Ancestors | Sci-fi short film

I hardly post here anymore but I do quietly lurk from time to time and keep an eye on the progress of HitFilm. I used Fxhome products as far back as EffectsLab DV and old FXhome cinema was a vital platform for my learning and development in my formative years as a young filmmaker.

I've recently entered the WexShorts short film competition, run by Wex Photographic. The competition theme was 'sustainability' and the film had to be no more than 4 minutes in length. I also set out to make the film without spending any money, and entirely on my own, right down to creating the props and writing the music myself. 

I'm proud to present Ancestors. I hope you like it too!



  • dplester
    dplester Posts: 33

    Wow - I like it!  I had no difficulty staying engaged throughout (for me that's quite a feat).  And I think it's a great approach to a big topic.

  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,181 Expert

    @AvengingEagle Very nicely done, indeed.  Even in the short time-limit imposed by the rules, you managed to give it that old Twilight Zone gut-punch.   I'm pulling for you.

  • BobDiMarzio
    BobDiMarzio Posts: 630 Just Starting Out

    I echo the sentiments of both @dplester and @tddavis.    I am also very impressed with the demonstration of what can be produced with one person wearing all the hats.


  • Stargazer54
    Stargazer54 Posts: 3,758 Ambassador

    @AvengingEagle Very nicely done!  Even more impressive as a "one man band".   The minimalist approach works very well with the subject matter.  Good job not letting the effects get in the way of the story.

    The very brief shot of the main character having his respiratory system repaired spoke volumes without being heavy handed.

    Will be interested to hear how HF was used in production.  Definitely agree with @tddavis that it has a Twilight Zone vibe.  Well done!

  • JMcAllister
    JMcAllister Posts: 593 Enthusiast

    very nice. I can't fault it - and that is a rare thing indeed

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,604 Ambassador

    Excellent work all around, from the setup of shots through to the effects design and execution and story and acting. Good luck with the contest, because you have a hell of a strong short film here. 

  • Thanks for your comments, it means a lot that the film is going down well as I really feel I put a lot into this one! Tbh, although it was made for the competition, even if I don't come anywhere, I'll still be happy with this film as a good demonstration of my current skill level.

    @Stargazer54 Sadly, I didn't use HF in this production, my workflow was with After Effects and a couple of free 3D programs. That's why I thought it best I post this in an off-topic board, as my only real connection to the HF community now is that some of the older users remember my early efforts in the days of EffectsLab and CompositeLab. One could argue I'd have actually found it easier to do some of the VFX shots in Hitfilm - I always found it way easier to key stuff in Fxhome products than in After Effects! And there's really no reason why the VFX here couldn't be replicated in Hitfilm.



    Ancestors has made it into the top 5 for the competition for which it was made! The WexShorts shortlist was announced today so you can see the other four entrants here: 

    I'm slightly concerned that mine is the only narrative piece and sticks out like a sore thumb so let's hope originality gets me brownie points  Fingers crossed for Friday, when the winner will be announced. 

  • JMcAllister
    JMcAllister Posts: 593 Enthusiast
  • DafterThings
    DafterThings Posts: 989 Enthusiast

    I really tuned into this. At first your voice didn't seem to fit (thought it might be more military for a Captain) and the clothes weren't very 'spacey' but, in no time, I was completely absorbed in the story, visuals character and fantastic music.
    All else faded away.

    The fact you did ALL this solo is astonishing.


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,604 Ambassador

    Congratulations on making the finals! As you said, originality might help you out on the final tally. Standing out from the crowd is always good.

  • CleverTagline
    CleverTagline Posts: 3,332 Ambassador

    Excellent film, and congrats on making the finals!

  • Palacono
    Palacono Posts: 3,423 Enthusiast
    edited April 2018

    I thought it was just excellent in every way.

    Only really minor (microscopic even) notes I'd have were dialogue : "Yesterday, I successfully landed the ship". With the slight rising inflection the emphasis seems (to my ears) to be on the ship and your skill at landing, not on successfully finding a suitable landing site.  So a bit like, "Yay me!". Plus the ship model was a teeny tiny bit too sharp.

    "Yesterday, I landed at the selected survey site." or something, might have been more neutral and implied that now you're there: work can begin.

    Composition wise, the lung repair sequence was a little hard to make out (had to go back after someone mentioned it in a post here). If you'd been more to the left (rule of thirds), then the graphical overlay would have been easier to read, fitted better and not been cropped by the screen edge; especially as you made this shot the thumbnail.

    Finally, the shot of the ship with the storm dust looked a little under dramatic compared to the dialogue afterwards. The ship was still quite visible, so the "dust storms, lethal winds" didn't quite seem to match up. A bit more turbulence and swirling dust and a less visible ship with maybe some camera shake would have shown this to be a more dangerous environment on that day.

    But, like I said: really, really tiny notes and TBH, I think your film should have placed higher.

  • Chalky64
    Chalky64 Posts: 31 Just Starting Out*

    Only just found this. Superb. Very nicely done indeed.