Sci-Fi Shorts: The Last Human Turns Death Into a Fighting Chance To Live (With Musical Accompaniment)

By David Wharton | Updated

Polymath Pictures’ The Last Human takes a simple concept — a scientist, the lone survivor of a dead Earth, makes a one-way trip to an alien world in an attempt to seed new life with human DNA — and tells that story well courtesy of a beautiful location, a few practical props, and some well-used but never-flashy CGI elements. But what really takes it over the top? A gorgeous, evocative song by the band Swimming, which, although both the film script and the song were written independently of each other, meshes perfectly in a way that strengthens both.

Writer/director by Tom Walsh had already conceived the story of The Last Human and completed a script for the short before the chance to collaborate with Swimming arose. As a result of that partnership, two versions of The Last Human were created. Up top is the music video for the song “I Do (Come True).” Below you can see the longer version, which provides some more details about the backstory, and which uses elements of the song as the basis for its musical score. It’s an interesting look at different creative approaches to the same idea, and a powerful example of how much music can bring to visual storytelling.

Walsh says of the song:

When I listened to the song I Do (Come True) I immediately felt a connection between the music and the story I had written. The song has an ethereal quality and a chorus riff that descends into minor chords, taking the listener down into a place of profound meaning. It was that musical connection that made me want to turn the short film into the music video for the song.

As writers are wont to do, Walsh’s story for The Last Human stretches beyond the brief window into its world that the short film provides. He created a more detailed backstory and timeline for the events that led up to this lone traveler making her final sacrifice on a beautiful alien beach.

Further ideas came through as we went into pre production, the concept had such narrative scope that it felt natural to explore the back story and so we are now utilising various platforms for the transmedia storyline which will allow people to explore the world that has been created via online and mobile.

In the music video the viewer will see the word HERA appear quite often. This is the title of the mission in the story and is named after the Greek Goddess of childbirth but also has a double meaning — it is an acronym for the mysterious Human Evolution Recovery Administration. This organisation will form the backbone of the fictional narrative in the story but will cross over into a real world exercise in disinformation and transmedia storytelling.

You can dig deeper into the world of The Last Human on the website, including a timeline laying out the disastrous future that spurs the creation of the mission seen in the video. You can also check out more work from Polymath Pictures on their Vimeo page.

Watch other great sci-fi short films by clicking here!