Hollywood has a hard time making anything new. Reboot after reboot dominate television and movies alike. It seems as though it’s mostly the independent creators who invent anything that hasn’t already been done over six times in the past fifty years. Today we offer A Crimson Mana film by Mike Pappa. This sci-fi short subject takes two risky elements — a non-human character and a child actor — and creates magic with them.

In a war-torn land of man vs. robot, a young runaway searching for his father must ally with a broken and battle-scarred war-robot or be hunted down by his brutal overseers.

When 11-year-old runaway slave Wei Zhang ?nds Red — a broken-down war robot — he’s terri?ed. But the unlikely pair quickly learn their only chance of survival is to work together to escape the brutal tyrants who’ve turned them each into slaves. More than that, they realize they’ve both lost everything to a war that wasn’t their choice, and grow to depend on and even care for each other.

Mike Pappa was an art director at a New York game development company for five years prior to his leap into film production. If A Crimson Man feels like it ought to be a full length motion picture, you’ve gotten the right idea; Pappa’s intent was to make a feature out of it initially, but scaled it back and shot a portion of it to create this remarkably satisfying proof of concept. The challenges of working with a child actor (Maddox Henry) against a seven foot tall practical robot character (played by Dan Clarkson) were something Pappa found a bit scary, but his rigorous background in planning and organizing art and animation production for video games came to his rescue and helped him win the day.

It’s a similar trope to other films we’ve seen. Let’s face it, there is almost literally nothing new under the sun, but the nearest things to this film that we could think of were Johnny Sokko and his Giant Robot, or the relationship between the boy Hogarth Hughes and the Iron Giant, but in neither case was the boy a runaway slave.

We hope you enjoy today’s offering. It’s a bit on the longish side as Krypton Radio Videos of the Day go, at a bit over 20 minutes.

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