At his wit's end with the bullies at his school, nine year old Caleb finds the perfect solution: he 3D prints himself. Back home, there's confusion as his parents navigate life with the new addition to their family. But perhaps this is exactly what they needed?
Caleb is a short film exploring a world where science and technology are both embraced and denied and intertwined with personal and political views. It received the award for Best Original Screenplay at the 41st Boston Sci Fi Film Festival and has screened at various festivals, including London Short Film Festival, London Independent Film Festival, SCI FI London and Festival Alto Vincentino where it was nominated for Best Short Film.
The Sci-Fi genre is shifting into a more psychological and relatable realm. It's an exciting time for film makers like the producers of Caleb, Amanda Mesaikos and Susanne Aichele.
Mesaikos told The Huffington Post Australia she believes what humans fundamentally need to thrive is a connection with others -- whether that be a family, community or close friends.
"The ways we 'connect' are rapidly changing but our innate desire for connection hasn't. Caleb's parents are too busy to realise he's being bullied at school so he makes a copy of himself for protection. This initially leads to chaos in their home but ultimately brings them closer together. So in some ways technology separated them but in others it brought them together," Mesaikos said.
"If these two boys had the exact same memories and experiences what makes one less human than the other? What makes one less the family's son than the other? Does it matter which one was the original?"
"In the end I think we are left with more questions than answers. But that's what we want to do as filmmakers. We don't want to force our personal opinions on audiences but rather get them talking and looking and questioning the world around them."
Aichele told HuffPost Australia it's undeniable that, as a society, we have already become dependent on technology.
"You so often hear people saying they can't imagine how they ever did anything without x,y,z apps. But how did this dependence happen and how will it continue to evolve? Hopefully audiences will be able to take a step back and look at how technology is influencing and controlling their lives," Aichele said.
"We didn't want to take a particular stance and say we think advancing technology is going to only be harmful to society, but we also didn't want to say we think the positive impacts will come without consequences. For us, Caleb was more about questioning the effects of technology on family life. We wanted to get people to think about what impact it may have rather than be a warning call."
While the film industry is still largely dominated by males, Mesaikos believes the tide is turning for the best. She said there's an equal amount of talent out there, but still so much disparity at the Hollywood level.
"We believe it's a filter effect- the majority of men at the top (and it's mostly white males at the top in Hollywood) will bond and trust and support up-and-coming male filmmakers. The reasons might not even be due to blatant sexism, but the unconscious bias we are all conditioned with. So it's important that we continue to talk about it, even if it seems like a trodden path, until there is a good balance at the top and role models for female filmmakers," Mesaikos said.
"We just can't be discouraged, we need to keep making our work and getting it out there into the world. We need to support and fight for each other. And hopefully one day one can just be regarded as filmmaker without the gender prefix."