Short of the Week

The Awareness

An advanced virtual machine, with a troubling choice for humanity, reaches out for help to a humble janitor.

Hello, world.  Hello, janitor.  Goodbye, all human life.  With this gritty short, 1.7 billion lives are at stake as time is running out to sort out the difference between ethics and heroism. With the technician gone, a self-aware machine takes a chance and offers a janitor the opportunity to save humanity and change history.  A choice has to be made, but with dire consequences, who do you trust?  This short delivers big ideas with a simple set up that highlights the impact of effective writing while utilizing irresistible suspense.

Henry Dunham was inspired to create this short once he felt that he finally had access to the equipment that allowed him to produce the short with the exact cinematic vision he felt was appropriate for the story. And, what writer and director Dunham does is take what others might stretch out to a diluted full feature and boils it down to the key elements to create a gripping short.  With The Awareness, we have all the elements of a full feature: a character estranged from his family, an egomaniac tech genius, a rogue machine, cops and guns. However, by focusing on creating a short from these variables, Henry in no way leaves out the gut-punch ride, instead he just saved us 80-minutes of waiting for the good parts. You can thank him for that.  In fact, once the story really picks up the writing is strong enough that this short really grabs you with just a janitor and a monitor screen.

Sure, there are some implausible moments in this story, but we wouldn’t have a film industry if the audience pulled over every film for being implausible. Realistically, the experience and the mood of this short provides enough distraction for you to hold on and go along for the suspenseful ride.

Ultimately, this is a simple set up that addresses some complex themes of how far people (and computers) will go to protect and preserve themselves even in the face of significant consequences.  Henry delivers an effective piece, anthropomorphizing a machine that pulls both the audience and characters into a precarious moment of trust and intrigue…I should probably stop there before I give away too much of the story.

~
Craig has been addicted to shorts for a long time. It began when he pulled the trigger on a Super 8 camera and accidentally became a filmmaker. Now, when he isn't teaching or filming in areas prone to digestive disasters, you can find him at film fests looking for shorts for Couch Fest Films. Interventions failed to correct his obsession with stalking all genres of short films.
  • Steven

    Craig, you were spot on in the critique of The Awareness. A concentrated strong short that spoke volumes that most Full Length features lack. Excellant short!!

  • Emily

    Loved this short. Amazing job, Henry.

  • Ian Fleming Dunham

    “The Awareness” reminded me of an origin story for a more philosophical Skynet. A program that will kill us all but has no hard feelings towards human beings is about to be on the loose. Skillful technical use and ominous themes unpacked with some effective writing makes the movie a real experience. Bravo.

  • jane

    Excellent!

  • jane

    Excellent!

  • Mike. Trenton N.J.

    Awareness … A really well put together short that I found myself wanting more of… You have my vote for a sequel !!!

  • Guest

    This is incredible.

  • Doug Charron

    Extremely well made, thrilling from beginning to end. Fantastic work.

  • Lauren

    Provoking – ‘The Awareness’ kept me thinking hours after watching. Well done.

  • Regaa

    Conspicuous fiction.

  • meklih

    Skynet, anyone :D

  • ag303

    Well done! Creepy, intriguing.
    I’ve only seen the trailer for Her, but comparison seems appropriate.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Steven. I was really excited about sharing this short. I should admit that with my short attention span, most shorts still feel epic for me :) Henry did a great job with this!

  • Dewchinni

    Hank!!!

  • Anonymous

    WOW! This short was excellent and it reminded me so much of the ARG that was released the end of last summer from a Youtube channel named “Pronunciation Book”. PB and Horse_ebooks had an almost 5 year spam-scam going, which tried to convince its followers that it was a spambot in the net! Disappointment doesn’t even describe how their followers felt after it was released as merely being a long-thought-out human-art-project! I, on the other hand, still think it WAS a bot…still seeking material manifestation! Call me crazy…but I think there’s definitely some truth behind a film like this!

  • Anonymous

    WOW! This short was excellent and it reminded me so much of the ARG that was released the end of last summer from a Youtube channel named “Pronunciation Book”. PB and Horse_ebooks had an almost 5 year spam-scam going, which tried to convince its followers that it was a spambot in the net! Disappointment doesn’t even describe how their followers felt after it was released as merely being a long-thought-out human-art-project! I, on the other hand, still think it WAS a bot…still seeking material manifestation! Call me crazy…but I think there’s definitely some truth behind a film like this!

  • Sam

    I won’t let this happen

  • Joseph

    Thanks for being able to do more with a few minutes than most can with 2 hours.