"You kill me, you won't see a cent of that gold." There's always time for a Star Wars short film. Below you can watch the short film The Good, The Bad and The Ugly parody mash-up directed by Calvin Evans. It's basically Star Wars, featuring Han Solo, Greedo and Boba Fett, as if it were literally a Sergio Leone western. The actual dialogue isn't that great, but the effects are excellent, the opening titles are perfect, and they just get so much of the atmosphere right that I can't help but admire the work on this short. There's even a nice poster to go along with it. It's a quick 5-min mash-up that's worth watching, so fire it up. Enjoy!
"Nine months in the dark, freezing cold, sharing breathers." This is cool. Get ready for a deep dive with this short film, titled The Leap, from Belgian director Karel van Bellingen. The short takes place on the "Old World", meaning Earth after a "New Earth" is discovered in 2069. Millions of people left back on the old Earth cannot afford the "leap" to the new Earth, so it becomes their dream and they'll figure out any way to get there. Which is why the IPMA exists, the Interplanetary Migration Administration, in order to police and manage the growing human trafficking problem. There are definitely some strong Blade Runner influences in this, but it also has a slightly different story to tell. Thanks to Geek Tyrant for the tip. Fire this up below.
"I'm finally ready to take you guys back through my footage and begin to tell you what Detroit was really about." We're proud to debut the new short film from Australian filmmaker Neil Harvey, the same director who made the fascinating short Robbie, created entirely from NASA footage. His new film is called Detroit, 2029, and it's a "thoughtlog" from the future also made using some pre-existing footage. The story follows an elite military operator who captures raw footage of an invasion in Detroit of "spectres", and he gets sort of transferred into one of these "extraterrestrials". It's another interesting science fiction creation to watch.
There's nothing like Kung Fury! Get a load of this. There is a crazy throwback 1980's action comedy short film going around the web called Kung Fury, written & directed by David Sandberg, that you just have to see to believe. It's intense and well-made and features nazis, dinosaurs, vikings and cheesy one-liners packed into one 30 minute short. It's actually the kind of breakout cult sensation that we love coming across nowadays, because it's made with such love for all the cheesy 80's movies, but also fits perfectly in today's cinematic marketplace. Don't second guess, don't think about it, just dive in & enjoy the glory of Kung Fury.
One filmmaker on the rise in a big way is Denis Villeneuve, from Quebec, Canada, who just premiered his latest film Sicario to rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival (here's our review). He's next set to direct the Blade Runner sequel/reboot/restart with Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, not to mention Roger Deakins as cinematographer. His previous work is also impressive (and worth seeking out): Incendies, Prisoners and Enemy. And if you want to go back even further, you can now watch his 2008 short film Next Floor that mocks the "endless symphony of abundance". It's a wicked commentary on excess that's powerful to watch.
Ohhhhh my goodness this is gorgeous!! If you love animation, or Miyazaki, or Studio Ghibli, or Syd Mead, or anything like that, this is a must watch. There is a short pitch video/trailer going around the web that has earned quite a bit of buzz (Open Culture states the "internet over in Japan was lit ablaze last month by a student film") because it feels so much like a classic Hayao Miyazaki animated film. Titled Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux, which translates to Girls and Guys from Summits and Skies, this stunning Vimeo video plays like a trailer for this film about a boy who lives in a village on a giant tree. It was made by Gwenn Germain as a project for the French art school Créapole. If anything, it's just an impressive concept.
A long time ago, in a cinema far, far away, this short film played before Empire Strikes Back, and now it has been rediscovered. No seriously, that's the story behind this. Back in 1980, George Lucas commissioned his art director, Roger J. Christian, to make a short film that would show before his Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back. That short was called Black Angel, sort of a classic fantasy about a lone warrior fighting a dark force. It only played in a few hundred UK cinemas, but it was hugely influential anyway. And even though all the prints were thought to be lost, Christian has restored and released the full 25-minute short Black Angel online - seen below. It's actually pretty good, and has some very iconic shots in it. Enjoy.
Think you know everything about Steven Spielberg's style? Think again. We've already seen and posted a shot-by-shot analysis of Jaws before (view that one here), but this latest one breaks down and analyzes the filmmaking techniques Spielberg used in one particular scene in his shark thriller classic Jaws (released in 1975). Specifically, Julian Palmer takes a look at the early beach attack scene in Jaws, where the young boy gets eaten. It's a detailed analysis (perhaps over-analysis) but includes very intelligent references that will allow anyone to understand how beautifully this scene is crafted, and just how talented Spielberg really is. There's always more to learn about filmmaking techniques from films old and new, so always keep watching.
Another cool sci-fi proof-of-concept (to follow The Leviathan). Dylan J. Nathan, a VFX / CGI artist, is looking to make the leap into filmmaking and has debuted his 2-minute short to show us what kind of world he wants to create. His new short is titled Speedhack, part of the Extropy sci-fi series he is developing. As described: "Speedhack is a high-octane journey through a near future city sprawl created entirely by Dylan J Nathan, Speedhack is a proof of concept scene from EXTROPY, a sci-fi feature film for the 21st century." Everything looks cool, I just hope there's a good story in here. Another site calls this a "FPS mashed-up with Akira and Tron" but it's just a sleek proof-of-concept for an intriguing sci-fi world. Recommended viewing.
"What do you like about living on Earth?" Google Play has just premiered a short 10-minute documentary called EMIC, made in promotion for/and inspired by the sci-fi movie Interstellar and the idea of one day leaving Earth. Google has been working with Paramount on promoting Christopher Nolan's big epic sci-fi movie all along, with virtual websites for screenings during its release last year. Now it's about to hit Blu-ray soon and is out on iTunes now, so Google is putting out its centerpiece video, the final "culmination" of everything they've worked together on. Similar to Life in a Day, it's a doc that explores what life is like on Earth, to create a time capsule-like video to save and take with us when we one day leave Earth. It's actually quite beautifully made from wonderful footage. "This film is intended to go wherever mankind goes next."
"By the early 22nd century mankind had colonized many worlds…" This is awesome. We've been following Irish director Ruairi Robinson for quite some time, as he was once attached to the Akira movie (see his concept art), made that fantastic robot short Blinky, and his first feature was the sci-fi Last Days on Mars (which I wasn't a big fan of, but oh well). His latest project, or at least one of them in the works, is called The Leviathan and a proof-of-concept short teaser has just debuted online. It has kind of a Dune meets Pacific Rim vibe, with a group of "involuntary" hunters out capturing a giant flying alien beast to harvest its eggs. I love the camera work in this, and I really want to see the rest of the movie right away. Join the hunt.
Before Jemaine Clement became the star of films like Gentleman Broncos and this year's Sundance selected People, Places & Things and director of What We Do in the Shadows, and before Bret McKenzie became an Oscar-winning songwriter and part of Middle-Earth for Peter Jackson, the duo became famous as the humorous folk duo Flight of the Conchords. And one year before they had their hit show on HBO, they were playing shows at SXSW, and while on their Texas trip, they shot a 45-minute documentary. Of course, it's hilarious, but it's also fascinating to see them with fans before they made it big. Watch now!
"I'm going to fight my way out of this world!" There seems to be an oncoming trend with sci-fi involving virtual worlds, e.g. Second Life, most likely thanks to growing interest in virtual reality via Oculus Rift. A new short film called Immersion, written & directed by Raphael Rogers, has debuted online and it's a techno-thriller (though I probably shouldn't call it that) kind of inspired by The Matrix and Tron, about a virtual gaming platform called "Immersion". This 7 minute sci-fi short starts out pretty good, then gets a little choppy in the second half, almost as if he's trying to give us hints at a bigger story in the full-length feature. Which may be what's really going on anyway, another unique short hinting at the potential of more. It looks pretty cool and I'm intrigued by the premise, though I wish the story in the short was a bit clearer.
At the Academy Awards last weekend, a couple of little Sundance indie sensations won big awards. One of them was Whiplash (the other was Boyhood), written and directed by Damien Chazelle who was named multiple times by winners including J.K. Simmons (Best Supporting Actor) & Tom Cross (Best Editing). The film also won Best Sound Mixing, taking home a total of three Oscars. It has been a long journey for Chazelle, as he first premiered Whiplash as a short film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. That short got him the financing to make the feature, and the rest is history. Whiplash was one of my favorite films of 2014 (#2!) so I'm happy it won; it's another excellent indie success story. Luckily, the original short is now online.