Science fiction is one of the most lucrative genres for filmmakers. There is a plethora of imaginative strands that span across the Milky Way or pump inside the views of wide eyes dreamers. We could plunder into the depths of the sky or the horrors in our minds and still not reach its true potential. Love is love, drama is drama, but monsters, stars and the Earth beyond is limitless. At another Shorts on Tap event, huddled in the basement of Juno in Shoereditch, the audience strap themselves in to be sent on a journey of twisted human nature and uncharted futures with Rocket Science; the final frontier of short film.
Blasting off the evening, and with the evening putting their best foot forward, was the exquisite Jonah. Layered with themes that are softly shed with the beautiful story, this is a tale of a woman clinging desperately to an, assumed, lost love. Feeling akin to Michele Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine, Jonah is a steady drama that unfolds to become unnerving. Presenting us with many questions, filmmaker Jeremy Willmott has not only created a stunning aesthetic with strong acting and a gripping score. But he uses futuristic advancements and possibilities to address how memory and clinging on to unacquainted hopes could eat away at you. Jonah is an eloquent film.
The three that follow are steeped in different levels of science fiction but each lack from not concisely telling a story, feeling much more like a snippet than a fully realised film. That’s not to say they aren’t terrific and are a great stepping stone for the artists behind the camera. Exile is a gritty black and white drenched zombie feature, by Zac Moss, that holds your tension though had the (better) possibility of going another way before showing their monsters (for a while, I had hoped for a human hunting story). The Departure by Ioaniss Christoforou placed religion in space ships. Without dialogue, the naked first man and woman are dropped off by anthropoid spaceships, alluding to a new twist to the creationist story. The Radical by Jack Pirie, which, to be fair, has already stated “to be continued,” was about government verses a new age of humanity despite spooky security men wanting to wipe them out. Their short time span hindered them, leaving is before fully forming a story.
The second half of the evening twisted through the quaint, the quirky and the “holy shit, what was that?” aspects of science fiction. Lux by Chris Chung was rather pleasant with gorgeous special effects and a lovely story about star capturing whilst The Last Man on Earth by Carlo Ortu was funny with a dark edge to it. Finally, ending on the most horrific, The Gate by Matt Wesrup presented a moral undertone to illegal pharmaceutical drug possession. Obviously, the only way to do this is to maim our psyches with the strong yet twisted graphics and humans turned monsters. It’s probably the point, because after watching this film, if you see a syringe you’ll be shuddering.
What this night proved, without a doubt, is that the next generation of science fiction film makers have already lifted off into the stratosphere. On minuscule budgets they have bent narrative, expanded our minds and given us worlds to explore. Riveting, Shorts on Tap have yet again succeeded.
And because you all need to be scarred as I am, here is The Gate