A 25-minute independent film called Project Arbiter is about to go into production, and after viewing the trailer and synopsis there is no doubt in my mind it will be the next great short-film action piece to follow the Neill Blomkamp path to feature length glory. One can at least hope, right?

When I saw Alive in Joburg, the short film by Blomkamp that spawned the wonderful District 9, it was obvious a good feature-lentgh film was on the way. But with Michael Chance’s Project Arbiter, we don’t even have a film in full production yet – however, the 90-second trailer is all I need to convince me that it is a must-see movie.

Here is part of the synopsis for Project Arbiter, taken from Michael Chance’s website:

“Project Arbiter is a sci-fi espionage story that demonstrates how a small quiet victory tips the balance of power and foretells the outcome of World War II.”

The rest of the synopsis introduces the main character, Special Fields Op. Captain Joseph Colburn, and ends with him in a prototype suit that renders him temporarily invisible before an anti-aircraft shell poses trouble. And that’s where Chance leaves you hanging.

Project Arbiter tank image Project Arbiter: The Next District 9?


The visuals of the trailer are profound, especially for something that apparently doesn’t begin production until May. As for the story, these new fictional realities stemming from real events are endlessly appealing – Watchmen and Inglourious Basterds are the first two that come to mind. The concept of bringing fresh perspective and new conflicts to something we are all familiar with is not only creative, but also captivating.

I’ve watched the trailer for Project Arbiter three more times since starting this article and I hope you’ll enjoy it just as much:

You can watch all of Michael Chance’s work on his website. The man’s got a way of locking you in from the start and leaving you wanting more by the end. But it may just be the visual aesthetic that makes them all so watchable, pinning your eyes to the film from the very first shot.

While it may or may not share the fortuitous fate of Blomkamp’s District 9, Project Arbiter is surely a film to keep an eye on.

Project Arbiter begins full production in May. The trailer gives you an opportunity to donate so if you can, this is your chance to help make a solid-looking short film into a big-screen reality.

Source: YouTube, Michael Chance via SoB