As the film opens, we meet astronauts Chris (Jason Tobias), Jim (Thurston Hill), mission commander Emilia (Julia Farino), and their floating robotic companion KEVIN (voiced by Sean Burgos), who are the members of a small expedition living on the red planet.
Chris and KEVIN are providing maintenance on a vital piece of equipment when they are notified the base's communications array has gone offline.
With the communications satellite being the crew's only lifeline to earth, Emilia makes the courageous decision to travel into orbit to rendezvous with the satellite in order to enact repairs.
It's a very risky operation, and when something goes terribly wrong, Chris must confront his own personal demons, or Emilia and the entire expedition may be lost.
ICARUS manages to accomplish what many big-budget science fiction films so often fail to do - tell a thoroughly compelling story not overwhelmed by visual effects.
Teller has a mastery of directing not only convincing moments of intimate character interaction, but also using visual and special effects to create impressive set pieces and environments.
The entire cast gives exceptional performances, most notably with Jason Tobias and Julia Farino's portrayals aptly powering the short's dramatic core.
ICARUS is also a gorgeous looking film.
From vast Martian planetscapes to stunning orbital and space vistas, the short's cinematography goes toe-to-toe with those of acclaimed space dramas Gravity and The Martian.
The result is a beautiful and moving piece about human frailty and connection set against the red planet.
Watch ICARUS here...
Director Tom Teller was very gracious in taking time to speak with us regarding the making of ICARUS, his personal filmmaking influences, and more!
T7M: Tom, what inspired you to become a filmmaker? Who were some of your influences?
TT: I was inspired to pursue film back in high school. Up until then I was torn between wanting to design video games or work in architecture. Funnily enough it was the visual effects side of the industry that got me most interested in filmmaking as a medium. Visual effects for me was the ultimate culmination of art, animation, and live action film. It enables you to take the audience places that aren't otherwise possible. Armed with some of these skills I became addicted that freedom.
T7M: Are you a fan of science fiction? If so, who or what inspired your love of the genre?
TT: I'm a big fan of science fiction because it's inspiring in and of itself. Sci-fi paints a picture of the future and forces you to critically think about the rules of the game. Every other genre of film does this as well, although science fiction is unique in the way that it sculpts a new reality based on the one that we are so familiar with.
T7M: How would you describe the premise of ICARUS?
TT: Icarus at its core is a classic story about fear and overcoming ones obstacles. Based on the Greek myth of flying too close to the sun, our film focuses on the early stages of that hubris - the fearful stages.
T7M: The cast of ICARUS is terrific. How difficult - or easy - was the casting process?
TT: The casting process was very smooth. We cast over two weekends and were thrilled with the talent that came in to audition. The film was a unique challenge for the cast because much of the film involved partially or completely CGI environments / characters.
T7M: There have been many other recent films and television series about humans traveling to/exploring MARS. In your opinion, what makes the story of ICARUS unique?
TT: I feel Icarus is unique in that it is a short vignette looking into the relationship of a mother and her son. There is very little world building, exposition, or large set pieces - the majority of the film takes place close to the actors as they deal with the situations at hand. It is very easy to get carried away with spectacle, and I often find myself having to reel it back and focus on nuances of the story - as those are the aspects that truly speak to the audience.
T7M: The film’s cinematography and visual effects are GORGEOUS. What influenced the look of the film?
TT: You can praise Nico Aguilar for the cinematography on the project, he is a wizard. The look of the film influenced heavily by other Science Fiction films such as Moon, Sunshine, and Gravity, among others.
T7M: Do you plan to tell more stories about the characters and the world of ICARUS?
TT: Possibly down the line, the project was such an undertaking that returning to the world in a longer form piece would require a lot of resources. I look forward to working on another science fiction piece in the near future though.
T7M: How can our readers best find out more about you and your work?
TT: Our newest work can be seen on our website at www.frame48.com. We have been doing a lot of work with brands and agencies as well as developing more narrative content for production in 2018. Follow us on instagram @frame.48 for glimpses into what we're working on.
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