Sci Fi Short Film – Dust

In this excellent science fiction dystopian short film, Dust, evolution happens really quickly, with often deadly consequences. The film was funded through Kickstarter and was inspired by anime and horror tropes. Via Short of the Week:

Absolutely one of my favorite VFX sci-fi/fantasy releases of the year, Mike Grier’s dystopian, environmental parable combines everything I love about the form, from gorgeous practical design with tasteful VFX work, to a genuinely satisfying story set within an exciting and interesting world.

The setup is a bit cliché of course—an outsider, part of an ancient but disparaged order, nurses a crushing heartbreak that has alienated him from society. Yet, in the face of catastrophic disease that threatens civilization, he is marshaled into finding a cure. Irezumi, played by noted Japanese actor Mashasi Odate, is a bit different though than a normal protagonist—first off he is Asian, which allows the filmmakers to draw upon a different set of traditional associations than we in the West are used to in order to flesh out the character. Additionally, as a “tracker” the ancient order he belongs to, Irezumi’s skills are not merely survivalist, he is also a scientist, his observational skills as a zoologist and a botanist are arguably more important than his physical skills.

Grier lists anime and classic horror as key inspirations for the film, and the anime influences are especially noticeable in the film’s themes, if not necessarily its look, including the film’s emphasis on environmental degradation (Miyazaki, most notably in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind) as well the concept of “living in balance”. While I have not confirmed it with the filmmaker, I would bet strongly that Irezumi, a lone ambassador whose fights against the fantastical creatures of the forest are tinged with a sentiment of deep sadness and hopeful desire to achieve harmony, is heavily modeled off the anime tv show Mushi-shi, a show that is not well known in the West, but considered one of the classics of the past 10 years.

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