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The Shaman

In the dark year 2204, Joshua is a Shaman sent on a mission to convert the soul of a giant battle colossus

15 – 20 | 2015 | Austria | Dystopia | Sci-Fi | Special FX

The Shaman is the science-fiction short film written, directed, edited, and produced by Austrian filmmaker Marco Kalantari. Set in the dark year 2204, this blockbuster-style adventure takes us in a world that has seen 73 years of continuous war between the White Federation and the Atlantic Alliance. The face of conflict has changed, this planet believes that every being and every object has a soul. Mankind has re-discovered the arts of Magic and Shamanism: When crossing the border to the Netherworld, the Shaman can find this soul and interact with it. That is what makes him such a deadly, highly effective weapon. They track and convert the souls of their enemies’ giant battle machines in a psychological soul-to-soul confrontation.

Ayahuasca has turned to heroin and violin to magical icaros to cross the border for the Netherworld. Shaman Joshua (Danny Shayler) and his squire Lene (David Sayers) embark on a mission to convert the Soul of the Colossus (Susanne Wuest, the mother in Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz’s Goodnight Mommy) and succeed where troops have failed.

“God sleeps in the stone, breathes in the plant, dreams in the animal and awakens in the human.” This ancient Hindu proverb was the director’s motivation for making The Shaman. Kalantari lived and breathed George Lucas, Ridley Scott and James Cameron, now he imagines our present in a dystopian and hopeless sci-fi tale, putting constantly past and future in dialogue. The horror of the probable becomes a visionary contrast between our life and our mortality, a pessimistic snapshot of what the world will look like if we’ll lose sight of humanity. With his magniloquent and graphic novel style, the help of DOP Thomas Kiennast and composer Taq Sakakibara, the filmmaker reflects about the things to come in a disturbing and conceptual way, playing his best cards in the terrific and suffocating final confrontation between Josh and the Soul of the Colossus (Wuest has punching alien shapes).

Special effects, sound, and sets are stunning, but more than for its visual and narrative qualities or for his (lack of) originality, The Shaman proves to be a productive model for three reasons – the author’s ability to reach his audience by putting together a sizeable budget ($100,000) and combining the creative power of an international team, including artists from Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Ukraine, France, Serbia, Malaysia, UK, Iceland, Germany and Austria; good CGI explosions confirming he can direct a Hollywood blockbuster; the perseverance of his buzz-building marketing campaign focusing on web and social media (the trailer has been viewed over four million times on YouTube).

Marco Kalantari started his international filmmaking career with a 2003 Cannes Silver Lion for his TVC for Médecins Sans Frontières. Helmer and “professional dreamer,” he has been living in Iceland, then he went to Japan, China, Hong Kong and South-East Asia. He became one of the most demanded directors on the Indian TVC market (his portfolio includes global brands like Nokia, Pepsi, Chevrolet, BMW, HSBC and Panasonic) and directed in 2005 the feature Ainoa, the love story between a female android and a young resistance fighter. Premiered at Tribeca, The Shaman also screened at Sci-Fi London Film Festival and Trieste Science+Fiction.

Alessandro Zoppo

Alessandro Zoppo

Alessandro Zoppo

Editor-in-Chief @ Good Short Films

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