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The Independent Critic

Charlie Gillette, Kristen Mae Carbone, and Nicholas Wilder
Stephen Herman
15 Mins.

 "E.M.M.A." Takes Fresh Approach to Familiar Themes 
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Written and directed by Stephen Herman, the 15-minute sci-fi short E.M.M.A. takes familiar themes and brings them to life in the story of Emma (Charlie Gillette), an experimental robot whose fate they must decide amidst their own conflicted feelings and thoughts knowing that they've become attached to this non-human entity.

The idea of a robot exhibiting signs of humanity isn't exactly a fresh idea, yet Herman does a nice job of making it feel fresh and meaningful thanks to his talented ensemble cast and a script that nicely creates mirrors between all of the characters.

John (Nicholas Wilder) designed Emma as a test robot intended for human companionship, though the great lengths he went to in this matter slowly reveal themselves over the course of the film. Wilder infuses John with a humanity that is conflicted, intelligent, yet hints of a deep woundedness that plays out nicely.

Carol (Kristen Mae Carbone), on the other hand, in many ways mirrors the presence of her robotic counterpart and is clearly the most "clinical" of any of the characters.

Finally, Emma herself gives hints of a rich humanity that is always bubbling underneath the surface and seemingly desperate to come more fully to life.

While the film's 15-minute running time doesn't exactly allow for a complex examination of the myriad of ethical and professional issues that present themselves in E.M.M.A., it does give enough time for one to experience a little bit of what the characters themselves experience as we also become attached to these characters as their stories unfold.

The film has already been selected for three film festivals including the Big Apple Film Festival, the 2013 International Film Festival of Cinematic Arts, and the 2014 Fort Myers Florida Film Festival. Filmed on the campus of Baruch College in New York City, E.M.M.A. is a thought-provoking sci-fi short film that will likely leave you wishing you had a little more time with these characters.

Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic