scion – short film

Earlier this year I was a screener for the Santa Cruz Film Festival. I had to watch a truckload of crap… most of it was crap, frankly. Being a screener (or a screenplay reader) is a real eye opener, really… because most of it is crap. But I found a few gems, and I thought I’d get around to sharing them with you. Not all of them made it into the fest (not for lack of quality or vision, more for programming reasons) but I still think you should know about these films.

Written and Directed by Michael Rosetti

Deep in an abandoned factory lives Scion; lonely and crippled, he hobbles along, trying to create a companion.  When a mysterious man stumbles into the factory Scion eagerly follows him and the two develop an odd relationship, ultimately changing Scion’s insulated existence forever. Creation and destruction are bound together in a story of the search for meaning and existence.

I was stunned by Scion. At only 12 minutes long, and with only a single line of dialogue, Scion is a beautiful movie with delicate performances. Shot on 35mm by Greg Mitnick, Scion’s urban grunge post-apocalyptic setting is filmed with the light and composition of a Vermeer.

In fact, my recommendation to the programming committee went something like this:

Fucking brilliant. Beautiful, sad, poignant, elegant and hopeful… Scion tackles nothing less than the handoff of Earth from one species to another  — and does it with compassion and without judgment.

At least, that’s what I got from it. I chatted with writer/director Michael Rosetti, and he had this to say about the film.

CS: I’ve been moved to contact only one other filmmaker [from the SCFF submissions], but have only followed through with you because I think what you’ve done is extraordinary. Scion is my hands down favorite film screened to date.

MR: Wow, thank you so much. That’s the nicest thing I’ve heard about the film so far.  The festival thing has been pretty hit and miss so far with Scion, but I’m hoping it will pick up.

CS: The film is beautiful. Tell me about your DP.

MR: The DP, Greg Mitnick, is really amazing… his website is

CS: I’d be curious to hear from you what the film’s intent was… not just narratively but conceptually or philosophically. It would be interesting to know how close my interpretations are to your intentions.

MR: Well I had a lot of ideas behind the film….I made it party because of that location which I had seen about a year before and just really wanted to shoot something there, and then I saw Daft Punk’s “Electroma” and was really intrigued by it – it’s about two robots that want to be human and are exiled by their robot community.

So it got me thinking about what really is the essence of being human and kinda whittled it down to the ability to willingly create and willingly destroy.  So the film is basically concerned with the question of which one of those is the key to being a human and which one is simply animalistic.

Ultimately I think it’s both, so in the film each of the characters is really just on one side or the other.  Morton is the creator, but he’s really an enigma until he decides to destroy ScionScion is a creator but doesn’t make the transition to a being a human until he experiences the desire to destroy.

There are also some threads of religion – basically that people move farther forward the more they leave behind the idea of a creator or someone/something that is there to fix you and solve your problems.  It could also be seen as being self-sufficient, moving away from parents, from teachers, whatever.  Scion is able to leave the factory and enter the world only after he no longer needs to depend on his creator.  When he can fix himself he can move on.

CS: Seems like my take was on the right track, though maybe an overly simplistic interpretation. Nevertheless, as such I thought it was an elegantly simple and beautiful illustration of a watershed moment in future history.

MR: Thanks again for all your support, it’s really encouraging.


Complete crew info can be found on the JSOK Films website.

DP Greg Mitnick:

Production Stills.

Mike Rosetti’s reel:

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