Montclair Film offers a unique sci-fi experience starting June 26 with three films that explore virtual reality and artificial intelligence, along with special presentations and Q&A sessions following each screening.
The upcoming Science On Screen three-film series begins on Tuesday, June 26, with Alex Garland’s EX MACHINA, starring Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, and Oscar Isaac, followed by a talk and Q&A with Justin Hendrix, executive director of NYC Media Lab, discussing the process and ethics of building emotional relationships between people and virtual identi-ties in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality development.
EX MACHINA – Tuesday, June 26
Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at a huge Internet company, wins a contest that enables him to spend a week at the private estate of Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), his firm’s brilliant CEO. When he arrives, Caleb learns that he has been chosen to be the human component in a Turing test to determine the capabilities and consciousness of Ava (Alicia Vikander), a beautiful robot. However, it soon becomes evident that Ava is far more self-aware and deceptive than either man imagined.
On Friday, June 29, Alex Rivera’s SLEEP DEALER screens and is followed by a talk and Q&A with Emory Craig, cofounder and partner at Digital Bodies (www.digitalbodies.net) discussing the ethical landscape of artificial intelligence and virtual reality development around non-fiction storytelling and human memory.
SLEEP DEALER – Friday, June 29
Memo (Luis Fernando Peña) is a hacker living an impoverished existence in the degraded Mexico of the future. Upon detecting his hacking activities, the military attacks his home. Memo escapes to Tijuana, where he becomes involved with Luz (Leonor Varela), a journalist who plugs her body into the Internet and sells her memories for oth-ers to download. When Luz takes on a mysterious assignment and Memo lands a high-tech factory job, they de-scend into a cyber-nightmare and discover a deadly truth.
On Saturday, June 30, Richard Linklater’s A SCANNER DARKLY plays, followed by a talk and Q&A with Jeff McFadden, founder of Prime8, discussing virtual reality storytelling and experiences that speak to addiction.
A SCANNER DARKLY – Saturday, June 30
In the near future, as America virtually loses the war on drugs, Robert Arctor (Keanu Reeves), a narcotics cop in Orange County, Calif., becomes an addict when he goes undercover. He is wooing Donna (Winona Ryder), a dealer, to ferret out her supplier. At the same time, he receives orders to spy on his housemates, one of whom is suspected of being Donna’s biggest customer.
Tickets for all films and events, as well as a full schedule of discussions and Q&As, available at montclairfilm.org