The Democratization Of Filmmaking — Riveting Sci-Fi Short Film “R’ha” Created By A Single Person

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Digital filmmaking is transforming Hollywood, no doubt, but for independent filmmakers, it is nothing short of a revolution. Case in point: 22-year-old German student Kaleb Lechowski. After seven months of writing, designing, and editing as well as reporting his progress on his blog, Kaleb recently posted his short sci-fi film R'ha on Vimeo. The six-minute film, which does not include a single human being, was completed as part of his first-year studies in digital film design in Berlin.

The film depicts an alien imprisoned and interrogated by a Matrix-esque robotic intelligence that turned on the aliens and began to take over the planet. It is impressive for its sense of story, character, and drama that builds throughout the short trailer. What's also amazing is that other than help he received for sound and voice acting, the rest of the movie is his creation in concept and execution.

Check it out for yourself:

On his blog, Kaleb has been sharing the development of R'ha as well as other projects, including his first digital movie for an Audi concept car he designed and an alien statue from the popular Blizzard game Starcraft. He created much of the movie in Blender, a free, open source 3D creation suite that was used to create a commercial Argentinian animated film Plumiferos along with numerous open movie projects. Recently, we profiled another effort to make high quality digital filmmaking open to the masses as Valve Software released its Source Filmmaker for free.

As more software tools become available to the masses and people passionate about film invest their time into capturing their visions, we are sure to see an increasingly number of short digital films of Hollywood-level scope with a single individual in the credits.

David J. Hill

Managing Director, Digital Media at Singularity University
I've been writing for Singularity Hub since 2011 and have been Editor-in-Chief since 2014. My interests cover digital education, publishing, and media, but I'll always be a chemist at heart.

Discussion — 9 Responses

  • thomowen20 January 17, 2013 on 1:05 pm

    This is a superb little movie. I wonder if AIs can can swap elements and storytelling tropes into “algorithmically” generated films in the future.

    Anyway, great work! I will be sharing this!!!

    • EQ9g thomowen20 January 21, 2013 on 7:00 am

      That would certainly save Michael Bay some time.

  • jhisey January 17, 2013 on 1:54 pm

    That was pretty awesome… Hopefully additional editing will take place. I hate when big movie studios do things like this: In the scene between 1:00 and 1:15, the robot is somehow in right front of the alien, then nowhere to be found in the pulled back view, then again back in front of the alien in the up close shot. What’s up with that?

  • Matthew Laurence January 18, 2013 on 7:56 am

    Wonderfully done little film – excellent work! This is far from the first time something of this magnitude has been accomplished, though. Kerry Conran did something similar (and arguably more ambitious, given the technology of the time) in 2004 when he developed the original short film for the stylish “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” (

    If you can put your hands on the DVD, you can see the original teaser-trailer he created on his own using a Mac IIci over the span of 4 years, and you can see them side-by-side. The astonishing thing is that other than the hollywood stars in the final film, the same scenes from the original trailer and the final film look remarkably similar. If you are interested, you can see the original teaser and the Paramount trailers on YouTube:

  • Phil G January 20, 2013 on 7:27 am

    This short movie shows that an independent animator can now get by without a director, animation crew, in-betweeners, etc.–but still not without a writer.

    • Gavin Deichen Phil G January 23, 2013 on 6:21 am

      Can you find 6 minutes of one of, say James Cameron’s films that compare favourably in that respect?

  • Elias A. Constantine January 21, 2013 on 8:52 pm


  • Jeremy Campbell January 22, 2013 on 8:14 am

    Amazing, the future of filmmaking is bright and there’s lots of room for disruption in the space as well!

  • Johnny Han November 4, 2013 on 6:01 am

    I’m currently in the process of shooting an ambitious scifi project. Our Indiegogo(crowd-funding) campaign is currently up and we need your help and support. Our perks start as low as $10. You can help donate in a once in a lifetime opportunity to make this film into a reality. If you’re unable to donate, there are other ways you can help. Nothing is more effective than traditional word of mouth. We encourage everyone to take the time and have a look at the page. Also, we’d appreciate if you could visit our Facebook page and giving us a ‘like’. We have some incredible talent working on this film. I can ensure you that it’ll be a film you’ll be extremely proud of. If you loved R’ha, you’ll love B.R.E.A.T.H.E.

    Indiegogo page:

    Facebook page:…