Short Films in Focus: TESLA | Features
Movie Reviews

Short Films in Focus: TESLA | Features

As for the graphics—everything you see on the center console screen is made from scratch by the incomparable Greg Herman, a Creative Director, Director, Writer, designer, and animation/VFX wizard. This includes the visualization of the car’s “voice.” He approached the car’s “voice” graphic as though it were some kind of digital mandala, a shifting and opaque representation of the car’s thoughts. At times, the shifting dots and lines cohere to form something recognizable—a symbol or an idea. That’s all Greg. His creativity is a true skill, honed over years of hard work. Greg and I worked once before. He helped breathe life into a short doc I made about my dad, called “Violator.” So I trust Greg immeasurably. 

In your mind (and without giving away too much), how much of this story is in the here and now and how much is near-futuristic?

So, my day job: I’m a Creative Director at a wonderful place called Nexus Studios. I work in the immersive arts: VR, AR, all the R’s. Because the immersive arts typically emerge from advancements in tech, I tend to rub shoulders with developers, engineers, and technologists … pretty brilliant people. This gives me a really interesting vantage point. I sometimes see pretty far around the bend at what’s coming next.

I didn’t set out to make a film about the dangers of AI. I didn’t really see “TESLA” as a technology cautionary tale. But for a lot of people, that was the main takeaway. Like a lot of filmmakers right now, I am paying attention to AI. And while “TESLA” is 100% satire, I do believe the convergence of climate anxiety and reliance on “smart” tech could result in something not far off from what we depicted in the short film. 

With the exception of the incredible “How To Blow Up a Pipeline,” not nearly enough bold, intelligent, and challenging stories are being told about the climate crisis. Stories that focus people’s anger and anxieties onto a fixed point. At the end of the day this is what I’m trying to do—look far ahead, around the bend, and earnestly ask audiences if we have what it takes for what comes next.

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