Top 10 2023

When a rebellious girl is trapped in her secure smart home, she attempts to break out, only when the power is disconnected and intruders break in, she must rely on her own skills to protect herself.

“Clementine” is a gripping sci-fi short film that will leave you on the edge of your seat. In this seemingly-dystopian world, a smart home is the ultimate safety net, protecting its inhabitants from the dangers of the outside world. But what happens when the safety net turns into a trap? A young girl finds herself alone and trapped inside a seemingly perfect home with no other form of human life. The irony of being trapped in a space that was designed to keep humans safe sets the stage for an intense and thought-provoking story that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Zach Ramelan’s “Clementine” takes us on a journey of fear, desperation, and survival, raising important questions about the role of technology in our lives and how far we are willing to go to protect ourselves. The film will captivate you from start to finish with its compelling storyline and suspenseful atmosphere. We checked in with director Zach Ramelan who told us a little more on this thrilling film.

Can you tell us what inspired you to bring this story to life?

I was inspired to make this after watching an episode of Simpson’s Treehouse of horrors as a teenager; from what I remember, the family was trapped in the home by a robotic Pierce Brosnan mimicking HAL from 2001. I loved the irony of humans being trapped in a dangerous space initially designed to keep them safe. I spiralled on this idea for over five years until everything in the universe lined up, and we could get this fever dream of a film from script to screen over three days in the summer.

In a AI-revolting narrative that has become a recurring theme lately, what pillars did you define to ensure an original take?

We told the story from the perspective of a young girl. The overwhelming world of AI seems to simplify when you change the narrative angle. The youthful curiously Jacquline Dos Santos brings to the screen blankets the film in an innocence that plays as a great miss direct for the audience and their expectation.

What was the most challenging scene for you to film?

There’s a scene in the basement that was so stressful; It was one of that pull-your-hair-out kinda moments as a director. We had action, emotion, curiosity, and the BIG twist happen all in the same space. I had my AD/producers, Anna Jane Edmonds and Gina Simone, tapping their watches as the time ticked by, my lead actors, Jacquline Dos Santos and Siobhan Macdonald trying to dial in on the most emotional scene of the film, all while I was prepping with my DP Nik Pilecki on the next scene where we would shoot a drowning stunt. Like everything in the film, all the pieces fell into place and we were able to get the scene done with no sacrifices, which rarely happens when you’re under the gun.

Do you have any tips or advice to offer fellow filmmakers?

Just do it. Procrastination paired with perfectionism is the enemy of your creative career. Surrender to the process and allow your film to come together naturally rather than forcing it. This style of surrender filmmaking is how I got to do my 5-year passion project in 3 days.

What do you hope people will take away from ‘Clementine’?

I hope the audience has fun with this one and gives a second look at the speed of AI technology and where we’re headed.

What are your favorite short films?

Nuit Blanche by Arev Manoukian
Lights Out by David F Sandberg
Backrooms by Kane Parsons
Interesting Ball By Daniels

Which films you can say directly inspired this film?

My favourite sci-fi’s Ex Machina and every episode of Black Mirror!