylor Benett, Vice. They talked to Denis Villeneuve, the very talented team of the décor, the sound, the photo, etc., and of course the stars of the film, including Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, talked with them about what it was like to live in such a surreal world.
A series inspired by Philip K Dick: The Man in the High Castle
Finally, to stay in the theme, the series The Man in the High Castleest adapted from Philip K Dick. By executive producer Ridley Scott, the Man in the High Castleest very particular, with an immediately captivating intrigue, in a Uchronia post World War II. I’m not telling you any more here. 😉
Written Interview, translated and directed by Maïm Garnier, prospective journalist, artist, and Austria (in particular) of science fiction, at the request of the communication manager of the International Science Fiction Festival Philip K Dick for Daniel Abela, Director of the festival.
Thank you for his trust in Jonathan Carsten, director of public relations, in connection with Daniel Abella, director of the Philip K. Dick International Science Fiction Film Festival.
Article updated on 09 December 2018.
Original Publication of Maïm Garnier, the comments and formulations being made to bring clarity and readability for a curious but not specialist audience.
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To go further
We are wondering about the imprint and legacy of Philip K Dick on France Culture, podcast “Philip K. Dick or presence of consciousness“.
Blade Runner 2049
- An article from Human After All: “Blade Runner 2049, a hymn to music and sound in Science Fiction”.
- Warner Bros. ‘s Official film website
The Philip K Dick Festival, connect
- Web Site: www.philipkdickfilmfestival-europe.com/index.html
- SIVA is the acronym for “Living Intelligent system and acting” (in English: Vast Active Living Intelligence System). Original title: VALIS.
- Magic Realism: In literature, one can also refer, among other things, to the king of the aldermen of Michel Dizzyer, to the House of the spirits of Isabel Allende. At the cinema, at the Pan maze of Guillermo del Toro, Melancholia by Lars von Trier.
- Jorge Luis Borges: Argentine author of prose and poetry, including the collection of New Fictions (Ficciones)
- Mr. Ursula K. The Guin: American Austria of Science fiction and fantasy, including the left hand of the night, the Cycle of Earthsea. The Japanese animated film ‘ Les Tales de Earthsea ‘, directed by Goro Miyazaki, is inspired by the characters and situations encountered in the 3rd and 4th tomes of the Earthsea cycle of Ursula Le Guin.
- Equivalent: Our local Borges.
- David Hartwell: American, editor-in-chief, literary critic and editor of science fiction and fantasy, he has worked throughout his career in many publishing houses such as Tor books or Pocket. He was a member of the management of World Fantasy Convention, as well as one of the organizers of the Philip K Dick Award, the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction described him as “perhaps one of the most influential publishers of the past forty years in the World of the American science fiction edition. ” His anthologies and his involvement in the publishing world won him Hugo awards in 2006 several times as well as the World Fantasy Award.
- Tor Book: One of the leading American science fiction and fantasy publishing houses, they published notably Orson Scott Card, who received the Hugo and Nebula awards two consecutive years, under his Ender Cycle (the first volume, bestseller, was adapted to Cinema: The Ender strategy of Gavin Hood with Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley and Harrison Ford in 2013), a first in the history of science fiction. Very prolific, he also writes a lot of fantasy.
- Philip K Dick Award: American Literary Award created in 1983, awarded by the Philadelphia Science fiction Society, rewarding Science fiction books published directly in the form of paperbacks, like those of the eponymous American author Philip K. Dick.
- Yossi, Cuban author of science fiction, of his real name José Miguel Sánchez, to read among other interferences (River Blanche, 2009, nominated for the Grand Prix of the imaginary Travellers astonishing 2010, and Sylvie Miller, his translator, received the Prix Jacques Chambon de The translation for this compendium), Planet for rent (Editions Mnemos, 2011). Some info on Yossi on the website of the publisher Mnemos
ACTUSF, Wikipedia, Philip K Dick Festivlal, premiere, YouTube, websites of authors, publishers, films, directors, Productions cited in the interview.