In recent times, anyone who knows anything about short film will often know that seeing the words sci-fi used when describing a film, will often mean you’re looking at a proof-of-concept short – one designed to be expanded into a longer storyline at a later date. Whilst Josh Tanner’s The Landing is already being developed into a meatier piece after a successful festival run, write it off as just another introduction to a larger universe and you’ll be doing it a huge injustice (hell…it’s not even really a science-fiction film!). Featuring some strong performances from its small cast and some even stronger production values from its talented crew, this short features a look, feel and story capable of slugging it out with Hollywood features of a similar vein.
On the surface, with its unidentified flying objects dropping out of the sky, The Landing feels like a science-fiction film perfectly tapping into the cold war paranoia of the 1960’s. Life has taught us however that we should never judge a book by its cover and strip away the mysteries and tension present throughout Tanner’s film and what you’re left with is a character-driven story about a father/son relationship. Cutting between the past and present day – where we witness our desperate protagonist (Edward) attempting to (literally) unearth a secret buried for over 50-years – The Landing jumps between the two time-periods as we slowly discover why Edward has returned to his childhood home armed with a shovel.
Set in mid-west America but filmed in Australia, Tanner and his crew have done an amazing job with the aesthetic of their film. Utilising a barn left over from the set of Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns and some unobtrusive VFX work the team not only transported their location 15,000km but created a “feature-esque” feel for their short. Influenced by both the Spielberg/Amblin era of Sci-Fi and the golden age of the 1950s/early 60s Sci-Fi cinema, The Landing is a real calling-card for all those involved in bringing it from script to screen.
Currently working on turning the afore-mentioned “feature-esque” feel into an actual feature length version of The Landing, young director Tanner certainly looks like a filmmaker to keep an eye on in the near-future.
If you want to find out more about the process behind creating The Landing, be sure to check out our in-depth interview with its director here