October 9, 2014

This Incredible Short Film & the Impressive BTS Videos Will Leave You Feeling Inspired

Factory293 Short Film Poster
Credit: Henry Whitehead
Summertime in Perth, Australia might be the least likely time and place for a team of filmmakers to create a 1940s period film about a war-torn part of the Soviet Union in the dead of winter.

However, that's exactly what Roderick MacKay and his team accomplished with Factory293, a successfully crowdfunded short film that has a level of production value and visual effects mastery rarely seen in short films. From the script and production design to the cinematography and VFX, the Factory293 cast and crew absolutely nailed it. You can find the film in its entirety embedded below:

Roderick and his team also put together a series of impressive BTS videos and VFX breakdowns to accompany the film's online release.

Like most films, Factory293 isn't perfect, but it serves as an excellent example of just how powerful a collaborative medium narrative film can be. So many disparate creative departments, from the art direction team to the VFX artist, had to be firing on all cylinders in order to pull this concept off. Beyond the astounding synchronicity of the crew, Factory293 serves as an example what's possible when filmmakers dream big. Most people would be inclined to say that you'd have to be out of your mind to try making a period piece about a blizzard in 1940s Soviet Russia during an arid Australian summer. However, with an awesome team of collaborators and nice chunk of crowdfunding change, Roderick and his crew made it happen it grand style.

In a future post, we'll take a look at a few tutorials detailing the film's VFX process and the creation of its unique poster. If you have any questions about the process of making Factory293 come to life, leave them down in the comments for Roderick!     

Your Comment

27 Comments

2 minutes into it and still dont know what the heck I am watching. Must be the new-wave-existential-pseudo-realism-post-modernism,

Amirite?

October 10, 2014 at 12:05AM, Edited October 10, 12:05AM

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Alex Zakrividoroga
Director
3740

Nope uRwrong. Alex participates in class but he doesn't pay attention.

October 11, 2014 at 4:14PM

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Luna Videography
Videographer
583

I find it tremendously instructive--and comical--to compare the work of a commenter to the work he is criticizing.

October 11, 2014 at 5:33PM

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I liked the movie but character's sound during dialigues? Terrible!

October 10, 2014 at 1:41AM, Edited October 10, 1:41AM

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dyszol
74

Beautifully produced film. Very slick. Story/Tone/Drama wise it was too serious and drawn out for my taste. I enjoyed the behind the scenes much more than the actual film. Still much respect for the skill that went into making it.

October 10, 2014 at 2:08AM

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Angus Lyne
Filmmaker and VFX generalist
308

Perfectly made, congrats for the high production values! But just like an other commenter I couldn't make it past the 2 minute mark before skipping 4 minutes ahead only to find out it is still not catching my interest. That was the end of my patience :-(

October 10, 2014 at 2:30AM, Edited October 10, 2:30AM

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It's very interesting how reception of the movie can vary. For me it wasn't challenging at all to watch it, at actually the pacing whas to my liking. However it lacked that kind of harsh gritty quality I was expecting. Production was really impressive, and the CGI non obtrusive - really well executed. Some minor detailes bugged me, but that's to be expected - you can't please everyone. Performance from the actors was quite impressive, though I would like the characters to be a bit more involving and the officer even more withdrawn.

October 10, 2014 at 4:01AM, Edited October 10, 4:01AM

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I tried watching it, but unfortunately I have to concur with the first three posters. The pacing was too slow, the tone too monotonous, and the characters too un-involving for my taste. I couldn't make it past the three minute mark before I started to skip through the rest. Such a shame, as there was clearly a lot of passion and ingenuity involved in making this project a reality.

October 10, 2014 at 4:21AM, Edited October 10, 4:21AM

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Peer Gopfrich
Writer / Producer
81

Peer, I am your father. Wait, no I'm not...I'm your roommate from law school. Look me up and let's collaborate.

October 10, 2014 at 1:32PM

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Hah! Small world. Check your e-mail :)

October 10, 2014 at 5:26PM

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Peer Gopfrich
Writer / Producer
81

As the saying goes, "don't cast your pearls before swine". Judging from the comments here, that is exactly what has happened. Perhaps not perfect in every way, this extraordinary work doesn't belong on NFS. The majority of it's readership seems incapable of watching something longer than 30 seconds without seeing a skateboard. To the makers of Factory293, take heart and realize the naysayers here will never make anything remotely comparable to your achievement.

October 10, 2014 at 10:15AM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
961

There is a certain expectation for the pacing of a short film that the filmmaker ignores at his own peril. This is a very long "short" and the slow burn is challenging to sit through. Had I been at a festival and dug-in for a 30 minute movie it would be better, but as it is, sitting in front of a computer, it's hard not to want to fast forward and just get to it.

October 10, 2014 at 11:15AM, Edited October 10, 11:15AM

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Joseph Moore
Director
224

Couldn't disagree with you more.

October 10, 2014 at 11:45AM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
961

Such a pathetic reply.

Okay, some tough remarks here but nothing insulting, if these guys make movies only for their own families and get applauded by them: fine, otherwise they have to face reality and a wide range of critics. Getting covered by NFS is an honor - Look at YouTube, the trailer to this film is already four months old and didn't get one single comment from 600 viewers, just two dislikes and one like. Is that better? To get no feedback at all?

BTW better to be someone with his own thoughts than a pretentious asshole!

October 10, 2014 at 12:52PM

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I wouldn't find it necessary to belittle the site as a whole. On the other hand, I agree with you that this is a massive achievement of filmmaking that most people should be looking to learn from.

October 10, 2014 at 1:36PM, Edited October 10, 1:36PM

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Belittling NFS wasn't my intention. I read thIs blog almost daily for valuable information and commend Robert, Koo and the rest of the crew for doing what they do and enduring the unending, relentless asinine comments from trolls, urchins and the like who couldn't shoot their way out of a paper bag. The inference of my comment about this short not belonging on NFS is directed at the cesspool of malevolence that seems to be the larger contingency prevalent in the comments section. If some of you folks didn't get that, I'm sorry for you.

Thank you Robert and NFS for putting Factory293 up here so some of us can enjoy it and congratulate the makers on a job well done.

October 10, 2014 at 4:21PM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
961

Richard,

We make these films not for each other. We make these films to entertain our audience. Our audience should be immersed into the film, they should not struggle to get immersed into the film. This is not the context for the "most persistent viewer" but for the "most engaging filmmaker". I trust we all can see that the difference puts the burden on us to connect with the view, not on the viewer to suffer through our creations.

And the director title comes not with perks of bossing every single minion from the DP down on the set, but comes with the responsibility of entertaining the masses with the end product.

I went back and gave the Factory 293 another chance. I sat thru 6 minutes until I lost patience.

6 minuites.

Game of Thrones, episode 1: the ranger team is wiped out at 7:01. Who the heck are the Factory 293 that at 6:01 they still have not advanced their plot one single little bit?

This film should be used as an example of "DONTs", not of "DOs".

October 10, 2014 at 5:53PM

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Alex Zakrividoroga
Director
3740

Agreed, took along time to develop. And in a short film that's more than lethal than any tv series or film. You just don't have the luxury of time. Applaud the effort in technical achievement but script, script, script. Could have done with another four or five rewrites at least.

October 10, 2014 at 7:34PM

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Jonathon Sendall
Stories
1436

Feedback is feedback, whether it's sandwiched with praise or straight to the point about dislikes. The filmmakers just need to sift through that and decide what they want to take on for their next film once they get a feel for their audience. You don't have to tailor your film to the whims of everyone with the patience of a fly, but if that's a constant theme it could mean your film is either too long and drawn out, lacking action and pace, or (which I think is the case here) is just being distributed in the wrong format. At a film festival, most people in the audience would happily sit through this, because that's the expectation. If someone found this film surfing Netflix, I'd say the same would apply. But, in the landscape of NFS, most people probably aren't in the headspace of being prepared to wait for a story of length to unfold.

There is plenty to appreciate and to be learned from in this short. I think that what they've done with the landscape is simply amazing, and it's the kind of vision and boundary pushing efforts I want to see more out of Australia. I applaud this kind of effort.

But I'm also happy for others to have a conflicting opinion. No need to talk down to them, same as there wouldn't be for someone to call you a snob.

October 10, 2014 at 11:33PM

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Ben Howling
Writer / Director
670

Thank you for this article, Robert.
It was a joy to watch such an adept piece of storytelling.

October 10, 2014 at 10:44AM

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Brandon Shafto
Cinematographer
248

I enjoyed the movie. Usually I don't like slow burn short films but this one caught my interest. I thought that some of the accents were a bit dodgy at times and I was not thrilled with the ending.

Overall I thought it was a compelling story. Not a great movie but better than 99% of short films that I have seen.

October 10, 2014 at 11:41PM, Edited October 10, 11:41PM

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Great Job. Liked it.

October 11, 2014 at 4:15PM

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Luna Videography
Videographer
583

Simply the best short film I've seen.... B R I L L I A N T ! ! !

October 12, 2014 at 5:53AM

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Kayode
620

Hey everyone, Roderick MacKay here. Sincerest thanks to each and everyone of you for taking the time to check out the film and BTS. We appreciate it enormously, especially all your comments. This project was largely an experiment and only the second time I've directed (first time was a co-direction, so technically this is my first time directing solo). As such, I fully acknowledge I'm bit of a greenhorn and am most grateful for all feedback! Look forward to bringing you all another production in the future, which suffice it to say, will be set a little closer to home. Here's an early promo video for what will hopefully be our next project - http://theinteriormovie.com/. Of course, immense thanks to Robert Hardy for this incredible exposure. It really is a massive honour to be featured on Nofilmschool. Cheers!

October 16, 2014 at 8:58PM

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Roderick MacKay
Filmmaker
81

Congratulations on an amazing achievement, Roderick, from fundraising through post. The behind the scenes videos and tutorials add that much more. Please don't feel that the extremely vocal minority here speak for everyone. Cheers!

October 31, 2014 at 8:02PM, Edited October 31, 8:02PM

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Charlie K
1251

If this became a series, I would be an ardent viewer. This ain't no "little film." I was blown away by cinematography, FX work and, most importantly, right from the beginning I was drawn to the characters and very much want to know how their lives evolve. Maybe it's the characters that caught my attention. Thanks for your hard work. I hope you develop this further.

October 16, 2014 at 11:15PM

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This short film is definitely commendable. I enjoyed the pace and rhythm of the story as well as the visual artistry. Furthermore, listening to a language in a Russian dialect made me pay more attention to get aquainted with the characters.

Bravo!

October 17, 2014 at 2:05AM

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Micheal Rows
Freelance Artist
1