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The OceanMaker

The OceanMaker Description

“The OceanMaker” is like a summer blockbuster in miniature. It accomplishes in 10 minutes what many bloated, over-blown franchise installments cannot accomplish in 2-hours-plus. It creates its own world, puts the viewer in the cockpit along with the main character (who never says a word) and gives a clear sense of everything at stake. It plays with the action movie sub-genre of the Loner in a Desolate Wasteland and follows it through with the kind of emotional climax George Miller went for with “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

It does all this under the conviction of an environmental message about water preservation (a portion of the proceeds for the film goes to EarthDay Network 2015 as part of The Canopy Project, in which every purchase will help plant a tree), but it does not preach or beat anyone over the head with an agenda.

The story centers on Katrina, a lone fighter pilot who flies over the baron wasteland of what used to be an ocean. A lighthouse stands among submarines and freighters stuck in sand, the sun beating down on them mercilessly and with only a couple clouds in the sky. It appears that rain has not fallen in quite some time, but Katrina has created a machine that could get a rain shower going again. All she needs is a cloud to fly over. She flips a few switches, drops some yellow dye onto a cloud and suddenly, rain falls.

Of course, it can’t be that simple, as there are many cloud thieves out there who try to siphon water from what few clouds currently exist (presumably to monetize it somehow). Aerial dogfights ensue between Katrina and the water bandits over who will get control of the clouds.

The dogfight scenes carry a thrill to them that evoke Steven Spielberg at the height of his abilities as a visual storyteller. Aside from a cheer, “The OceanMaker” has not one single line of dialogue. It lets the emotions expressed on Katrina’s face tell the bigger story while also perfectly underscoring the importance of the events through action. Writer-Director Lucas Martell and his team of animators and editors have clearly studied the best action sequences in order to give a the viewer a perfectly realized geography of the dogfights.

The photorealistic animation gives the film a beautiful, tangible quality (when I first saw the film, I had no idea it was animated until I saw Katrina’s face). Martell also deserves special props for hiring a full orchestra to perform the score instead of hiring one person to compose it digitally, a rare feat for a short film.

The OceanMaker

“The OceanMaker” makes for a great summertime diversion and a welcome relief for those of us who curate short films for festivals and who rarely ever get to see a full-blown action movie interrupt the steady stream of coming-of-age films and dark, personal tales of woe. I also highly recommend Martell’s earlier short film, the hilarious (and also wordless) “Pigeon: Impossible,” which was written about a few years ago on this very site.

The OceanMaker is a 9-minute animated short film that takes place after Earth’s oceans have disappeared. It tells the tale of one courageous pilot who fights against vicious sky pirates for control of the last remaining source of water: the clouds.

From a visual standpoint, we’re steering away from the air pirates often found in steampunk and going straight-up “Mad Max” in the sky. The film is packed with old, beat-up planes that have been cobbled together from spare parts found in airplane graveyards.

Tonally, The OceanMaker is filled with exciting action, but the ending is emotional and powerful in a way that even feature-length films rarely achieve. The film also contains no dialogue, which means that the visuals and soundtrack need to be top notch in order to tell this story properly.

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The OceanMaker Image

About The OceanMaker

Genre Animation, Short, Action, Sci-Fi
Directed By Lucas Martell
Written by Lucas Martell
Produced by Lucas Martell, Christina Martell
Music Chris Reyman
Release Date 24 August 2014 (Canada)
Runtime 9:40
Country Belize, USA
Language None
Aspect Ratio 2.39:1
Official Site
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