Astronomica

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TYPE
: Narrative Feature
GENRE: Science Fiction
STATUS: Development

LOGLINE

After an astronomer discovers life on a star, dangerous changes creep into her life and her reality comes apart at the seams.

SYNOPSIS

After an astronomer makes the groundbreaking discovery of life on a star, she plunges into a new romance. But her discovery starts to have dangerous complications, and as the romance deepens, her carefully built reality comes apart at the seams.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

Astronomica is urgent because it is so unusual to have a film that is simultaneously hopeful, romantic, and devoted to exploring otherness. Often the process of being a queer or marginalized person in the world is depicted as painful or difficult, and with Astronomica I wanted to tell a story that focused on the breadth and possibility of that experience instead—particularly at a time when so many aspects of otherness feel under attack. Astronomica joins that exploration of social identity to an exploration of the meaning and joy of scientific discovery, and finds that to truly understand something, you have to love it. Too often now, concrete scientific inquiry is publicly denigrated as either boring, arcane, or plainly irrelevant. I think it is essential to have stories that demonstrate just how exciting and rewarding—and even sexy—intellectual exploration can be. To that end, Astronomica is imbued with a sense of childlike wonder, and I hope this story can instill not only a sense of the thrill of discovery, but a sense of perspective in the natural world. I deeply identify with Marie’s journey in Astronomica. The process of going from a safe but circumscribed existence to a riskier and more rewarding one is pulled directly from my own evolving queerness and sense of identity. I also have a lifelong fascination with astrophysics and its profound conceptual implications. In weaving together the excitement of that intellectual inquiry with the breadth of personal discovery, Astronomica literalizes an exploration of what is possible at the end of radical self-acceptance. And that is why it is so timely and essential: to open up that imaginative space, and to put people in awe of this uncommon character, this queer female scientist whose journey is like nothing we have been trained to expect. Astronomica showcases the kind of character who is often forced to explain herself—a queer female scientist—and treats her existence as an assumed fact. Marie is utterly in control of the way we see her: brilliant, ridiculous, and unapologetic. She is someone whose uniqueness renders her open to the alien force she comes face to face with—turning her otherness into a kind of superpower. And she is someone whose power has not been given to her, but seized for herself through a relentless devotion to scientific discovery—despite the doubts of her peers. As a queer filmmaker myself, I look to Marie’s journey as both as an expression of my desire and a promise of how I could be. I want marginalized people to find catharsis in this heroic figure who has the courage to open herself to everything she is; and I want viewers everywhere fall hopelessly in love with her radical way of being.

KEY CREW

Matthew Wollin - Writer/Director/Producer
Matthew Wollin is a writer/director whose 2019 debut feature The Skin of the Teeth earned him the title “a talent to watch” from The Hollywood Reporter. The psychological thriller was released by TLA after playing at Outfest Fusion and Newfest, which called it “Get Out meets Grindr.” His earlier filmmaking work includes the award-winning experimental short I Know What You Want, and acting as an associate producer on Hateship Loveship. His writing has been featured in numerous publications including Juked, The Awl, and Lammergeier. In addition to his creative work, he also conducts legal work on mass incarceration, education reform, and other civil rights issues.

 

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