What If Wendy

By James A. Sims | Sci-Fi
A doctor at a genetic engineering firm wonders what if her daughter hadn't died.

Mara Stevens is a doctor and case manager who works in a genetic engineering firm, in a world where anyone who wants a child can create the child they want. A workaholic, she leads an isolated, almost compulsive life.

But as the seventh birthday of her dead daughter Wendy approaches, she begins to ask herself: what would happen if her daughter hadn't died? The question opens her up to a whole slew of questions, and Mara must finally face the grief she has avoided for so long.

Writer-director James A. Sims and screenwriter and co-producer Gabriella Nieves have created a remarkably resonant drama that possesses a lot of hallmarks of great science fiction. Cleanly precise camerawork and cinematography captures Mara's world perfectly, and the special effects are well done, both evoking our current world -- there are still iPhones in the future, for example -- but taking it just a step beyond to make it futuristic.

But what makes the film so perceptive and affecting is its attention to human emotion and its powerful portrayal of stasis and grief. Dealing with devastating loss isn't a linear process for most people -- despite the idea of five stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance -- many of us can stay stuck in one stage for too long, or go back and forth between them, never quite reaching acceptance.

Mara is a mother who has never allowed herself to confront the central defining loss of her life, and in the world she lives in, technology allows her access to some version of her daughter, however imperfect it is. The ramifications of this, however, are alternately unexpected, wrenching and very moving. Lead actor Meredith Patterson carries the film on her shoulders, and her performance as the mother is strong, nuanced and deeply affecting.

"What If Wendy" is, like many great sci-fi films, a thought exercise in how an emerging technology can possibly reshape the human condition in some way, whether it's how we live or what we experience. This heartwrenching short gets deep into the most intimate frontiers of emotions, looking at how our growing knowledge and abilities in genetics could be applied -- and affect us in ways we never anticipated.




You Might Also Like:

Omnibus (Oscars)

By Sam Karmann | Comedy
A man boards the wrong train and desperately tries to get off between stations.

Little Bear

By Nicolas Birkenstock | Drama
A young girl sleepwalks and runs away at night. Now she wants to see where she goes...

Tala'vision

By Murad Abu Eisheh | Drama
A young girl watches a secret TV in a war-torn world. But it becomes life or death.

Iniquity

By Oliver Goodrum | Drama
A man who bullied a disabled girl tries to escape his past. Then an angry mob finds him.

Pony

By Candice Carella | Drama
A single mother leaves her young daughter with a rock musician uncle.

Sylvia

By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.

Avarya

By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...

Ernie

By Hadley Hillel | Drama
A man's suicide attempt rips a hole in the ceiling. Then he befriends the boy upstairs.

Dig Your Own Grave

By Kirk Larsen | Comedy
A man is forced to dig his own grave in the desert. But the ground is hard.

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

Welcome to Iron Knob

By Dave Wade | Comedy
A young boy accidentally shoots a stranger and the town tries to cover it up.



Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening.
That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady
stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.