If you know us, you already know.
If you‘re just discovering us, we strive to be that independent fest that loves filmmakers, screening films, and then talking about them in the most convivial of ways. We believe we’re getting better at it. That’s us. That’s Boston SciFi aka Boston Science Fiction Film Festival & Marathon. We love the film culture, we love the possibility of ‘if’, and we’ve been doing it for 49 years. So there’s history.
We began at the legendary Orson Welles Cinemas.. Legendary? Yep, the first manager was some dude named Tommy Lee Jones, and people like Peter Bogdanovich, Neil Young, Errol Morris, Francis Ford Coppola, Nicholas Ray and many more, experienced formative cinematic awareness there. It was a 3-screener. It had a restaurant. There was a film school and more. It was 50 years ahead of its time. Sadly it burned in 1986, and we are all that survived. Making films, showing them, and celebrating the creators is in our DNA.
Now as we enter the post Covid period (hopefully) we are alive and virtual festival. Our live screenings are showcased at vintage 1914, independent Somerville Theatre. That’s in Davis Sq, the front door to Tufts University, and just a few T stops (Boston’s subway system) to Harvard, MIT, Boston University & Northeastern.
For 2023, we are an 5-day event with distinctive parts. "The Fest" and “The Thon”.
The Fest is 5 days are a mix of submitted and judged films. Tossed into this will be curated films that our experienced team searches for. We also will add a few classic films, cartoons and more. There are also workshops, panels, and other special events. There a number of events/parties for filmmakers including weekend brunches and evening parties. They are convivial networking opportunities with fellow filmmakers and the industry.
We experienced a lot in the last few years. The world has changed. Virtual screenings are here to stay. and now we can also return to the comfy confines of theatres and share in person. Please sign up of your newsletter. We'll keep you posted on year round events as well as the countdown to our 48th iteration.
As with every year, our closing event is “The Marathon”, aka The Thon. Where the greats, the not-so-greats, the not-even-close-to-great films screen in a 13 film, 24 hour roller coaster of cinema and community. Think of it binge viewing with hundreds of your best friends, even if you just met. Since we’ve been doing this for 48 years, we consider ourselves the “Original Binge View.” We also consider ourselves an Sci-Fi equivalent of Brigadoon, where every year a small town emerges from the bleak New England winter to warm us up with good stories, good food and good films.
That’s the layout. When it comes to asking yourself to submit, you probably have questions. Hopefully you can find the answers here. One question often asked is how do we define science fiction. If Rod Serling would play it on the original TWILIGHT ZONE, then who are we to argue? Whether it's shorts, features, documentaries, animation, webisodes, whatever, we'll screen it. In our world, good scripts are more important than an explosion. Although a well done, nicely timed explosion is fun.
The organizers of BostonSciFi are industry professionals with decades of experience. One of the biggest reasons to enter your film is to get exposure to audiences AND the industry. It is this latter piece where our experience helps. We invite our friends to come, and we recommend BostonSciFi films to those we know.
So welcome to SF49, the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, the oldest, and perhaps the coolest, genre festival in the US with a passion for film that comes with age.
By the way, did you notice that FilmFreeway has awarded us their Top 100 Best Reviewed Festival? Not just once, 12 times. Of the 9,000 festivals in FilmFreeway's universe, Boston SciFi consistently ranks in the top 100. Dread Central also selected us for our commitment to filmmakers and the genre. We blame it on our staff. Our team is committed to the filmmakers who share their creativity with us.
Awards, including The Gort, are given by judges and by the audience. Sponsors provide additional booty. Traditionally we give out between 10-14 awards and about 25 Certificates of Excellence. The Awards change from year to year to reflect the changes in content and method of storytelling. The regular awards are the standards: Best Feature, Shorts Director, Special Effects, Documentary, and more. We also empower our judging team to add additional awards based on the films they have seen. For example, we've added webisodes, music, and sound design based on judges recommendations,
Judges, at their discretion, may add additional awards based on merit.
Features and Shorts SUBMISSION Guidelines:
- Any film that has a science fiction or science underpinning. Our definition is broad.
- Film has been made in the last 18 months (older films can request consideration)
- Works in progress are accepted
- Waivers are rare
- Premieres are welcome
- Non-English films should be subtitled
- Each film is a separate entry
- BostonSciFi does not use DVDs for screening purposes
- Selected films will be delivered on a timely basis
- Selected films should actively assist in social media and traditional marketing
- Selected films must be an industry grade DCP.
- Please note DCPs made using a Mac will probably not work.
- When films are scheduled is Boston SciFi’s sole decision
- Changes to a schedule may occur at any time. Life can be unpredictable.
- Missing deadlines may result in eligibility negation
- Films may screen more than once during the course of the Fest
- Decisions of Boston SciFi and Judges is final
Judging notes are retained. If any applicant, who is not accepted, wishes to get feedback from the judges, we will make that available, but only after the festival as concluded and we've recovered.