Northwest Connections | 2017 | 52 minutes

SIFF Says:

Putting a science fiction twist on the classic hardboiled detective drama, AUTOMATA explores a dystopian alternative version of Prohibition-era New York City, similarly shaped by moral panic even though the alcohol flows freely here. In this universe, Prohibition doesn’t ban drinking, but the further production of sapient androids that have become prevalent by the 1920s. As a result, the existing androids, called automatons, are shunned by society, relegated to an untouchable caste of servants despite their near-human thought capability, and are frequently subjected to hatred and violence. It’s in this oppressive setting that human private detective Sam Regal (Basil Harris, “Grimm”) and his automaton partner Carl Swangee (Doug Jones, THE SHAPE OF WATER) work together to solve cases for both communities, learning to see humanity in one another while trying to prove that justice is still worth serving. Originating as a popular webcomic published by Penny Arcade, director Van Alan has received nearly half a million dollars from fans on Kickstarter to set this story into motion. Their efforts show great potential to yield an intricate plot of intrigue and obfuscation in a well-realized and bleak setting, ultimately shedding light on human nature in the presence of “the other.”

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Film Credits
Van Alan
Basil Harris, Jen Taylor, Doug Jones, Dylan Smith
SIFF 2018