‘Grounded’ is an VFX Spectacle and an Emotional Triumph

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Short of the Day

“One astronaut’s journey through space and life ends on a hostile exosolar planet. Grounded is a metaphorical account of the experience, inviting unique interpretation and reflection by the viewer. Themes of aging, inheritance, paternal approval, cyclic trajectories, and behaviors passed on through generations are explored against an ethereal backdrop.”

This is the description writer-director-vfx-producer Kevin Margo gives to his short film Grounded, and while it certainly provides an erudite encapsulation of the film’s themes, what it doesn’t relay, what you have to watch to receive, is the heart-wrenching emotionality of the film. For all its virtues – and there are many including VFX, cinematography, score, direction – I believe Grounded’s biggest strength is the way it takes such epic themes and makes them intimate. It’s also seriously impressive how Margo’s script manages to convey such complex themes with pretty much zero dialogue. According to Margo, the film was inspired by his father’s passing, and if he doesn’t mind my saying, Grounded is a beautiful tribute.

Short film shorter, this is mind-blowing work, which is why it’s won oodles of awards from film festivals all over the world. It is graceful, thrilling, contemplative, intelligent, and gorgeous to behold. There’s a link to the film’s VFX breakdowns on the Vimeo page, so be sure to check that out too so you can see the extent of Margo’s cinematic wizardry.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist