A24's Science Fiction Mystery Movie Revealed To Be Short Film 'Toru'

Last week, a teaser trailer for a mysterious, untitled science fiction movie was uploaded to YouTube by A24, leading everyone to wonder what they could have up their sleeve. Were we looking at a top secret new film from a celebrated filmmaker or the next big thing from an unknown talent? Well, it turns out that we were thinking a little too big. Or rather, we were thinking a little too long: the film is called Toru and it's a short film that will soon premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

We can thank The Film Stage for playing detective and figuring the whole thing out. After noting that the still associated with Toru's Sundance information matched with footage seen in the teaser, they dug up images from the set that also match everything we saw in that footage. We now know that Toru is directed by Jonathan Minard and Scott Rashap, shot by cinematographer Matt Mitchell, and scored by Brian McComber. It is 14 minutes long, in Japanese with English subtitles, and it sounds...heartbreaking.

An older article from Wicked Local, written during production of the short, lays out the basic plot:

With a science fiction undercurrent, Toru centers on the story of a baby boy, named Toru, born with a fatal lung condition. As he only has a few days to live Toru's parents sign him up for a trial experiment that would simulate a full life in a matter of days.

The film follows Toru's dream-like life simulation as a boy named Todd growing up in a New England suburb, and concludes in futuristic Japan.

It's unusual for a major company like A24 to pick up a short like this and even more unusual for a short film to get its own viral campaign ahead of a film festival premiere. Anyone, especially those not heading out to Park City to attend Sundance this week, excited by the prospect of the same company that released Ex Machina putting out a new science fiction feature has every right to be a little bummed out that this is only a short.

However, the early involvement of A24 does make me wonder if they have something up their sleeves. Is Toru promising enough that they want Mindard and Rashap to develop it into feature film? I certainly wouldn't be surprised. Let's see how audiences react to it after it premieres.

In case you missed it, here's the trailer again: