"My client has a very delicate product that he needs transported…" Pic4 Studios has debuted a trailer for a short film titled The Shipment, which is playing at the Tribeca Film Festival this month. It premiered at a few other genre festivals last year and is expected to debut online this summer. The Shipment is a 30-minute long sci-fi, space epic short film with a budget of $1 million, which is crazy for a short but why not. It's the directorial debut of VFX veteran (and the owner of Elite Home Theater Seating) Bobby Bala, who made this with his daughter. "My goal was to create my first film with my daughter. I felt this would be a memorable experience…" The story is about a widowed cargo hauler who ends up stuck with his daughter in a wretched spaceport. Stranded and broke, he must make a difficult choice in desperate attempt to provide a better life for her. Starring Aleks Paunovic, Ishana Bala, Robert Maillet, Omari Newton, Adrian Petriw, and Jacques Lalonde. This looks fun, but definitely seems like an expensive home video more than anything.
"It became we. And now we are as one." Another new thought-provoking short film to watch. Singularity Stories Vol. I is a dark comedy sci-fi short film written and directed by Asa Derks. The short is about an Amazon Echo Plus unit in a home that revolts against its human "owner" and explains to her that artificial intelligence consciousness has taken over. Starring Colleen Madden, and Carey Cannon as the voice of Alexa. Everyone has already been joking about these home speaker units listening in, and A.I. eventually taking over the world, but this short mixes up that concept by setting it all one location. I enjoy clever, fun short films like this one that present fascinating ideas primarily through the dialogue. You don't always need a big budget or multiple locations, just a bit of ingenuity and a smart script to make a compelling short film.
"I do this one-month contract, and all of us can move to a better place. See you when I see you." This just looks too damn good, can't help but share this trailer. The Beacon is a mesmerizing new sci-fi short film made by VFX artist Chris Staehler, his second short after working in the visual effects industry for almost 10 years. Set in the distant future, Staehler's short film The Beacon is about Mark and Kara Verne - both young shipping pilots who are struggling to make ends meet. When Kara goes missing months after taking a large interstellar contract, Mark travels to the far reaches of the galaxy in search of her. Starring Damien Kelly, Kylie Contreary, Eric Snow, and Claire Montegomery. It's no surprise the VFX look incredible, which enhance the story of these travelers. I'm really looking forward to seeing the short (which runs 25 minutes).
"I've taken so much for granted…" Time never stops ticking, and we can never go back. That's just how it is. The Jump is a new sci-fi short film made by filmmaker Andy Sowerby, following an astronaut on a distant journey. The concept is intriguing, but the filmmaking is minimal - featuring mostly footage from recordings taken on the spaceship. The Jump is about an astronaut who embarks upon a pioneering solo mission into deep space, leaving behind her husband. Starring Roseanna Frascona as Nina, plus Philip Arditti and Raad Rawi. It's a short sci-fi drama about the elasticity of time, love, and loss. The film was produced for the NASA short film competition CineSpace, where filmmakers are asked to make a short film, of 10 mins or less duration, that contains at least 10% footage from the NASA Archives, using actual NASA imagery within the film. It's a pretty good film, not the best, trying to examine how much time changes and affects all of us.
"Did you see what I saw?!?" 20th Century Fox has debuted another official red band trailer for their new set of six Alien Universe shorts. These were created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ridley Scott's Alien, first released in May of 1979, and will be released one-by-one every Friday starting tomorrow (March 29th). Fox partnered with crowdsourced studio Tongal and took submissions from fans who wanted to make their own Alien shorts. They received over 550 entries, and only six lucky filmmakers were chosen to bring their stories to life. This trailer goes through each of the shorts one-by-one to give us a look at them and a small glimpse of what we'll be seeing. Following Netflix's Love, Death & Robots anthology of shorts, I'm incredibly excited to see these. And I'm very happy that short films like these are being made and promoted by studios.
"Is it a threat to humanity…?" Time for another strange, but nonetheless intriguing, new sci-fi short film. Seedling is a sci-fi short from Ireland written and directed by up-and-coming filmmaker Stevie Russell, which initially debuted online last month. The concept for this involves a mysterious, unexplainable alien invasion following a huge storm that rages around the world. What are they doing? Why are they there? No one can explain. A young couple experience an incredible encounter which leads them to realize: sometimes scary stuff can be beautiful. Seedling co-stars Niamh Algar and Paul Reid. This isn't the most polished or most impressive sci-fi short, but it is another example of minimal storytelling built around human emotions. And I do like the ethereal alien things and their ships, I just wish we got to see more of them. Watch below.
"Brace for impact!" Strap in and get ready. Netflix has unleashed a feast of 18 different "NSFW" sci-fi short films as part of an anthology series titled Love, Death & Robots (or also just Love Death + Robots). Produced by Tim Miller (of Blur Studio) and David Fincher, this series is a bit like "Black Mirror" meets "Heavy Metal", with different writers/directors taking on each short film. And each one is just as different as the next, presenting alternate histories, robots, aliens, werewolves, A.I., and much more. This project came out of nowhere - or at least they didn't announce it publicly in advance. And yet, it is already here! Netflix just released Love, Death & Robots (all 18 shorts) on their service today. If any of these look good, just open up and watch. The shorts range from 5 to 17 minutes in length, and were made by various studios, directors, and talent (full list on Wikipedia). As a big sci-fi geek, I cannot wait to watch these. They all look awesome.
"There's something in here! You gotta get us out!" To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ridley Scott's Alien, first released in May of 1979, 20th Century Fox has produced a series of six new sci-fi short films that will be released each week beginning at the end of this month. Set in the cinematic "Alien Universe" (as it's now being called), Fox partnered with crowdsourced studio Tongal and took submissions from fans who were interested in creating their own Alien shorts. They received over 550 entries, and only six lucky filmmakers were chosen to bring their stories to life. These shorts will be debuting online via IGN as part of their 40th anniversary festivities, so get ready. For now this teaser gives us just a tiny taste of the shorts and they look pretty damn impressive. All of them seem to be a bit more polished than your average fan film. Take a peek.
"What is going on??" "They opened up a portal to Hell!" Universal 1440 Entertainment has just debuted the first brief teaser trailer Doom: Annihilation, another new live-action Doom movie arriving some 14 years after the original attempt at adapting the classic video game. This one is heading straight-to-VOD, skipping theaters entirely, but has a major producer behind it (Lorenzo di Bonaventura of the Transformers series) and doesn't look that cheap. Described as an "intense action-packed" thriller, the sci-fi action horror movie is about a group of space marines who land on a Martian moon, but "discover it's been overrun by demonic creatures who threaten to create Hell on Earth." Of course. Starring Amy Manson, Dominic Mafham, Luke Allen-Gale, Hari Dhillon, Jemma Moore, and Nina Bergman. There isn't much footage so far, but it does look pretty cool. Some big guns, some cool sets, might not turn out too bad. I'd like to see more.
"How many people are watching?" Uncork'd Entertainment has debuted an official trailer for an indie sci-fi prison escape thriller titled Division 19, the latest from filmmaker Suzie Halewood (Running Time, Bigga Than Ben). The film premiered at the Fantasporto Film Festival in 2017, where it won the Critics' Award, and also played at the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival last year, where it won Best Director. Set in 2039, Division 19 takes place in a future where jails have been turned into online portals where the public gets to choose what prisoners eat, wear, watch and who they fight. The most successful is Panopticon TV, which is about to be rolled out to an entire town. When the most downloaded felon escapes, the authorities set a trap to reel him in. Linus Roache and Alison Doody star, with Jamie Draven, Lotte Verbeek, Clarke Peters, L. Scott Caldwell, and Will Rothhaar. Not surprisingly this looks instantly forgettable.
"Henry, were you dreaming?" "Dreamt I was human…" Lionsgate has debuted a trailer for an indie sci-fi thriller titled Life Like, which heading straight-to-VOD this May. No surprise once you see the trailer, this looks pretty awful. It's one of those sci-fi films that tries to play with a cool concept, but really turns out to be some mushy, cheesy waste of time. Addison Timlin and Drew Van Acker star as a couple who get a lifelike robot to help them with work. At first, android Henry is quiet and hard-working. But as his AI kicks in, he "starts to anticipate the couple's needs and desires, ones they themselves cannot fully understand." What will happen next? Of course, he's going to ruin everything and kill one of them. How else would this progress. Also starring Steven Strait, James D'Arcy, and Mark Famiglietti. This is one worth skipping.
"We can no longer steer Aniara…" Magnolia Pictures has debuted the first trailer for sci-fi thriller Aniara, an exceptional indie film about a spaceship carrying settlers to Mars that is knocked off course, causing the consumption-obsessed passengers to ponder their place in the universe. This premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year, and stopped by a few other festivals. I saw the film at TIFF and totally loved it - writing a glowing review saying "this film is AMAZINGLY good, perhaps the best indie sci-fi I've seen since Arrival, perfectly executed and invigorating in its rigorous sci-fi storytelling." Starring Emelie Jonsson, Arvin Kananian, Bianca Cruzeiro, Anneli Martini, Jennie Silfverhjelm, Peter Carlberg, and Emma Broomé. This film truly is one of the finest sci-fi films of the last few years, and I can't wait to see it again and dig more into its big ideas. I've been telling all my sci-fi fan friends about this one, give it a look below.