Last week I mentioned the Science Fiction Short Film Festival, co-sponsored by the Science Fiction Museum and the Seattle International Film Festival, taking place in February. Part of the fest is a contest where the winner will be able to pitch a two-hour film for the SciFi Channel. Unfortunately, I didn't mention how to submit your own film. Perhaps it was subconscious (I have a kick-ass idea for my own entry), but that ain't playing fair. The deadline is November 1, the movies can't be longer than 12 minutes, the cost is only $25, and you can find more information at www.sfhomeworld.org or www.seattlefilm.org.

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It's often said that repressive governments are good for the arts because progressive ideas need to be cleverly phrased instead of merely stated. Well, the "moral" legislation being pushed by our country's conservative government harks back to the idealistically pure 1950s, when the discontent with the status quo was often expressed through science fiction. Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone was a great commentary on the time, as were sci-fi movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which is playing at the EMP on Sunday, August 14, at 4:00 p.m. Many refer to Invasions as a Red Scare film, where the enemy has infiltrated our society and is infecting the community one by one. Back then the enemy was Communists, but the metaphor plays just as well with sleeper-cell terrorists. Hosting the screening is Mark Rahner, the charmingly sardonic pop culture and DVD writer for the Seattle Times.

On a more intuitive level, experimental films reflect the society at large. Filmmakers Jon Behrens and Sarah Biagini bring forth the best of the experimental, avant-garde, and personal cinema through their quarterly Third Eye Cinema series at the Northwest Film Forum. The next edition happens on Monday, August 15, when they're going to highlight the acclaimed film essay LIFE/EXPECTANCY by Michele Fleming.

Behrens also runs the outdoor movies at Linda's, and on Wednesday, August 17, at dusk he'll be showing the 1968 psychotronic acid biker film, The Angry Breed. Also on Wednesday are two world premiere screenings at the Central Cinema about the battle in Iraq. Both Eyewitness in Iraq: Dahr Jamail, An Unembedded Report and Testimonies from Falluja explore what's happening in Iraq through independent journalists and eyewitness accounts. If you need some comfort while watching, you can enjoy pizza and a beer.

Kodak representatives return to Seattle on August 13 and 14 to show people just how beautiful and easy shooting on film can be. The presentations take place at the Seattle Film Institute (1709 23rd Ave). To register go to www.kodak.com/go/stopbyshootfilm.

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I'm happy to report that a couple of features have just started production, though they're shooting on video and not film. Lyle Holmes has begun directing his second feature, Lost on the B Side, about a music executive whose life spirals out of control when he meets the wrong girl. The other is called The Stranger, which I mentioned two weeks ago, about a reporter who is blamed for killing an ex-girlfriend during a blackout drunk. And scheduled for a September start is the contemporary Lovecraft adaptation, Cthulhu. They're still filling out the cast, so local actors should look to Craigslist, Indieclub.com, or the Theatre Puget Sound websites for more information. Jeff Brown (Police Beat) and Anne Rosellini (Down to the Bone) are producing, which bodes well for the entire production.

andy@thestranger.com