Product Review: Dust.
We look at a new digital platform, Dust, that brings together short science fiction films.
Dust is a new platform that collects and creates sci-fi short films. Established in 2016, the free service already boasts an impressive collection of media. The current catalog stands somewhere between 80 to 100 films, depending on how you categorize the content. The website gives off a bleeding-edge “ain’t it cool?” vibe, but the service is rock solid with very little standing between you and the content.
Dust was founded in 2016 and is based out of California. By their own description: “We curate existing films, produce original content, and develop other unique opportunities with DUST filmmakers.” That boils down to an ever expanding collection of short SF films, ranging from two minute shorts that function like a proof of concept video, to half hour long mini movies, and even ongoing series. In addition to the video content, the site contains a hearty blog with film-maker interviews and Q&A sessions.
While some of their films are award winning shorts that are available on other platforms, you’d be hard pressed to find this many short films in one location, especially at this price: Free.
Dust is free to stream, both off of their website and on You-Tube. As all the videos I checked out were hosted on You-Tube, you can expect commercials but Dust itself does not insert any advertising into the media. As few of the films are longer than 20 minutes, you won’t have to contend with commercials interrupting your viewing. The site links to Facebook and Instagram, but the videos there just redirect to the You-Tube channel, so there’s no additional advertising beyond what You-Tube tacks on.
Scouring the site, I didn’t even come across a link for Patreon or crowdfunding. Hopefully the deals they have in place keep them afloat…but if you’re interested in independent science fiction, I would take them up on their offer sooner rather than later.
As I said above, Dust has an impressive library in both quantity and quality. As a curated site, you do get some variation, but they seem to be pretty good at picking winners. Even the “cool idea spun into a 5 minute flick” shorts boast solid visual fidelity and better than average CG.
The content varies as much as you would expect from science fiction collections. There is dystopian drama, alternate realities, monsters, machines, and even animation. It’s an impressive set, and it seems to get new films every week.
There’s little to add about the actual experience of watching Dust. If you’ve fired up a video on You-Tube, you know all you need to. The short nature of the films makes it easy to binge, and if you don’t end up enjoying your current selection, you’re not out much time.
I would suggest watching the films right on their You-Tube channel, however, since it is far easier to scan the offerings. While You-Tube has things roughly categorized and shows you a time stamp, the website itself does not. One advantage of the website is that each video has all of its specs (except run-time, strangely) listed so you can follow up on a studio, director, or actor if you liked what you saw. Seeing as how even catching Oscar nominated short films is like pulling teeth, this service is fantastic for short film lovers.
If you’re a fan of science fiction, short films, or just looking for something new, Dust has you covered. There’s no fees or subscriptions, so cost isn’t an issue. The information on the site and the blog allow you to engage with the media in ways that aren’t feasible with bigger production studios, so if you end up liking what Dust is offering, the sky is the limit.