In the not too distant future, a captivating drama/sci-fi short film titled “Mars” takes viewers on a mesmerizing journey. Directed by Raymond J. Evans, this seven-minute masterpiece explores the intertwining destinies of two individuals, Ethan and Violet, who find themselves standing on opposite train platforms. Without uttering a single word, they must find a way to connect before their trains depart, whisking them away in different directions.
Ethan and Violet’s paths cross by chance at a train station, where they discover a common interest in the prospect of traveling to Mars. Through a non-verbal narrative, Evans skillfully portrays their budding connection as they attempt to exchange contact information using hand signals. The script and themes of “Mars” evoke reminiscence of the Oscar-winning short film “Paperman” by John Kahrs, where two souls meet by chance and embark on a quest to ensure their encounter was not a fluke.
Raymond J. Evans: Director Extraordinaire
Raymond J. Evans, the talented writer and director behind “Mars,” brings a unique vision to the world of filmmaking. Born and raised near Walgett, NSW, Evans moved to Brisbane to pursue his passion for screen, media, and 3D animation. After working as a freelance photographer and content creator, he relocated to Melbourne to fulfill his dream of working in the Australian film industry. Evans’ experience in various roles, including camera assistant on notable Australian productions, honed his skills and prepared him for his directorial debut with “Mars.”
The Inspiration Behind “Mars”
Evans draws inspiration from a personal experience that left an indelible mark on his creative journey. One sunny afternoon at Flinders Street Station in Melbourne, Evans noticed a mysterious girl looking at him. In that moment, he was reminded of the power of a simple smile and the impact it can have on someone’s life. This encounter sparked his imagination, and during his train ride home, he feverishly wrote the script for “Mars.” The film became a testament to the possibilities that arise from chance meetings and the courage to seize them.
The Heart of “Mars”
“Mars” is not just a sci-fi short film; it is a story that delves into the depths of human connection and the choices we make when faced with the unknown. Evans masterfully balances the futuristic elements with a grounded reality, creating a genre he affectionately refers to as “sci-fi with heart.” The film’s production value, spearheaded by cinematographer Adam Lynch and production designer Caitlin Burns, brings an immersive experience to viewers while maintaining relatable elements of everyday life.
Ethan and Violet: The Captivating Performances
The chemistry between Jack Doherty, who portrays Ethan, and Abbey-Rose Leed, who brings Violet to life, is palpable throughout “Mars.” Initially presented as blank slates, their characters gradually reveal layers of vulnerability and hope as their encounter progresses. The moments when they attempt to mime phone numbers across the train platform are particularly endearing, showcasing the excitement and anticipation of a potential connection. As the story unfolds, viewers can’t help but root for Ethan and Violet, hoping their relationship transcends the limitations of a chance encounter.
The Cinematic Experience
“Mars” captivates audiences not only through its enchanting storyline but also through its visually stunning cinematography. The train station, where Ethan and Violet’s paths intersect, becomes a character in itself. Lynch’s expert cinematography skillfully captures the separation between the characters, heightening the emotional tension and creating a truly cinematic experience. The film’s production design, led by Caitlin Burns, strikes a balance between futuristic elements and familiar, relatable settings, allowing viewers to immerse themselves in the story.
Possibilities Beyond the Sky
Evans’ directorial debut with “Mars” showcases his ability to tell emotionally driven stories within the sci-fi genre. By exploring the concept of possibility and the desire to connect with others, he invites audiences to imagine a world where chance encounters can shape our lives. The film’s underlying message is clear: meeting someone new, no matter the circumstances, holds the potential for a transformative adventure. “Mars” encourages viewers to seize these opportunities and embrace the unknown, for the limit of how far we can go is beyond the sky.