Yesterday I grumbled about how the Hugo nomination rules work against non-mainstream cinema and highlighted some films that would have been great nominees for the 2021 Hugos if 2019 festival screenings had not invalidated them. Now for some dramatic presentations that are actually eligible, starting with ones shorter than 90 minutes, which compete in the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form category.
Last and First Men – This is Jóhann Jóhannsson’s adaptation of Olaf Stapledon’s classic novel of future history, featuring Tilda Swinton as the voice of our descendants from the unimaginably far future. This austere work is not for everyone but I think the film would be a worthy Hugo award flag-bearer for cerebral science fiction. It is available to view on the kind of streaming services that offer up weirdo art house films.
I Am Not Legend – This is an edited version of George Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead. The film-makers overdub new dialogue and replace the zombies with white blobs, apparently after printing off every frame from the original and manually altering them. I’m not sure the end result is that essential but it would make a great eligibility head scratcher for this year’s Hugo administration team if a load of people tried to nominate it. However, I am not sure how one could go about seeing this (I saw it as part of the online Bram Stoker Festival).
Eternal – All kinds of items can be nominated in the Hugo dramatic presentation categories, not just films and TV programmes. Eternal, from Darkfield Radio, is an audio drama, designed so that you listen to it while lying in bed alone in a darkened room. I heard it as part of the Bram Stoker Festival, so you may be correctly guessing that it features vampires. UK-based readers can pay money to stream it from the Darkfield Radio website.
A Spell At Home, With Hester – This was a piece of live-streamed theatre by the Hermetic Arts theatre company, in which Carrie Thompson played the eponymous Hester. It was set up as though we were taking part in a Zoom magick ritual during which flaky Hester reveals the dark side of the quaint village she lives in. It is a companion piece to Carbury Gifts, which I have not yet seen. Both of these were performed at Rural Gothic events organised by the Folklore Podcast and Room 207 Press. I’m not sure how you could go about seeing either of these and I may be the only Hugo nominator who has actually seen A Spell At Home, With Hester.
Last and First Men (Observations on Film Art – Vancouver: First sightings)