Short Film Review: The Survivor

Billy's Robot From "The Survivor"

The Survivor: A Tale From The Nearscape: a sci-fi indie short film set in a post-apocalyptic future where a young boy with a twisted father and ailing mother faces dystopian dangers to retrieve much needed supplies for his family.

The Good: Impressive cinematography, sound, lighting, colors, music, backdrops, decor, props, CG, so on and so forth, for a 12-minute-long indie science fiction production.

The Bad: Disregarding that which can be regarded as trivial, such as elements that could have been better with fewer budgetary restrictions, more believeable dialogue/reciting of that dialogue, or better quality acting during non-integral scenes, the biggest mark that was missed was the film's emotional charge.

I felt as though I had the same expression on my face throughout the film's 11 minute and 53 second run time. And even though the main character very well may be a mute, there were so many opportunities for emotionally-climactic moments throughout the film, which in my humble opinion, were missed.

The encounter with the female police officer, the moment when Billy (the young male lead) gave up his robot in exchange for medicine for his sick mother, as well as the exchange he had with his mother toward the end of the film, just to name a few. You can blame these emotional requirements on Alex Soska, but as far as I'm concerned, emotional connection and education are a couple cornerstones of storytelling, and without proper execution of these pillars, the whole building comes down.

The Survivor is a polished sci-fi short from a production standpoint, with impressive technical construction and admirable editing, that simply fails to evoke the soul, making its messaging dull, and its impact lackluster.

That said, it's important to note that The Survivor: A Tale From The Nearscape has already won "Best Sci-Fi" at the Festigious International Film Festival and at the Top Shorts Online Film Festival. It will also be screened at the Milwaukee Film Festival next month.

You can watch this 12-minute sci-fi treat in its entirety and judge for yourself by visiting


Image: Saga Flight

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