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‘R’ha!' German student’s sci-fi film wins the Internet

  • Short film debuts during Hollywood's movie awards season
  • 22-year-old German animation student has created a universe
"R'ha" short sci-fi movie by Kaleb Lechowski
"R'ha" short film

The sci-fi flick -- discreetly posted on Youtube and Vimeo just a few days ago and devoid of fanfare or press releases -- is short in length, but long on special effects: Lasers criss-cross, menacing machines stalk the land ande there are explosions galore.

All this in about six minutes -- and the Internet has taken notice. "Sweet, sweet sci-figasm! Outstanding, tell me at what direction I should throw money so this turns into full-length feature!" says one of many commenters on the video's Youtube page.

What team of wunderkinds has crafted this masterpiece? Surely, they're the newest up-and-coming outfit in graphics and animation, the latest who’s-who signed with a big studio in the Hollywood Machine, right?

At the bottom of the video reads the description: “Written - directed - animated by Kaleb Lechowski.”

“I´m studying film and CG [computer-generated animation] at Mediadesign Hochschule in Berlin Germany,” says Lechowski, who spoke to HLN via email just a couple days after his sci-fi film, “R’ha,” was posted online. 

“I am currently 22 years old,” he said.


Just as the movie awards season gets into full swing and accomplished actors and set designers with multimillion dollar budgets walk on stage to deliver incredible poised remarks to wild applause, a young animation student is winning raves online for a short sci-fi movie totally produced by himself.

The film takes the viewer to a panoramic world where an alien is interrogated and tortured by one of the machines of his own species' creation, Lechowski said, citing influences from ""The Matrix" and "Terminator."

“During the brainstorming process the interrogation between two different creatures came to my mind, robotic and either man or alien," Lechowski said, "a rebellion of the machines.”

Heady stuff for a first-year student.

“It took about seven intense months to create it all. I have designed and created everything on my own. Sometimes I drew concept arts, e.g. for the alien, but I often started improvising right in digital 3D. I had a few versions of a storyboard describing every shot of the movie.”

The Internet has perhaps thousands of independent short films uploaded daily -- the vast majority of them far outside the fiefdom of Hollywood, and that's where many of them will stay. But just hours after it was posted online, movie executives took notice of Lechowski's mini-epic. He has retained a Beverly Hills-based entertainment management company.

So, is “R’ha” headed to the big screen? Are studio bigwigs salivating with thoughts of signing big-name movie leads such as Shia LaBeouf or Will Smith to the project?

“A lot of people (studios, financiers, producers) are interested in my project and my future plans but so far nothing is decided yet,” Lechowski said. “I would like to take this universe into a full feature movie to give this story the extension it deserves.”

Millions will be there, with popcorn, most likely.

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