Short Film to Watch: Merv

Even at the end of civilization, the uncertainty a man feels as he’s handing a gift to a woman would still be able to tug on heartstrings.

Even in a wasteland set at some unspecified post apocalyptic time, humans can still have a little bit of romance. Merv is a short film from Little Dragon Pictures that can be viewed on Youtube (video at the end of the post).

The post-apocalyptic atmosphere is one of my favorite backgrounds of a story. Stripping away almost all of the society constraints and gimmicks really heightens what is important to a character. The main character of the film  (whom I assume is Merv) is a lone survivor bunkered down in an underground enclosure. He is surrounded by various gadgets and items to survive and while away the times. Even with his limited resources, he’s still able to save a small amount of water to grow a small flower in jar.

Loneliness is heightened in this post apocalyptic world. At first he can manage by scrounging for  materials or playing chess with himself. When he encounters another survivor, he flees and recuperates (in a very cute way). Does he continue to live alone in his existence or does he face his fear?

merv2I am one of the few women on earth who does not find a gift of cut flowers romantic. A carefully cultivated lone flower in an apocalypse transcends many levels of romance, however. That’s an immediate highway to happy, smexy town. The flower is also a great way to show the passage of time or since he pours so much of time and self into it, I would even go so far as say this is a tiny representation of himself.

His initial actions to run and later to fight are pretty understandable reactions in this kind of world. Who or what the other person is could be a danger to Merv. On the flip side, the person could be something even greater in his life. The progression from fear, to fight, to bridging communications in such a short film is done with amazing, beautiful shots and really fun music.

I also get the sense that the only people who will survive in this world are tinkers or engineers. I am so frightfully doomed.

The filmmaker, Matt Inns, was kind enough to answer some questions about his Merv:


Easy and predictable question: What was the inspiration behind “Merv”?

Inns: I love genre films like Star Wars and Indiana Jones, and had made a few action short films, but wanted to do something a bit different. So the inspiration really came from the idea of wanting to take a classic genre and going against the normal conventions – post-apocalyptic films generally deal with dark and violent themes, so even though part of the message relates to that, we went the opposite way in telling it.

Why set the romance in an apocalyptic world?

Inns: I think a post-apocalyptic world is a great metaphor for love. It can be a lonely, isolated and uncertain place, but then there’s always hope, even if you’ve got the social abilities of Merv.

What were your influences when you created this story?

Inns: From a stylistic point of view we took a lot of influence from classic Disney films, as that was something that’s in total contrast to your typical post-apocalyptic story, and that juxtaposition carries some subtext about the deeper meaning of the film – there’s the romantic, hopeful aspect to the story, but beneath it we were also trying to say that the way we act as humans, and what seems like an unfortunately instinctive tendency toward conflict and war over love, leaves the idea of world peace as a fairytale. Merv discovers love, but sadly in our world not everyone does.

What kept you motivated as you did your film?

Inns:I’ve always looked at each project as a stepping stone to the next stage, and I wanted to make Merv to use as support for funding another project (not story related, but a more ambitious sci fi short), which was eventually successful, and we’re in post-production on that film now. So I guess it was believing that whatever you’re doing now is working toward something more in the future that just keeps you going.

What are your plans for this film?

Inns: It took a while to find the right path for it once we had finished, but it was recently featured on a popular Youtube channel, which was a really good boost in terms of getting it out there. It served its original purpose of helping us fund another project, so we’re pretty happy now to just leave it online for people to enjoy.

How would you survive and find love in an apocalyptic world?

Inns: That’s a tough one, I’ve only just figured that out for this world! I guess there’s many things to consider in an apocalypse depending on the actual scenario, like if it involves nuclear fallout or zombies, as that would be a real game changer and you’d have to learn a whole new skill set. Although if you became adept at that I imagine you could make a professional career out of zombie extermination, so maybe I’d set up a business and go that way. Finding love would be a hard one, especially if you’re isolated. Maybe I would make a sign and advertise by a watering hole – “Single male seeks loving non-murderous companion. Self-employed, great one room bunker, fantastic desert location. Radio if interested.” But then with dating I guess there would be that whole early trust issue of “are they with me for who I am? Or just for my scrap metal?” I think if you reached a third date and they still hadn’t tried to kill you and steal you’re stuff, you’ve probably found the one.


The production value for this sort film was beautiful. From the setting, the outfits, the characters, and the music, I was so impressed by this video. There is a lot of content out there so to see something this well done is just breathtaking. Little Dragon Pictures are working a steampunked project, which I am completely looking forward too.

little dragon pictures

Enjoy the video!:

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