The highly anticipated (if not completely warmly received) 9 hits theaters today on this numerically significant day, and while you are scrambling to hit the box office, we thought you might want to check out the short that started it all.

Director Shane Acker got his start with Atom Films, but soon started working for WETA – getting a chance to do FX for The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Then, in 2005, he directed a short film that caught the attention and nominations of the Academy Awards. It also caught Tim Burton’s eye and Acker got a chance few short film directors ever get.

If you haven’t seen 9 yet, there’s a chance you may want to skip watching the short because it has a lot of the story elements (including a redacted sort of ending), but there’s also something to be said for seeing the evolution of a story like this.

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