Sci-Fi Short Film “What Once Was” presented by DUST


You know what closes the distance between yourself and a fixed point? time if only we had more time I know Time’s funny you know we make it so important and it affects every aspect of our lives but we can’t ever clearly see where we’re going in time only where we’ve been Let’s hold up here two or three more kilometers this way there should be a road I’m not sure Zek? Do you think Lonn has shared enough of the water? Why do you care? You don’t need any I’m just concerned you’re not looking
good hey I’m gonna need some water Hey! I know you heard me We need to start conserving Zek there’s not much water left we’re moving out He might still be upset with you How much water do we have? We got enough Maybe if you didn’t talk so much you wouldn’t need so much water I told you You don’t know where we’re going do you? You’ve been walking us in circles for days I’m done listening to you I think I should lead Enough How much water do we have? We’ll be fine you just.. and why should I trust you? Who are you? We’re all in this together you don’t think I can see it? You slowly cutting me off from water I know what’s going on Just give me the water! That’s enough Time and time again I follow you around and every time it just turns into shit Stop it! Just stop it! Both of you We’re all thirsty, we’re all tired, just stop it You know we’re not going home don’t you Why don’t you tell them? You know the truth Oh wait You don’t know I’m tired of all your
mind games You mean truths You know what I think I think you’re afraid I think you’re scared you might die out here and you’re afraid that no one will care It’s actually much simpler than that Little girl of yours is really something else isn’t she You still think that what happened back there was an accident that I made a mistake it wasn’t I know I was supposed to bring Artemis and all its crew down here for a quick data trip But after that suicidal orbit approach that killed damn near everyone I decided to check the flight data recorders and at first I thought it was a glitch that was caused by the crash and maybe gamma radiation but then I noticed something unusual someone or something adjusted the Hohmann transfer orbit and made us run into the atmosphere The 130 people aboard Artemis only two people had that capability Me and her Although I don’t think she qualifies as people You have no proof I do back on the ship at least what’s left of it Honestly I’m just tired of following you all around I’ve been walking for Lord knows how long and for what? Some… Lonn’s idea of some rundown launch facility that we don’t even know exists Not to mention it’s been decaying ever since this planets been evacuated and you still think that we have a shot of making it back home from here? Good luck He’s correct. It was a one-way trip. Wait what? It was a one-way trip for you nobody was meant to return What are you talking about? All those people? Everyone burning in that wreckage. Our entire crew was full of… liabilities. No This is your fault I had nothing to do with this Technically you did What? You gave me access to the amos through the on-board computer I did not I am not capable of accessing any of the onboard systems without authorization from a commanding officer You gave it to me What is she talking about Tashin? she… she told…she told of course I can’t…I didn’t know No…this wasn’t me..I didn’t I didn’t do this! Go ahead walk away like you always do Just like you did with us. Go! We all know you want to for once in your life, be a man and tell me us how you feel You want to know how I feel?! It’s her I hate that thing. I always have. You turned the memory of our dead daughter into a machine Why? Because you needed a way to cope? And you thought by bringing her back like that it would make everything better? It’s made everything worse look around We’re here because of her You know I needed you but but you didn’t care about how I felt or what I wanted it’s always about you always has been You asked me once why this didn’t work it’s because of that That thing that stranded us here that thing that almost killed us that thing is not my Telos It never was I’m done with this With all of you I’ll be fine on my own You think there’s anything out there? Yeah You know how I said time closes the distance Well it isn’t time time Time is just a perception there’s no such thing as a fixed point you can only perceive time and garner
its effects and… each has a unique perspective of time depending on our position in space I know it’s a pleasant fiction to entertain I’m sorry for what? I’m sorry Lonn for everything for this for all of it Me too tell me a story I just wanna go home I think I have one you don’t know A true one? I think there’s truth in every story It’s one my dad told me I miss your dad me too so… as my dad would say One day there was a hungry wolf passing through the woods when he came upon a hare Hare said I know that you are
famished but I am far too small to satisfy your hunger If you allow me I know a fox who is plump and fat I can entice him from his hole so that you could devour The wolf intrigued by these words agreed to the hares request so once at the Fox’s den the hare very
meekly and cunningly explained to the Fox that her friend was outside and wished to meet him the Fox agreed to meet the hare’s friend so the hare scurried outside to get the wolf the Fox was more sly than the hare ever
suspected because long ago he’d built a deep pit in the center of his passageway and covered it with leaves so that no one would ever see it the hare curious to see the end of the game followed the wolf inside but before they knew it they were both trapped at the bottom of the pit and the wolf thinking that the hare planned this all along ate the hare up right away all while the fox lay and watch with great pleasure I know it’s a good story Not now Please not now Please come back Don’t leave me

100 comments

  • DUST

    We want to give a massive shoutout to director Sean G. Penberthy who at the age of 22 joined the military and served as a MARSOC Marine through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan before earning a degree in cinematography at California State University, Northridge.

  • MJW

    I needed space ships.

  • Brandon Benson

    Was about to criticize with “terrible writing. formulaic dialogue well delivered and acted. excellent makeup and cinematography” when I realized that the makeup was indeed excellent… for two of the characters. the only ones not showing dehydration are the husband and daughter… ya got me you son of a bitch. Of course machines are going to engage in formulaic dialogue. The liability is people discovering he is an android as well. Goddamn film jujitsu. Making the weaknesses strengths.

  • mi lo

    1.5X speed recommend.

  • Charles Ostman

    Some here are quite unhappy with this production, but I'm a bit more willing to give it some thought. A compelling snapshot of a moment, a moment that the android replica of her daughter eventually describes the truth of, "this was a one-way mission". There are some interesting elements in this, the acting was well done, but seemed a bit slow, maybe? Either that, or more context should be provided
    . . . and thank you for your service

  • Shannya Preeya

    Wow this is surprisingly terrible. Bad dialogue, really bad acting, weird gaps in between verbal exchanges….

  • John lamar

    Hey Sean I enjoyed it, a great deal. I like the acting a lot from everyone! Great casting! Although I’m a action sci-fi fan, I like the way you didn’t have to rely on sfx, that’s great writing right there!! The story was cool, didn’t move me, but I liked it! Great job overall!!

  • yackme muck

    I really love the acting. Nice job

  • Cheshire Cat

    That one was kinda lame

  • Sangeeta Adhikari

    What's the story??? Anyone? How did they survive this long without water in that room?!

  • The Extraordinaire

    Enjoyed this short film a lot. Good dialogue, good acting and good cinematography! Thumbs up.

  • Hakan Sivrikaya

    science fiction ?

  • Johnnie Blunt

    The cinematography is beautiful, but…

  • Flashjan1

    Couldn't finish it, nearly fell asleep. Tedious and with zero drama.

  • benevolent dictator

    A girl wrote this

  • pawnoir

    Long, lent et chiant.

  • Fabrizio Riva

    Yes, but is there a point here ?

  • Lisa Velez

    Terrific footage but I dont understand the meaning of the story

  • Marcus Aurelius

    Didn't understand that at all

  • Kento

    Not sure I understand it. In the fable the fox outsmarts the wolf and hare and wins. In this story, the man and girl are the wolf and hare and they win, and the woman is the fox who loses? If the woman died of dehydration, the man probably should have to, or should die soon, but as he and the girl walked away I almost got the impression they were both robots? I'm thinking the woman gets robots to replace the people she's lost/driven away, and in the end, it's her robots that survive. Well, maybe.

  • Noble Tarkan

    um – eat the ex – you'll never have a greater revenge!!!!

  • John Vance

    TV Tropes + bad writing + bad acting

  • Stanecia Wynter

    1. You kn ow what I wanna know???????? Y is the guy still walking around with the robot if he knows it's just waiting for him to die???????????
    2. Whoever devised this way of getting rid of these liabilities should be feared and needs to see a supernatural psychologist. Nobody should work for these types of ppl. Put on a big bright smile while he/she tears out ur insides.
    3. If ur looking to the comments to help you understand, let me save you the trbl. NOBODY GETS IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tyrone Taylor

    Yet another non sequitur. 😒

  • Steven Booth

    'I'll be fine on my own' then takes all the water for himself. Gee what a hero!

  • Robert

    There is talent here but not in the writing of the script. It makes no sense. I was intrigued and then felt cheated!

  • Rockguitarnow

    Too much arguing and infighting

  • Levy Rogers

    Well!! This truly was a waste of my time as well with everyone else who watched this crap.

  • johnmonk66

    who sends mentally stupid people into space?

  • johnmonk66

    a waste… the robot killed everyone, smash it to bits…and WHY?

  • Marta Marin

    Why they dont destroy the robot in the first place? …

  • Mel Mo

    Kitchen sink SF. Family bickering in the desert with a replica daughter (that's the SF bit).

  • Gyaso Gyadi

    Just awesome !

  • Ruff Design Studios

    Nice film. What font is used in the title sequence?!

  • andy gerico

    Looks like Zack died right before Enderson.

  • The Debunker

    Garbage and boring

  • Willi six

    Well okay that was a waste of 17:55 none of this makes any sense

  • pétri pat

    The writer needs relationship counseling but decides to do dust it to the world

  • Pat Oliver

    Errr…is it just me? I don't get it.

  • Danimal

    It's Earth but not the Earth we know and not any time we know. Hints in the dialogue.

  • capie44

    "The Bickerson's go to Space."
    .

  • You don't get to be offended by science!

    What?????

  • jiapeng yin

    mad as a March hare

  • 3bood AE

    Beautifully shot, brilliantly acted. Shame the story sucked. I get the message they were trying to cook, but it all came off as half baked.

  • sarringt1

    Some people will give a thumbs up to anything. I suffered through the whole thing, and only about 5 minutes of it is worth watching, starting at 3:11. I think of other movies that were only good for a third of it, and I wouldn't give them a thumbs up either.

  • Lightwish Light

    Wow a few of you seem kind of angry that there are no themes of sci-fi in this movie. Who cares as long as it’s a good movie right? I am still about 1/3rd of the way into this one. Once I am done watching this one, if it’s worth talking about I will edit this post and come back and write something.
    ***EDIT: Ok I am back after watching the rest of the film. I must say that I do not agree with those of you complaining about the film not having any sci-fi elements to it. The whole theme was sci-fi.

    Alright, beyond that I did not like this film. I think that it’s great that the director did all of these great things in the service, but it doesn’t mean I am going to cut him any slack on his directorial debut. I could go into how the kid is some kind of robot and that there are clearly some complicated family relationships and back story, but what’s the point? The film is not for me. I did not like it and therefore I have already wasted enough of my time on this film. Thumbs down and move on folks.

    Feel free to disagree with me, but there is nothing memorable in any take-away’s here so ya…very disappointed. I was wondering why a video with close to 128,000 views only had 1,200 likes? Now we know why….it’s a stinker through and through.

  • Elle Woods

    Nope 👎🤔 …. Didn't like this one .😳

  • Glenn Elliott

    "We're all thirsty and we're all tired". I felt the same way after watching this.

  • Nathan Grange

    Can I sue a production company for eye sprain from all the eye-rolling this script caused?

  • RayC1

    Left hanging is an understatement. There are a few great ways this could have went, but it ended up nowhere.

  • Johnny Johnstone

    I have no idea what network sponsors this DUST. But whichever it is it's full of shit because all Hollywood puts out now is PC pop culture pablum puke ! And only people with dildos in their brain would watch such shit.

  • PikPobedy

    To those who do not understand. This is what happens to stranded people. Only their things "survive"

  • Brody Oxnard

    chinese run shit. just skip it.

  • bairdco

    Can we get a sequel? How about 20 minutes of walking down the road telling the frog and scorpion fable? Then have the missing ginger guy drive up in the last of the V8 interceptors.

  • fedor3000

    wow that was bad acting

  • F. A. C. T S

    Try making a 1hr movie

  • Ally Sloper

    If there's no water what are the plants living on? What are those clouds made from?

  • Bob Spencer

    Started well, then went no where just like the wolf-fox-hare story. Could have been interesting, but wasn't. Sorry just my opinion.

  • Paul Hoffmann

    What?

  • Missa Maxo

    Mouais 🤔🤔

  • Marc B.

    One day there was a hungry wolf passing through the woods. When he came upon a hare, the hare said: “I know that you are famished but I am far to small to satisfy your hunger. If you allow me, I know a fox who is plump and fat. I can entice him from his hole so that you could devour.” The wolf intrigued by these words agreed to the hares request. So, once at the Fox’s den the hare very meekly and cunningly explained to the Fox her friend was outside and wished to meet him. The Fox agreed to meet the hare’s friend. So the hare scurried outside to get the wolf. The Fox was more sly than the hare ever suspected. Because long ago he’d built a deep pit in the center of his passageway and covered it with leaves so that no one would ever see it. The hare curious to see the end of the game followed the wolf inside but before they knew it they were both trapped at the bottom of the pit. And the wolf, thinking that the hare planned this all along, ate the hare up right away. All while the fox lay and watched with great pleasure.

  • Nevermind

    More cheery sci-fi to give us all hope in the future.

  • Soness Stevens

    What was the point? Trying to understand the deeper meaning behind all this…
    Murderous android and a hare fable?

  • Cheryl Yates

    For an example of what it's like sitting through Vogon poetry listen to minutes 4-7+ (I gave up at that point).

  • Sliyaroh Modus

    This film would have been just as pointless if they filmed it in the suburbs surrounded by water sprinklers.

  • Ali Asreco

    "What once was" is a depression trigger for me. History was great (or disastrous) but it's gone. The future is still unknown and to come. The only thing real is today. Unless….I take the Bible for true. God knows all history (and can we rewatch it in eternity? The future is clear enough: read Revalation in the Bible and what Jesus tells us in the New Testament. That leaves today. All is save in His hands. Not bad. The end of all my anxiety and stress…

  • daveallen007

    I am sorry to say that whilst filmed okay, this was not a good film. I am rather glad that it was as short as it was. It was still seventeen minutes and fifty two seconds too long. The idea was quite good, just really poorly conceived.

  • c mojo

    at least have them drink their own urine, a little spice never hurt anyone

  • Peachy Pound

    The Acting was Incredible, I Love this just on the Great performance. Yes, the story line wasn’t that great, but I can always enjoy a great performance. Bravo

  • roy jennison

    painfull , dont bother

  • Laura Dale

    This story just made no sense. Not enough detail to really understand what was going on.

  • saltghost

    i’m gonna take a shot in the dark at this I think the android kid rerouted the system so that she could bring her “parents” there. She knew if they landed there was no way back a “one way trip” and she mentioned everyone else was liabilities. I think the thirsty guy survived by freak accident.

    I think the Aesop’s fable was trying to say that even even tho the hare didn’t know it was a Fox’s trap the wolf still ate him out of anger and that perhaps raw emotions and external factors can cause people to act out of control. I think that was his way of apologizing to his ex before she passed away. He was the wolf acting out of anger and she was the hare they both got into the situation that was out of their control from their daughter dying to them being out in a wasteland.

    as to the rest of the plot i’m drawing a blank.

  • pmgmail

    It's amazing how many people don't read the description in the dropdown. Much to the writer's credit, this is an introspection on life a motivations. I appreciate it for that, there's no grand finale, saviour or hero, no good guy!
    However, the production is very short for the subject matter and doesn't develop the characters or even just the motivations to make it satisfying, in my opinion. Possibly too abstract…

  • Global Nomad

    much the same as other comments, found this well made but really poor story/script with no meaning or shape. I had no empathy with any of the characters and as for the clumsy exposition of the back story ….

  • Angela Day

    I believe this is a cautionary tale about androids not being dead loved ones even if you download their personalities inside.

    But it's just a snippet from a larger Story in this guy's head.

    Humans are complicated creatures that like to change their personal drama into something more than what it is.

  • niceguy217

    Didn't care for this one much, which is a shame really, as the premise and background could have led to a good short if done properly.

  • Dwight Hicks

    All of this new stuff is BS and you all know it …..there is an obvious trend towards meaningless , convoluted , ridiculous, frustrating story lines and endings ……there is so much real talent out there that it doesn't make any sense that the quality of the narrative should be so diluted …….sumpin funys goin on….WAKE UP SNOWFLAKES! !!!!!!!

  • El Sibarita Del Castillo

    Un mundo desconocido

  • Polly Ann

    This is boring.
    You don't take an interesting scenario and stick them in a room talking that's just dull!LOL

  • Nasse ナッセ Sweden

    He could eat the dead people.

  • hesicast

    Hahaha he was a Woody Allen killed his wife married his adopted daughter.

  • BigTrouble444

    10 minutes in…. i don't care….. you missed the mark…. try again

  • Lisa McDonald

    "I'm done with this! I'm done with all of you. I'll be fine on my own!"
    Then proceeds to walk off with all the water.

  • Lisa McDonald

    Woman: "I'm sorry".

    Man: "For what"?

    Woman: "For everything, for this, for all of it….NOW CAN I PLEASE HAVE SOME DANG WATER"!!

  • ELEKTRARE

    Luv the end of the world 🌍 whether it is extreme heat or cold …. human kind needs to survive for how long !!!

  • Deborah Anne Hart

    Was really into it, but it started falling apart, and the betrayal scene just begs for more!

  • Khoder Ramadan

    Didnt understand no fucking thing!

  • kocotube01 začasni

    Were they meant to populate the planet (original plan) devised by the Corporation (fat fox)?
    Did the crew (hare) create the android (hungry wolf) while on route to the planet? Was its creation a deviation from the Corporate plan, or just another trapping (well hidden pit)? Did the android (wolf) "eat" the crew (hare), because it was trapped in the pit (spaceship)?

  • kocotube01 začasni

    The Corporation (fat fox) doesn't get planet populated (hare in the pit) because it didn't plan for the creation of the android (hungry wolf). So at the end there is no juicy hare (populated planet for the Corporation to exploit) but only uneatable wolf (inanimate robot) at the bottom of the pit.

  • Bo Lockhart

    Need to classify this one under drama or tragedy… Definitely NOT sci fi. If your're looking for science fiction, it ain't here.

  • John Shannon

    I'm not sure I understood this one . . .

  • luczjan bhenggre

    Good thing she had an emergency mascara

  • Seamus Martin

    it had potential…

  • Tony Ogar

    WTF was that about. Can someone explain where the house came from on some desolate planet? It was crap.

  • HebaruSan

    There ARE sci-fi themes in this: Two white people had an Asian daughter!

  • Asarewaa Andoh

    Funny how when you start watching shorts, 17 minutes seems like a long time for a movie

  • Thomas Chappell

    I don’t think it ended at a good ending point. Nothing was explained. When you have to end a story short you should at least have explained one thing. What was the AI girl Telos’s motivation? How did Enderson unwittingly authorize her sabotage? Why was her “dad” still alive at the “end”? If he was that thirsty, he could still weep — but only tearlessly, right?

  • Bryan Johnson

    This is Epic in how little of the story was told. We're missing the fate of one man, the cause of injuries to both others, where the robot girl was able to launder her outfit to remain so clean…

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