Fantasia 2020 Review: International Science Fiction Short Film Showcase
Fantasia 2020 Review: Intl. Sci-Fi Shorts
[Still from Toto.]
Science fiction in film is --- and can be --- a lot of things, like a look at the intersection of politics, genre, and science as it pertains to what we imagine the future may be... or simply an escape from the drudgery of everyday life.
Fantasia's annual International Science Fiction Short Film Showcase provides all of these things, and more, such as some lovely visuals and stories that make you think.
You can learn more about these shorts via Fantasia, with a live q&a at 7:10pm after the shorts air with the filmmakers via the Fantasia YouTube channel.
Toto (Canada, 13 min.) Dir. Marco Baldonado
A sweet, heartwarming, and occasionally sad tale about a little Italian grandma who gets a robot (Toto) to help her with making pasta and other domestic chores... until her granddaughter updates it and it no longer has any memories. I'll just say that I loved this one, and it's likely to make you smile.
Your Last Day On Earth (Spain, 13 min.) Dir. Marc Martinez Jordán
Wow. This is what you can do with a little budget and a LOT of creative thinking. This short combines lo-fi filmmaking with time travel and lots of laughs. The word "ingenuity" comes to mind, and I'd love to see more from this filmmaker.
Doppelbanger (USA, 15 min.) Dir. Sofian Khan
This short combines a tough-as-nails woman programmer, robot doppelgangers for sale, forbidden robot sex work, and of course --- robot murder. A great concept with a detailed world and characters I'd like to see more of.
Swipe Up, Vivian! (USA, 14 min.) Dir. Hannah Welever
A hilarious tale of a wry woman who's just had enough of dystopia, and is convinced to try a dating/friend site. The characters here feel drawn from real life, particularly the lead. This funny short has a lot of relatability and warmth, as well as a prophetic sense.
Skywatch (USA, 11 min.) Dir. Colin Levy
You can see Levy's making-of on YouTube for Skywatch, including how he got Jude Law for the film. Really advanced filmmaking here reminiscent of Amblin, but with high-tech modernity. Levy is a talent to watch for sure.
Carementis (Australia, 15 min.) Dir. Antony Webb
An astronaut is stranded and critically injured; he tries to get back to his base. He can somehow communicate with the AI trying to help him, but not base. Light on story, but damn, it looks beautiful.
Fall Out (South Korea, 21 min.) Dir. Chung Jae-hoon
I love seeing science fiction (and genre) from other cultures and how they interpret it. This short was really well made and has a lot of realism in how people --- even neighbors --- will take each other down to survive, whether they're women or children. So well done with angst and survivalism that feels real.
Ligeia Marie (Germany, 29 min.) Dir. Adam Zimny
Another film very light on story, but mostly looks pretty good. For a short this long, I expected it to be amazing, but it felt like a TV episode with some stock characters and a rehash that we've seen many times before regarding AI/androids in science fiction cinema.