“Androids are not supposed to dream.”
This is the tagline of a soon to be released sci-fi short film from Ten Wing Films and the mind of Jason Huls. The Drone is a very interesting take on the concept of androids in a futuristic society and what it means to be a “person.”
The first thing I noticed about The Drone is the hauntingly beautiful theme song. At first thought you might think a theme song is just incidental, but the opening sequence, much like the cover of a book, is something that can really draw you in. In my case, it was calming and almost hypnotic. Then, those mellow piano tones come to an abrupt halt and you find yourself dropped into a sterile, minimalist future. The interiors look much like any drab office might, but you quickly learn through the well-paced dialogue that we’re not in Kansas, or even Earth, any more.
The story centers on Oliver, a “drone.” He is one of many drones each programmed to do a specific menial task in the giant city of Nok Tiris, an Orwellian metropolis on an alien planet run by a heartless conglomerate. The story opens as Oliver sits in an examination room with his two creators, Dr. Malone, an obviously compassionate man, and Dr. Samuel, who seems more cold and clinical, but that may just be a result of her fear of the consortium’s rigid regulations.
Oliver has a problem, he had a dream. That is supposed to be impossible, but Oliver has recorded his dream on a chip for his caretakers to examine. Oliver expresses his desire for individuality knowing full well he’s not supposed to feel that way, but his dream has prompted a level of curiosity unseen in drones.
Because of their very different personalities, Doctors Malone and Samuel disagree on the best course of action to take, but while alone in the exam room Oliver decides to take his fate into his own hands. He attempts to learn what his dream means and thus begins an intriguing and exciting tale of discovery as Oliver is pursued by both an enforcer drone and Dr. Malone. One trying to stop him while the other risks his career, and very life, to save him.
The sets are, for the most part, simple, but that is by design. As the story unfolds you learn just how rigid and cruel this unnamed conglomerate truly is so the cold sets give a perfect feel for the society in which these characters live. Being set indoors on a planet, there wasn’t a need for a lot of CGI, but what is there is impressive and serves the story well without being distracting or obvious.
The world created here feels familiar, but with enough little touches, like their written language, to let you know this is another planet. There is no indication of what time period it’s set in or even if these people are our ancestors, or we theirs. That isn’t important to the story and exposition on such would only have served to bog down the narrative. The pace is quick and lean, getting the viewer right into the plot without any baggage.
The theme of artificial life and what it means to be alive has been explored many times before, but I was pleased to see this short film explore new ground in that area. I thought I knew where things were going, but The Drone surprised me and it was a very pleasant surprise. I love stories that can deliver a new take on something you think has been explored completely and The Drone really does deliver.
Currently, there is no set release date for this great short, but it will likely be released on Vodo. Keep watch there, on their Facebook page, Jason Huls’ webpage, and follow them on Twitter for news. Hopefully, I’ll be able to offer the same news here so please keep visiting. You won’t want to miss The Drone.
Studio: Ten Wing Films
Starring: Mark Boergers, Jonathan Kitt, Stephanie Chavara, Steve Brian, Meg Elliott
Directed By: Jason Huls
Written By: Jason Huls
Screenplay By: Jason Huls
Produced By: Ten Wing Films