“A Wildly Imaginative Debut” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“Truly Frightening “-  Steven Bryan, Examiner

 Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival is bringing the Texas premiere of LISTENING on August 27 (9:00PM) at the Flix Brewhousein Round Rock. Writer/director Khalil Sullins will be available after the screening for a Q&A.

LISTENING has been invited to over 30 film festivals, and won numerous awards, including Best Director: Phoenix Film Festival, Best Screenplay: Hoboken International Film Festival, and Best Feature Film Audience Award: Irvine International Film Festival.

LOGLINE:

A team of genius-but-broke grad students invent mind-reading technology that destroys their lives and threatens the future of free-will itself.

SYNOPSIS:

For years, we have tried to harness the power of the human mind… and failed. Now, one breakthrough will change everything. Beyond technology. Beyond humanity. Beyond control.

LISTENING is a psychological thriller about penniless grad students who invent mind-reading technology that destroys their lives. David, Ryan, and Jordan hope the telepathy invention will solve all their problems, but the bleeding-edge technology opens a Pandora’s box of new dangers, as the team discovers that when they open their minds, there is nowhere to hide their thoughts. Secrets and betrayals surface, and the technology is stolen by a covert government agency with a hidden agenda. With no one left to trust, David is forced against his friends in a life-or-death battle over not only the privacy of the human mind, but the future of free will itself.

“LISTENING takes the audience on a journey,” says first time director Khalil Sullins. “It starts as an intimate, relatable domestic drama, but the stakes continually rise until our characters find themselves in a life-or-death showdown with the world hanging in the balance.”

Sullins says his personal change-the-world ideals might be considered naive, but that the story structure subtly encourages the audience to feel the same way. “The thoughts you cultivate, the conversations you have, what you do today at work, at school, with your family, in your garage, it just might have global implications,” says Sullins.

“LISTENING is exactly my favorite kind of Science Fiction movie,” says Bears Fonté, OWA Founder and Director of Programming.  “It starts small, with a couple of renegade scientists trying to solve a problem in their garage. But technology is often more complicated than just the formulas behind it – and that’s what makes LISTENING so exciting. Plus any time you throw a bit of sex into the mix, everything gets murky. How is a scientist ever able to keep their priorities straight? LISTENING offers the viewer a night of intrigue and deception, and one more thing to be afraid of that someone is actually inventing.”

LISTENING explores the nature of our relationship with technology and communication. “Every day we’re given a new tool to send our thoughts and feelings out into the world faster than ever before, but we aren’t necessarily learning how to become better communicators,” Sullins explains. “There’s a filter in our brain somewhere that prevents us from saying, or doing, every little thing that pops into our head. That’s a good thing. But in a world where telepathy exists, that filter is gone. This isn’t too different from what it’s like in the world of social media today.”

Says Sullins, “LISTENING examines these issues through David, an introverted genius who, even though he invents the latest, greatest form of communication, he has no idea how to actually communicate with his wife, or kid, or best friend. Because the characters can’t communicate on a human level, technology only makes things worse. It also explores potential real-world implications of inventing telepathy, government spying on its citizens, the extremes of where that could lead, and the dynamic between thought and action.”

The story in LISTENING is ‘hard SciFi.’ “All of the technology is not only theoretically possible, but a lot of it has actually been invented since we were in production,” says Sullins. “The science should feel so real that the audience believes telepathy isn’t only possible, but that it might have already happened. Maybe in your neighbor’s garage.”

“The story is rare in that it is both an intelligent sci-fi thriller, as well as a tragic, character-driven exploration of communication and interpersonal relationships,” says Pardis Sullins, producer.

LISTENING employs a “flicker 3D” stereoscopic photography technique for the inside-the-mind sequences throughout the film. This is the first time this effect has ever been showcased in a feature- length film.

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