Utopia 2014 Preview


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Bring on the strange, the speculative, the subversive, the spectacular, and the scientific – Utopia will take place in Tel Aviv from September 13 – 20, 2014. This year, the international festival of science fiction and fantasy film will be held in conjunction with DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Week. Always looking towards the future and its present intimations in culture, the festival offers a diverse program of lectures, discussion sessions, symposiums as well as an excellent film festival.

Some highlights from this year’s program:

New this year is the Idea Bazaar – every night at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque there will be micro-talks/interviews/discussions with guest speakers, beer and music (in the background). English speakers take note: Johannes Grenzfurthner – new media artist and activist, theater director and filmmaker, founder of Roboexotica, a festival of robots and alcohol, and ArseElectronika, an annual conference in San Francisco about sex and technology will participate in Techno-Sex, a micro-talk session on Monday, September 19th at 20:30. Other topics of interest: Conquering Space; Games; Psychedelic Pop and Future Music; Law and Order – Future Edition; and many more… check it out

Coming back is the great geek-fest of LOLz, an evening of stand-up that speaks geek fluently. I had a lot of fun last time – looking forward to more laughs this year. Saturday, September 13th at 23:00.

On the more serious side, Utopia is committed to serious involvement in science fiction’s not-so-hidden subtext: human culture and visions of what the future may look like. The festival will hold a Futurological Congress, bringing together people from diverse disciplines and perspectives to reflect on: Hope, Anxiety and Israel. International guest speakers at the congress include: Jason Wishnow – video manager at TED until 2012, he recently shot a sci fi film in China, starring Ai Wei Wei; Hannu Rajaniemi, PhD – Finnish mathemetician and string-theory physicist, founder of Helix Nanotechnologies and science fiction author; Guy Philippe Goldstein – French author and cyber analyst; Johannes Grenzfurther – new media artist and activist, theatre director and filmmaker.

The Futurological Congress will take place on Thursday, September 18th at the Hemda Center, 7 Hapardess Street, Tel Aviv, from 13:00 – 19:00. Admission to the Futurological Congress is free, but advance registration is required via this link from the Utopia website.

New this year is the Israeli feature film competition with five pre-premiere films competing: Endtime by Veronica Kedar, Suicide by Benny Fredman, Folie A Trois by Danielle Jadelyn, Freak Out by Boaz Armoni and Beam me up, Sasha! by Ganit Orian.

The full program, ticket orders and other information may be found on the Utopia website.