Live Action (Short Subject) Nominees

Creative Control

creat1s5gBefore going to this film, you might want to look up augmented reality (AR). Yes, it’s a thing. Instead of virtual reality, which is entirely created in a computer, AR takes the real world and adds all kinds of digital visuals and sounds to make something new and, one might hope, better. Creative Control is about an ad executive in the very near future who is tasked with designing a campaign for a high-end AR company called Augmenta. To understand them better, he wears their glasses around for a while and experiments with all the bells and whistles and starts to lose track of the borders between his real and augmented lives.

The film is co-written and directed by and stars Benjamin Dickinson as the ad exec David. He has a beautiful yoga instructor girlfriend, a fabulous job, a gorgeous apartment and life seems great, even if he has to pop some pills to get through the day. But as he starts to experiment with the AR glasses, his crush on his best friend’s girlfriend turns into an “augmented” relationship, and he loses himself and his very real relationship with his own girlfriend, who finds solace in the very real arms of a rival yoga instructor.

The film is beautifully shot in black and white and the music is mostly classical. So it has a strong stylistic overlay to a pretty simple story. I’m not sure I buy David’s break with reality, but as a near future look at the ways that technologies are infecting our lives, and not necessarily for the good of humanity, it is an interesting addition. Of course, comparisons with Ex Machina and Her have to be made. Will unreal girlfriends take over the world? Funny, I haven’t seen any films with girls creating the perfect man yet! Creative Control isn’t deep and the characters are pretty one dimensional. And apparently the near future consists mostly of hipsters using glass panels as computers and phones. This isn’t a must see, though once it is streaming, I’d say give it a shot.

I’d like to see what the future of AR is nonetheless, beyond gaming and virtual sex. And if you are interested, here’s an article about it.

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