Coined by SF writer Vernor Vinge, the concept of the “technological singularity” describes the moment when we create an intelligence greater than our own. What would the world beyond that moment look like? Is it even possible for us to do anything but blindly guess? Those questions are being explored by Sundays, an upcoming science fiction short film that asks just what it means to be human. The project recently met its crowdfunding goals and is commencing production as we speak. You can see the project’s Kickstarter promo video below.
Sundays is the creation of Dutch director Mischa Rozema, and tells the story of two people who begin to question their own reality after strange experiences. Rozema certainly has no shortage of ambition, saying that the project is aiming to be in the vein of Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending Inception or Terry Gilliam’s bleak time-travel tale, 12 Monkeys. That’s good company to keep, and while all we have to go on at this point is concept art and the director’s descriptions, Sundays sounds like a flick worth keeping on your radar. Here’s the official synopsis from the Kickstarter page, with the tail end trimmed off to make it less spoiler-y:
A dreamy sequence. Open on the sun. A massive sun flare shoots out. Mexico City. A little kid looks up and sees multiple planes drop out of the sky. Our lead looks out his high rise apartment window; all the city lights go out. In the dark background a few comets rain down. Suddenly all communication stops.
A new day.
Our protagonist works at a software and robotics company. A talented software developer. Has a nice family. Lives in Mexico City but is American.
There’s a certain strangeness to the world he occupies but we can’t quite put our finger on it. For now we act like it’s Mexico City in the near future; a bilingual huge post modern city with big social extremes. The world is being surveilled and maybe even guided but we don’t know by who or what. The people don’t even seem to notice or mind this clear difference to our reality. The sun’s light is different and very present.
Family life and career seem to be going the right direction until a piece of space debris crashes through the office and takes away his cubicle along with 2 of his colleagues. When he comes home he seems a different person. He starts to see the world around him differently, questioning. When he’s in the bathroom, ready to go to bed, he pulls out a huge piece of space debris from the back of his neck. Wondering but telling no one, not even his wife.
We also get to know a poor Mexican female factory worker doing her shifts in the same factory in sterile surroundings. She has a radiation accident without anyone witnessing. She also starts to behave differently.
Together they start a search for truths.
The more they search, the more questions they find; this world is slowly revealing itself as a very strange place. They even start to doubt their own lives. What about the holes in their memories? Major events are just not there.
There are forces attempting to silence him as he gets closer to the truth. Our lead grows more paranoid as he is followed by complete strangers. Who are they?
One day the Mexican woman mysteriously disappears. Later on our lead thinks he sees her, following her past the city’s borders where he makes a strange discovery: that outside of town, civilization has eroded. There’s nothing except nondescript, unfinished structures and landscapes. Some are merely facades, others simply concrete boxes. Whole mountain ranges look low poly and very abstract, only looking good from a certain distance. It’s as though we’re looking at an unfinished render of our planet. Our lead is rapidly becoming aware that the world as he knows it, the world he thinks he knows, is a lie.
This sort of thing is why I think Kickstarter is an amazing service. Rather than having to wade through the mire of the larger film business, filmmakers like Rozema can take their pitch straight to their potential audience. Sure, you’re not likely to raise $100 million you need to make your gigantic summer blockbuster via Kickstarter, but Sundays nevertheless was able to raise $1,000 more than the fifty grand they needed, and all of that from a mere 425 backers. Modestly budgeted projects such as Sundays, with a clear vision and plan laid out, can move forward simply by appealing directly to the people who are likely to enjoy and be passionate about a film like this. It’s a dexterous avoidance of any middle men, with creative talent and like-minded fans collaborating together to make something awesome.
Sundays is currently in production and scheduled to begin filming in Mexico City this November. You can see some of the concept art below.