Monday, January 25, 2010

More Indie Sci-fi Goodness

As you know from my previous reviews of films like Moon, I'm a big fan of the small-budgeted sci-fi flicks which are finding an increased presence at film festivals the world over. It's refreshing to see an emphasis returning to smaller, intimate projects as opposed to the bloated big-budgeted affairs Hollywood has had a boner for over the last couple of decades. After all, least we forget, the original Star Wars was made on a relative shoe-string budget. Of course, Lucas has now become the poster boy for sci-fi glut. Ironic, huh?

Anyway, over on his blog, sci-fi author Tobias Buckell made mention of a new indie sci-fi short film out of Africa, called Pumzi. I was intrigued and decided to check the trailer out. Take a gander for yourself:

Ooh, pretty nice! It's so great seeing not only a small, well-done production like this in the genre, but by a non-Western perspective as well. And the lead is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! The actress' name is Kudzani Moswela, a 22 year old newcomer to the game, and I sure do hope we see more of her. She makes me all a-tingly in certain places, LOL!

Added more to the intrigue of this project is that it was independently produced by the film's award-winning writer/director, Wanuri Kahiu--a Kenyan woman! You can read more here about the production and the hoops and loops she had to jump through just to get this off the ground. I think what heartens me the most is that she wants to try and get this made into a feature-length film, much in the same way South African writer/director Neil Blomkamp got his indie short, Alive In JoBurg, remade into District 9, last year's summer sci-fi breakthrough.

If I had only one negative quip about what the trailer reveals, it's that the story seems extremely derivative of past sci-fi movies. The biggest similarity falls between Equilibrium and The Island. The first movie dealt with a small, totalitarian society in which dreams and emotional expressions have been suppressed and enforced by the law. The second movie, The Island, was a big-budgeted mess of a film that depicted a secluded underground world in which denizens were kept in check by means of routinely ingested medication and directed to never go outside because the land was a radioactive wasteland. When, in fact, it was not.

Still, these similarities aside, I'm every bit stoked to see this. It's only 20-minutes long and seems the only place I'll ever get to catch this is at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Which means, not at all. Don't know how long it will take for it to see home video release (doubtful at all) or, at least, some form of online distribution. My best bet would be to wait for it to to be expanded into full-feature length, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for that. But if I hear something otherwise, I'll be sure to let ya'll know. Because, you see, that's how I roll.

Or, you know, you can just check out the film's official website for news when it becomes available. Yeah, something like that.


  1. This looks really good. I do agree that the plot is derivative of other sci-fi. I saw it as a mix of Equilibrium, DollHouse, and Wall-E.

    However, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Since the makers of this film are new comers, by using a familiar story, they can focus on the style and form of the movie, as well as adding more character development. It would still make for a compelling film to watch.

    And I won't tell the wife about that tingling thing... ;-)

  2. Tell her all you want, she already knows! She compliments me on my good taste. :)

  3. I'll have my sons check it out - I'm so not a Sci-fi fan - usually.

  4. I know, I know Kim. *sigh* But every now and then I should think a sci-fi movie can do good by you.

    Just look at me. I'm not a horror fan. Yet I do have my favorite movies that are in that category: Halloween, The Exorcist, Interview with the Vampire, Silver Bullet, Dawn of the Dead.

    And I'm pretty sure this latest Wolfman movie with Benicio del Toro is going to get high marks from me. Just a feeling I have.

    I try not to let the failings of other lesser movies in a genre preclude me from at least giving new entries a shot from time to time. You never know when you'll be surprised. :)

  5. Yeah, I want to see this! NOW!!!!!!!!


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