“Résistance”(2016 animated) Alex Chauvet et al.(uploaded at DUST November 19, 20,21, 6:36 minutes)
Dominated by an Insect’s totalitarian regime, the staff of a restaurant organizes a plot to knock down the established order.
Review: This is a French restaurant that caters to very high-ranking patrons. The beetles do a great job. The sight of the beetles guzzling mini glasses of champagne is not one to miss, so it’s not surprising the film clocked over 150k viewers in fewer than ten days.
However, they are still unhappy with all of the grossness. They are plotting in a kitchen. And it doesn’t help that one of the drunken beetles starts pawing (“appendaging?”) the woman in the red dress. Something’s gotta give. Things get very dark … then very hot. Then it gets very messy. But there are no spoilers.
Amid the film, an alert viewer will realize that it is an allegory about a human society.
As one commenter said, “On the one hand, “… an indie animated short has better insect creature designs than anything major projects in cinema and the gaming industry have managed to produce in over 2 decades now. The skill to make a giant bug both true to nature and absolutely insanely and terrifyingly monstrous is a rare one indeed!”
On the other hand… those aren’t really beetles now, are they? Is it dehumanizing?
There’s also a sci fi short at DUST featuring intelligent insects that turns the theme around (this time out, humans are the oppressors): “Science+.” If you’ve a few minutes to spare, you might want to watch that one too:
What if insects could testify against humans? (11:11 minute) Science+ shows a shrinking inventor facing Ant Justice. In a comic turnabout, the ants, seen face to face, turn out to be roughly like people, of whom — Matt discovers — he has killed nearly 3500.
We have sorted the films below by length in minutes or seconds so that you can choose based on your interest and how much time you have.
Five minutes or less
“This planet is not in our co-ordinates.”(3 min.) A space courier crew receives a surprise when they deliver a mysterious device to a strange world. You could almost see it. “McPherson’s Toys”This is happening, but it will be 500 years later, as an office gag. (Animated)
The robot waits for the humans’ return (3:25 min). “Robert”A robot household assistant who does little but roam the house while humans are away. This short film is a meditation about loneliness with music accompaniment and a robot as its central character.
Three lives are put under a cruel experiment (3.32 min). This minimalist film shows that rational thought can be defeated by the will to live or to exact revenge on death. In “2-Bullet Solution,” only one of three people can survive being trapped in a test gas chamber — by shooting the other two.
Fenestra, an alien lands in a domestic drama. (3:49 min) As the alien ships loom worldwide, the cheating boyfriend thinks he can just come back… At under four minutes, Fenestra gives all the elements of a good, lean story against an alien invasion setting.
Can video games save a single survivor? (3:51 min) “High Score”Features fine animations of apocalyptic scenes after civilisation. The “game”If this is an existential struggle, it may be better to have a longer treatment. However, the animation is well-imagined.
When the robot Nature is revealedA robot dog gets caught in a time loop on a destroyed planet. If a robot dog had a dog mind, wouldn’t it prefer to be as much of a real dog as possible?
What if smarter people are not the future? (4 min) The aerial landscape would be dotted with comic scenes, which would dispel the usual earnestness in sci-fi movies. A brief sci-fi diversion like “Floaters”This reminds us to not let our ignorance get in the way of solving problems. (Animated)
What if an older man could see his mom again? (4:02 min) “Bygone”This is a difficult film to watch if your loved one has died recently. However, it is worth the effort. The old man is trying to retrieve his memories using neuroscience imaging.
The machine world at its most nihilist 4 minutes 38 min This animated cyberpunk thriller shows a world where autonomous vehicles are rare and faces are very rare. The “Autonomous”Near-future world: Almost everything, except for the drug dealers, is a machine. (Animated)
Would you consider becoming an animal to save a species of animals? (4:13 min.) The animation is well done and the question is interesting. “Floreana”Imagine a world in which we become the animals we want to save.
A choice between saving one’s child and oneself Is life always so simple? We will see. (4:58 minutes) Zoe is a nice summer view with an happy ending. Technically, the actors are seasoned. Some questions remain.
Ten minutes or less
Pay attention to what you wish. There is always tomorrow. (5:01). Carl, a lonely man is determined to ignore the warnings and try the Luvsik process, which will lead him to fall in love at the first sight. The short film features strong performances by Momo Dione and Samantha Lester, and the surprise ending avoids cliché.
A girl with kinetic abilities must make a choice. (5:06 min.) Should she help relatives with activities that she knows are wrong? “Kinetic”It is well executed, but it breaks a fundamental rule for science fiction: There must exist a clear science basis to the story premise.
It’s 2075! Our motto: “Ignorance is Bliss”This animated short is 5:12 minutes long. It asks us all to imagine a future where information is reduced to a haze. A neurobotanist tries to preserve his knowledge of plants in a futuristic landscape of clutter and futurist buildings.
In “No Guarantee,”Brain uploading can be costly. (5:22 min) In a ruined mid-21st century Britain, a couple gains tickets to a virtual world — if their brains can be uploaded. But can they? This short film explores the theme of brain uploading as escape. It features characters who make serious choices.
Virtual friends can be addictive (5:31). Animated short “Best Friends”It begins with the thirty-fifth birthday party for a rather unhappy young man. Our hero, like many addicts, cannot use his futurist fix to loneliness responsibly and ends doing desperate things.
What happens if Earth passes through a black hole (5:36 min) This story isn’t exactly about passage through a black hole: It is a meditation on nothingness that crashes headfirst into nihilismThe film prompts thought about why anyone should believe that there is no underlying order behind the universe. The artwork makes it obvious that there is.
Rescuing people who are lost. (5:41 min) Animated, in French, with English subtitles, but don’t let that deter you. The professional relationships in “Protocole Sandwich”They sound very real and are worth the time. Animation is excellent.
The robot vet for the disabled “A Robot Is a Robot”Gets a job as a cat groomer. (5:49 min). This is a great five-minute video, partly because it shows what animators can do in scifi with animated stills. Max Planck scientists recently concluded in a paper that intelligent AI is impossible to stop. This film is a good illustration.
“Are we alone?”A new sci-fi short is asked. But then why? (5:48) “Laniakea,” we are introduced to a civilization’s – museum? Or is it the other way around? An intriguing Sci-fi Saturday. Laniakea’s central idea is a serious thesis of astrobiology: Extraterrestrial civilisations will eventually die unless they come up with an unconventional solution.
When oxygen becomes the most expensive commodity (6:02 minutes) This sci-fi riff shows beautiful renderings of abandoned advanced civilisations, hidden in caves. Most drones have turned hostile, blocking a human’s access to the precious oxygen supply, controlled by a friendly AI.
When a simulated world starts to crumble. (6:11 minutes) “Untitled Earth Sim 64”, Marie has reason to expect trouble when the simulator who explains reality to her cannot get her name right… If Marie has found God amid strange events, as her friend thinks, the God she has found is highly disorganized one.
The (virtual doctor) will see you right now (6:25 min). A middle-aged man who is alone experiences a future in which medicine works correctly, but the human dimension has disappeared. Once bitcoins have been received, a digital doctor will instantly give diagnoses and treatment from a virtual kiosk.
When God gets distracted — (6:36 min) A clever animated short offers a take on why there is so much violence and chaos in the world
In “Tales from the Multiverse,”Earth is the beta version of the God who has been too busy settling scores between his children, including the devil, to attend to Earth.
The Wild West, as seen in another cosmos (6.58 min) Jane Montana must rescue her hostage from three criminals. But is Montana as good as she claims? “Cosmo”Parallel universes are invoked: A story is vividly imagined and told by an inhabitant of another universe.
If you met someone in a dream every night… ? (7:08 minutes) A sci-fi short that asks the question of what reality is. What if a recurring dream you have with another person is the equivalent of reality?
AI attempts creativity! … by kidnapping newborns (7:10 min). The AIs pursuing world dominance choose the wrong child. In “The Shift,”Once the AIs realize that creativity is a human trait, they decide that he should be eliminated. This does not work.
Worst: AI robots invade. “help”us (7:22 minutes). A well-meaning AI tries to “rescue”A child who is able to understand the consequences of the imminent destruction of humanity. “Cera,”A sci-fi short that explores the implications of Robotics’ Zeroth Law (robots must aid humanity). Why SHOULD it go well?
When sci-fi begins to get serious about colonization (7.12 minutes) It is worth seeing, but we never learn who the characters are fighting for or why they cannot arrange a treaty. The “Ripple Effect”The production values are more interesting than the intellectual content when we look at rebellion against colonization of a new world.
For robots, love among the ruins. “Left behind”This animated short shows robots searching for somewhere to live in a deserted and ruined industrial area (7:14 min). It has been viewed 275,000 times. Animation solves many of the problems that robots face when trying to be characters.
In: A fight for the winning ticket (7.35 min) “Here comes Frieda,”A young woman finds a ticket to escape a superstorm in 2040 that has engulfed the planet. But does the way out really exist or is it just a rumor? Or is she just holding onto a fragile hope and hanging on?
If we all depended on a few handfuls of seeds… (7:39 min)
Actually, we do. A Norwegian filmmaker has made a short film about the possibility of this outcome. What if aliens seized the carefully bred seed stock that feeds the world? We would not be controlled by radiation or plagues.
One day the door to the robot’s shop opens (7:44 min) In “Roy,”The robot is suddenly confronted and attacked by another robot. It’s a good short film but, while the special effects are well done, it makes no sense that the characters are supposed to be robots.
An astronaut on a space mission to infinity (7.55 min) After the crash of the space station module, the astronaut is befriended and questioned by a friendly neighbor. Who is he? “Flotando,”It has won many awards and is a mixture of sci-fi experience and near-death experience. It reminds me of the 1960s Twilight Zone series.
Layers of deceit plague a high-tech call center – Sci-fi Saturday (7:57 min) In “Lifeline,” Jess, locked in, must try to save a competitor’s life when she can only contact artificial intelligence choices that are not programmed to provide the needed assistance. Jess is resourceful in attempting to save Keith’s life, despite the constant AI roadblocks. She is unaware of the extent of what is happening.
Human psychology in a world that doesn’t have water (8:05 min) “Oasis”This film was made in response to the 2018 Capetown Water Crisis. Good short film — but one can take the “empowered woman”It’s too much. That probably doesn’t really work in a desperate struggle for survival.
Killing people “Likes” on an alien planet: Sci-fi Saturday If only this crisp tale didn’t sound so much like the social media we actually know (8:06 min) “Happy Hunting” follows a social media influencer who murders doomed people to break an online record — and then faces a final, fatal choice.
We have met the aliens and they are… comb jellies. (8:15 minutes) The alien lifeform, when it appears in “Seedling,”It is well-imagined. It is a great film to watch for the feeling of isolation that will occur when technology bubble bursts. “comb jelly” space alien.
What if a loved ones age faster than you? – Sci-fi Saturday It’s one of the implications of faster-than-light travel (8:19 min). Should a young Cpt. Bernhard, her now very elderly husband, should she take her to the new Earth Gaia? That’s the emotional and ethical dilemma in ARK.
If it’s real, it must be endured. (8:47 min) “It’s Okay?”A futurist technology uses to take a woman through her time with a person she loves. This short sci-fi film plays around with time — and neatly and deftly avoids the common shortcoming of becoming just plain confusing.
“Kiko”: A great, short story with key questions left unanswered. A lonely retail service robot longs to find a place beyond her shop. (9:21 min.) A short but interesting story that does not address the question of how Charlie obtained a robot like hers. “want”It may offer something new or different than its programming.
When “The Workplace”This short film is not your average (9:32 min). It begins with a woman trying to reassure herself, unsettlingly. “I AM the boss.” This sci-fi short will appeal to many who have had a job at the corner of Rat and Race and sense that’s a blessing compared to the alternative.
What if there were serious battles over clouds? (9:41 min.) Such wars could occur in a world with technology but a dearth of water. The short sci-fi film “Oceanmaker”This movie features pirates who steal water from clouds and a pilot who challenges these characters.
If roaches formed a miniature civilization… (9:44 min) The roaches have built a rocket, intending to go to the moon, and their activity wakes up a dormant human. Rocket Roaches shows that humans have disappeared into virtual reality, leaving it to the cockroaches as the intelligent species to explore the universe.
In a futurist-themed game Inmost thoughts are true. (9:53) Family members play the game in “My House,”Acts emerge from long-standing hostilities. It is frightening for players to confront the inner violence that millennia worth of civilization has suppressed.
What if cloning was as simple as shopping? (9:57 min) A couple stumbles on a means of cloning life forms and they get, shall we say, far more than they bargained for… This thought experiment, posed as a film, should make us glad that cloning is technically tricky and used mainly for farm animals.
15 minutes or less
In a Future Market, Time To Live Is Bought, Sold (10:57 min) An employee wants to rebel against the greed and injustice but then she would run out of time … “The Bargain” raises some issues — as a thought experiment — that appear in real life in the illegal organ trade
Scared by a Scrap Monster (11 minutes 09 min) If you’ve never been scared by a Scrap Monster, then this is the place for you. “Pinki.”You are clearly missing out. It’s fun watching a middle class South Korean business executive try to cope with the Scrap Monster. Perhaps it’s an allegory for our big environmental issues.
What if insects could testify against humans? (11:11 minute) Science+ shows a shrinking inventor facing Ant Justice. In a comic turnabout, the ants, seen face to face, turn out to be roughly like people, of whom — Matt discovers — he has killed nearly 3500.
Can a man travel back and make amends for his past? (11:11 min) It turns out that the old man calling from 2120 doesn’t just want to give his younger self advice; he wants to change the past to prevent tragedy.
“Hey, it’s me”This new approach to time travel relies on the concept that time is unchanging.
What if your AI began to speak like a human? (11:12 minute) Should you just turn it off and leave the place? And not to tell anyone “Intelligentia”It has strong performances and is a good introduction into the Turing Test (how would you know if a machine has achieved consciousness?)
When the human race is down to its final offer … (11:23 min) The aliens want Earth’s oceans (have they wrecked their own?) and now the fate of Earth turns on a single question: Is Henry really the world’s worst lawyer? The Final Offer’s alien corporate lawyer and the downbeat human lawyer are able to make artful comedy using the not-so-used technique of comic dialogue.
Could stored memories be able to bring back the dead A nerd sees a way to bring back his friend Adam from Adam’s girlfriend’s memories (11:45 min) In Adam 2.0, the quest to bring back a dead friend from memory turns on a central question about the nature of human identity.
What would the ruins of look like? “Eden”What would you like to be like? — Sci-fi Saturday (11:51 min)
A space drifter finds the remains of a high-tech civilization while searching for artifacts on an abandoned planet. The derelict remains of an advanced civilization are sobering — picture our own civilization looking like that.
If your life could be told in five photos — Sci-fi Saturday A young woman accepts five key photos concerning a grandfather she never knew, taken at his death via a futurist technology. (11:58 min) It’s a story about what happens when estrangement and loneliness become final, with the death of the one from whom one has been estranged.
Why you don’t want duplicate yourself. (12:07 min) “The Unboxing Video”Offers philosophy and dark comedy about the question of what is. “oneself” means. A lonely man films himself unboxing his android replicant and discovers how difficult it is to live with two of them. But will he be able to return?
“Speed of Time”at DUST (12.19 min): A computer geek writing a pizza deliveryHe discovers that his work matters more than he thought. Imagine what happens when an accomplished ground warrior busts in from another time on a quiet family at the breakfast table…
Landing back on Earth as the sole inhabitant — unless we count the cat (12:24 min) In “Origin,”An astronaut from an interstellar space station explores the effects radiation has on Earth.
What can will power do for nature? (12:29) Despite his career-ending disability, Aaron — as an alternative to accepting life as a bystander — is trying to use his skills to take down a gunrunning gang. Even though the climax will cheer up those who have a disability, it leaves many fundamental questions unanswered. Maybe they can’t be resolved.
The artist’s android has a surprise in store for him… (12:33 min) He makes the fateful decision to allow her to depart from her programming during a crisis. In “Muse,”Kay, an android that is slowly becoming humanized, raises some interesting philosophical and ethical issues about being/becoming a human.
Android asks if immortality is really a benefit. (12:43 min.) He claims that he cannot appreciate life if he knows that he will never die. More philosophy than scifi. “Extent”This article explores the question of how much of life’s meaning is derived from the inevitable death of a loved one.
Draper’s chess metaphor seems apt: Life would be endless games where none is intrinsically connected to the previous one in any meaningful way.
Merv is the last person in a radioactive world. (13:05) He’s been alone so long that the thought of another human being panics him. Merv must confront another survivor. The story takes a classic twist, but we wouldn’t have predicted that. The rest of life continues.
A bot becomes a joker in a world run entirely by robots (13:12 minutes) This is the dull, dystopian atmosphere that Australia has become dominated by robots. “System Error,”This is a well-done video and well worth the effort. The story prompted this viewer to consider what thoughts a robot simply couldn’t have without some kind of input from consciousness — always the Hard Problem.
An asteroid lurks near Earth, and it devours time (13.23 min). Or, at least, it devours the perception of time as one man discovers in “Flyby.”A man wakes up each morning to find that he is living in his own future, as Chrono-7 hazes Earth.
In “This Time Away,”A robot helps an older person to rediscover their life (13.24 min). The robot is very impressive and it is fun to see how he gets his name. Many people abandon their elderly relatives so it is a nice fantasy to find a helpful robot in the backyard.
The robot tries learning about grief (13.37). “Rewind,”A robot is purchased by an elderly woman to help her cope with tragedy. Investigating the woman’s unhappiness, the robot discovers more than it was, perhaps, intended to know.
What happens if next-stage evolution kids appear? (13:44 min) “Vikaari,”A short sci-fi film from Sri Lanka explores the possibilities. As a parable about the social risks of constant internal warfare, the story is well-done.
What if the rescue is actually the worst part? (14:00) Crew members of a crashed spaceship find themselves on a deserted planet with very strange features. This film version of Stephen King’s 1985 short story “Beachworld” blends the science fiction genre and the horror genre — leaving viewers sharply divided.
Can an alternative universe save a lonely little girl? (14:05) A girl finds that fighting space aliens is easier than fighting brain haemorrhage, guilt, and other mental illnesses. CARONTE ends as it must — not happily but inevitably, and with at least some sense of redemption.
Can parents return an android-adopted child? (14:10 minutes) “Article 19-42,” they aren’t even united in their grief; they just think they must “do something”To get back a copy of what they have remembered. They don’t have any spiritual, philosophical, or other resources to help them get out of this dead end.
What if you could have a fresh start in your life with just two pills? (14:23 minutes) Would you feel the exact same about suicide? In “Cam Girl,”A woman whose life is largely going nowhere learns what it means for her to be truly desperate.
A future in which dreams are privatized (14.26 min) Unfortunately, Carlos does not want to live the dream he has. “I Dream” is to see his missing family again and that’s illegal … More dystopia than science fiction but the post-5G surveillance environment amid mass poverty and oppression is well imagined.
When emergency services are run by AI … (14:38 min) It’s not just that AI doesn’t care; it can’t. It’s clear. It’s all in the details. “Stuck,”A young woman trapped in an accident at a mine far from Earth receives confusing advice by bots to help her escape.
What if sweet sleeping were a distant memory. (14:51 minutes) In a world that is going mad “Don’t Forget To Remember”A young woman may be able to find a cure for insomnia. The problem with writing about insomnia is that it does not have to be a cure. This film sets the bar high, starting with the horrifying opening scene.
Twenty minutes or less
Could you be reconstructed by your memories? Sci-fi Saturday Would you destroy the digitalized? “you”Be a murderer? (15:46 min) “The Final Moments of Karl Brant”This intriguing sci-fi murder mystery crossover raises interesting philosophical points.
When you are the only human left— Sci-fi Saturday. Are you the only living human or the only one? (16:19 minutes) “Martha,” the stark reality of two girls on the brink of eternity slowly seeps into the viewer’s imagination.
A man in desperate need contacts his unborn grandchild (17:00 min). “gets the mail”And sends it back via a mysterious mailbox, something from the future that gives the felons a great surprise. “The Mailbox,”Set in a Mid-20th Century North American Chinatown. It manages time travel issues quite well by using the art of the folk story.
A one-girl war with the total surveillance state —Sci-fi Saturday (17:24 min) The acting, ambience, and special effects in “Bolero”They are of the highest quality “Bolero”The urgent topic of total government monitoring is addressed. This is how it would look in the United States. It is an everyday reality in China.
“Alone”DUST. (18:49 minutes) Kaya Torres, a space engineer, is the only survivor from a black hole. She contacts an “interstellar penpal”She will be there until her death. She makes a desperate escape, but then discovers the incredible implications of time travel.
What does terraforming Mars mean? “Mars”-forming people. (19:14 min) In this award-winner, the underground humans must, according to the terraforming colony’s rules, deny emotion, which pretty much guarantees a story. The “New Mars”Colony is a contradiction: The alleged “better world” created by “science and logic” can’t accommodate the nature of humans.
Can a Robot Discover a Better Planet Than Earth with a Robot? (19:31 min.) The problem is that the robot doesn’t know how to communicate with humans. “Avarya” is governed by Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics. After 55 habitable planets, the—by then very old—fellow is beginning to suspect something about the robot’s judgment…
Twenty-five minutes minimum
“Limbo”Profiles a futurist approach (24/21). In an attempt to help him learn empathy, the convict must be induced into a coma and live in a vision. For one innocent convict, it’s a nightmare of incomprehensible suffering, from which friends stage a rescue attempt.
Can we live in something other than the present moment? (24.42 min) A tech entrepreneur who succeeds in time travel can get trapped in his past mistakes. In “Container,”The time traveler is locked in his lab and can only be released by dangerous, repeated attempts to go back to the time when the door was unlocked.
“The Beacon”DUST. Refreshingly real, especially the Arctic encounter where the grieving husband discovers what really happened. Not to be missed is Mark’s encounter with the bureaucrat from hell.
40 minutes or less
“The Big Nothing”This drama combines sci-fi with whodunit in a taut story. (37.54) Combining detective and sci-fi elements takes skill, but this Australian crew succeeds. Arriving at a mining station near Saturn, Detective Lennox must interview three suspects in the captain’s murder. All of them have motives. Who lies?