From PostPanic, the Amsterdam based outfit that brought us 2015’s most influential sci-fi short, comes the second in a proposed series of director-driven film projects. Lost Boy is an incredibly atmospheric concept short from two well known names in the space, Ash Thorp & Anthony Scott Burns.
The film itself is maddeningly vague in terms of plot or world, largely held up by its genuinely creative visuals, and extremely polished direction. We’ve made peace with the priorities of concept shorts such as these—they are promos for a vision rather than self-contained works. But despite the lack of narrative development, we expect today’s debut of the film to attract a lot of industry attention, considering the profile and polish of its principal creatives. And boy, does their skill shine through here, as the visuals do not feel like a low-budget retread of familiar tropes, but instead are excitingly unique.
Described by the team as being influenced by “American action classics and Japanese samurai films” the film’s inspirations feel at once familiar, yet impossible to pin down. 80’s touchstones like Terminator and Highlander are what come to my mind, a period of filmmaking which fits the classic cyberpunk character stylings, but as Thorp and Burns describe on the website for the project, Lost Boy “pulls from all eras and genres. Truly. We are trying to incorporate EVERYTHING we love about cinema and storytelling into one logical form.”
Aside from design, the short possesses a rhythm and intensity is quite gripping. That they are able to turn 2 minutes of slo-mo running into a genuinely tense and engrossing viewing experience is a revelation. Immersive is the adjective I would use to describe the experience, as the tone and world-building sucks your attention in like a vacuum.
That such atmospherics are achieved is not surprising given the talent—Thorp, an incredibly influential designer/director, is a fixture at motion conferences around the world, and is responsible for the concept art behind numerous high-profile films in the action and sci-fi space. I also happen to be a fan of his podcast, which is one of the best out there at going deep with A+ directors and designers, including recent eps with SotW-featured filmmakers Saman Kesh and David O’Reilly. The multi-talented Burns is also a director of repute, having received a Staff Pick a few years back for a sci-fi short I quite admired called Manifold. Burns also helps provide Lost Boy’s score, a bass-heavy strings and synth creation that greatly adds to the shorts hypnotic appeal, and which is credited to Angus MacRae and Burns’ music nom de guerre, PilotPriest.
While the short itself is skimpy on backstory, the team have produced a very slick and engaging website dedicated to the project, through which more details will emerge. Loaded with concept art and BTS stills, it is well worth your time to flip through if you’re as captivated by this world as we are.