Video: Robbie – the six-thousand year robot

Robbie tells the story of an abandoned robot at the end of its six-thousand year battery life.

The eight minute film is made from video clips found in the NASA public domain archive, set to an original piece of music and staring a digitized voice. The concept gives new meaning to ‘found-footage’ filmmaking, as these clips were not crafted for this purpose, but were found and assembled the way one creates a piece of ‘found’ poetry.

“The film-making process involved downloading about 10 hours of footage from the NASA archives and compiling a list of shots which resonated with me at some level.” said Australian filmmaker, Neil Harvey. “I did this over about 2 or 3 months when I had the spare time. From there, I put these selected shots on an editing timeline and watched them back until characters and narratives began developing in my mind. That is when I met Robbie.”

Harvey made the film as a gift for his girlfriend.

It’s a little heavy-handed, and the language is a little off from what I would personally imagine a robot would think up – particularly the phrase “doesn’t look like real life” struck me as strange – but it is a touching film which reaches into human themes through a veneer of speculative tech, which is what good sci-fi should always do. Sure there are some amateur filmmaking mistakes, as well there should be in an amateur film.

Most impressive is the production. No budget needed, created entirely in ‘free-time’. Personally, I wouldn’t  mind seeing more amateur productions in this style, made entirely from public domain footage and free tools. All the hobby filmmakers out there with great ideas and no funding, take note.