Short indie sci-fi film round-up: Shoot For The Moon, Anteros, Out Of Orbit

Out Of Orbit
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Here’s a trio of short films that you can watch for free, and showcase some terrific filmmaking talent – more on them all here.

Welcome to our place on the site where where we showcase some terrific independent short films that are available out there to watch. This week we’re heading into space with three out-of-this-world films. A father tells his son a bedtime story about a world-saving astronaut, another spaceman is having trouble locating the Moon and a young girl reignites her passion for star travel to cope with the loss of her mother.

Shoot For The Moon (Dir. Chris Wickett)

First up is this charming little film about the frustrations of dreaming big. Directed by Chris Wickett and co-written with Gemma Hurley — who also co-wrote the horror film Host (2020) and wrote Dashcam (2021) — Shoot For The Moon has an astronaut inexplicably bumbling through a city park, holding a map, trying to get to the celestial body of the title. Cue several comical attempts to achieve lift-off, and a surprisingly downbeat and thought provoking ending.

Callum Goodwilliam as Spaceman Sal delivers a brilliant physical performance in the non-speaking role. The music is by Graham Hadfield, a successful composer for TV and Gemma Hurley even makes an appearance as one of the “yoofs” setting off fireworks. A shout out to the VFX crew (Artem Effects) on this production for those fireworks and of course the ever-present Moon.

Throughout the story, Spaceman Sal receives no help in his endeavours. It plays like a parable about dreamers being thwarted at every turn by people with no vision. It’s almost a cry for help to support those people who have high-minded ambitions and need help to achieve them. You can support indie filmmakers too by watching and sharing their work. Watch this one here:

Anteros (Dir. Max Schneiderman)

Next up is an interstellar bedtime story starring Matt Armstrong, Reiko Kaneshiro and Dahi Dalton as husband, wife and son respectively. After a heated discussion about his absence in the home from working all hours, the father takes time out to tell his son a bedtime story about an astronaut on a distant planet which serves as a metaphor for their family situation.

The cinematography by Orson Ford is decent and Archer Ossman’s VFX are suitably lofi to marry up with the picture book aesthetic. The music too (composed by Siobhan Schallert) has a fairytale quality the likes of Edward Scissorhands. There’s a credit too for the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) cinematic dept. Expect to see some more of their output here.

The astronaut’s suit is the kind of thing you’d imagine a kid making for World Book Day, all tin foil and motorcycle helmet, and it made me think of the Cory McAbee film The American Astronaut (2001) which I can also recommend you see. It’s probably on Youtube, just like this one is. Watch it here:

Out of Orbit (Dir. Dann Emmons, Jess Kay)

Saving the best till last, another one that made me cry — which may become a trend here — we have Out of Orbit (2021, pictured), a very moving film about losing a loved one and finding the strength to carry on living. A young girl finds new hope through a love of outer space that she shared with her late mother.

The fantasy sequence here is delivered with remarkable simplicity, but is all the more magical for it. With a stand-out performance by Amira Macey-Michael, whose wish upon a star will I think have you in bits, Out of Orbit does that thing that UK cinema does so well by being subtle and grounded enough to not lose you in its metaphor. You’ll want to believe a girl can fly a cardboard rocket into space.

The music by Claire Batchelor carries the emotional weight well and charges the fantasy sequence with enough epic grandeur to reach the Moon. David Witchell’s cinematography captures the childlike viewpoint of the film perfectly. I’m not certain who was responsible for the art direction and set design but whoever was responsible for the cardboard rocket (exterior and interior) has my undying admiration. Check it out here.

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