Boston fest fetes shorts

Pebler's 'Professor' tops at sci-fi event

The Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, a 24-hour marathon of sci-fi films old and new whose 32nd edition wrapped Monday, added a juried sidebar of shorts this year. With 35 entries the first time out — 11 presented in competition — the event is positioning itself as a showcase for up-and-coming filmmakers in the genre.

Top prizes, including best of the festival, went to Luke Pebler’s “The Professor’s Daughter,” a “Twilight Zone”-like tale of a professor whose increasing success with artificial intelligence is mirrored by his disintegrating relationship with his daughter.

Awards also went to Hseuh Yuting’s “Mizar” for special effects and Ransom Riggs’ “Spaceboy” for music.

The audience voted a separate prize to Jean-Francois De Sylva’s “The Grandfather Paradox,” a fresh spin on the time-travel dilemma of whether one could kill one’s own grandfather before he has reproduced. “Professor’s Daughter” and “Grandfather Paradox” shared a jury award for artistic vision. Runners-up for the aud nod were “Professor’s Daughter,” David Sander’s “Microgravity” and Valerie Weiss’ “Transgressions.”

Fest director Garen Daly said the shorts competish should become a permanent part of the annual event.

Schedule also included the New England premiere of James Bai’s feature debut, “Puzzlehead,” with the director present for post-screening Q&A, and a sneak preview of upcoming cultish offering “Trail of the Screaming Forehead,” from director Larry Blamire (“Lost Skeleton of Cadavra”).

Fest was held noon to noon Sunday and Monday at the Somerville Theater, which will be the event’s permanent home. It had been at several local indies since losing its berth at the Coolidge Corner in Brookline in 2003.

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