poster4The vast array of digital tools available to filmmakers have dragged high-quality production to a much more accessible place, with the gap increasingly being filled by crowd-sourcing for the special projects that can make it happen. In the case of C 299,792 km/s though, the filmmakers went against the grain and used crowd-funding to bridge the gap between them and their very old school, optical effects-based production.

Raising +$40,000 over two Kickstarter campaigns, the team has created a science fiction short film with a very distinct vision- one that merges low-tech techniques with modern technology and has resulted in something altogether unique. You could almost call it grindhouse scifi.

The short is just under 15 minutes long, and blends a throwback, 70s style documentary with the (kind of thin) tale of a mutiny on an interstellar vessel. While the documentary portions are pretty authentic 16mm Carl Sagan-style stuff, the space drama takes place on board a futuristic ship, seen from inside and outside. Everything is colorfully rendered in hyper-sharp, UI-intensive strokes, but with the same kind of cartoonish simplicity of classic Trek. I’ve got no problem giving everyone the benefit of doubt and assuming the cardboard acting is deliberate, along with some of the weird cutting choices.

See the short in its entirety right here:

Over at WIRED there’s a great rundown of the production’s story, along with looks into how the different effects were achieved. Plenty of digital design and tech-tricks went into the production, but no actual CGI or composition was involved. Even the keyframed UI animations were actually projected on the sets, or filmed off of displays. I do wish they’d put a little more time and money into their soundtrack, but alas it features the spare, cleaned up kind of sound design often seen in high-level student films. The score is a nice synth affair, and between the directorial style, the color-contrasting sets and the way-too-intimate sounding dialogue, it’s almost as if the film is an anime come to life.

Regardless, it’s a cool story. It’s encouraging to see this crew raise money, achieve their goal, show off the results and get the kind of attention such an endeavor deserves. You should check out the full interview at WIRED, and the official website here.