A Short Film Review: “Prospect”

Prospect is a short film that was funded on Kickstarter and debuted at the SXSW Film Festival. It is a sci-fi story and a space western in many ways. While it doesn’t “westernized” slang or costuming the way that shows like Firefly did, it does present a future where prospectors are looking for rare minerals on a planet. Much like the wild west and the Gold Rush, they are out there on their own, and there are poachers and criminals who might look to steal their hauls.

The film follows a father and daughter prospecting team who deals with this exact problem. I won’t go into the plot much beyond that to avoid any spoilers, but I have to say that I don’t think the plot is really what makes this movie good. What I was struck by was how much character development and tension that filmmakers, Chris Caldwell and Zeek Earl, were able to deliver in such a short amount of screen-time and on such a small budget. There is only time for some brief exchanges between the father and daughter before we’re thrown into the heavier action of the film, but in that timespan and with those few interactions, we learn a lot about them and their relationship.

The amount of tension the filmmakers are also able to develop with the use of a single radio communication (and its silence) is also pretty astounding. It’s the level of engagement Hollywood films strive for and often miss. I’d go so far as to say that there’s more tension in that short moment than all of the Star Wars prequels.

I think this film is well worth checking out (and it’s only 14 minutes long, so it’s not a huge investment). I’m also curious to see what other projects Caldwell and Earl come up with in the future, and if they’ll look to make this short into a feature length film. I think the material is there if they could secure a budget for it.

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