From films such as The Terminator and The Matrix, to television series Battlestar Galactica, Westworld and Humans, science fiction seems to have an endless fascination with the creation of true artificial intelligence/life, as well as what implications such an event would mean for the future of humanity.
In the sci-fi western short RUNAWAY by TK2 Films, the year is 2065. Sophisticated androids called "synthetics" have become a new servant class.
Incidentally, two years prior, the synthetics became fully self-aware in a event dubbed "the awakening."
As a result of becoming sentient, synthetics now desire freedom and the same rights as human beings. Driven by the fear of being supplanted as the dominant species on earth, human society begins a brutal, violent pushback.
Deadly bounty hunters known as "darkcoats" have been assigned to apprehend fugitive synthetics alive or dead.
He hates synthetics. Believing they are "the devil's work," he wants to rid the world of them.
After encountering a fugitive synthetic named Maria (Callie Bussell), along with synthetic sympathizers Mason (Ed Trucco) and his companion Louise (Caroline Rankin), Renzler is forced to reconsider his beliefs regarding the plight of the artificial humans. This strains his already tenuous partnership with Barrett
When the two bounty hunters finally catch Maria, a fateful turn of events leads to an explosive reckoning.
RUNAWAY, written and co-directed by Harrison Heller, is not just another sci-fi tale about self-aware androids. It is also a scathing commentary on the disturbing rise of racism, xenophobia, and extreme nationalism throughout the world.
"Check out our in-depth interview with RUNAWAY writer and co-director Harrison Heller here."
The synthetics are feared because they are different, and society, particularly those in power, perceive them as a threat to the status quo.
The short makes these observations strictly within the natural flow of the narrative - not with obnoxious, heavy-handed sermonizing. This is where the writing and cast shine.
The dialogue feels naturalistic, delivered by actors who provide nuanced, compelling performances that are irresistibly engaging.
RUNAWAY is extremely well produced, with an overall aesthetic that is an intriguing mix of western and steampunk stylings juxtaposed with futuristic technology.
The end result is a gripping sci-fi short with visual flair that makes immersion into the story an effortless endeavor.
Watch RUNAWAY in its entirety here ...
Make sure to check out our fascinating interview with writer and co-director Harrison Heller here.
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