Brain in a Box

In an attempt to understand the anomaly in his intelligent android, a young scientist conducts the perfect experiment, only to find a mysterious truth about his creation.

  • Sumit Singh
  • Sumit Singh
  • Shujian Wang
  • Andrew Pish
    Key Cast
  • Audra Alexander
    Key Cast
  • Rodney Clifton
  • Ting Jiang
    Production Design
  • Hansjeet Duggal
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes 22 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 3, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, Sony F5
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Sumit Singh

Sumit Singh is an award-winning Indian director and writer whose films have screened at festivals around the world. His film, "Brain in a Box", has aired on television in Europe and beyond after selling to Shorts TV, the home of many Oscar-winning short films. His most recent film, "Scaredy Cat", won him 'Best Director' and 'Best Student Film' at the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival. Scaredy Cat also screened at the famous Chinese Theater in Los Angeles on 19th April 2018!

He is an alumnus of the prestigious Chapman University and Barron Brown Acting Studio in Los Angeles.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

* Brain in a Box is scheduled to stream on DISNEY+ Hotstar in the beginning of September.

Growing up in India with no access to science fiction stories made my journey into the world of science fiction even more interesting. Because of the inaccessibility of science fiction novels or comics, I was forced to imagine stories of my own inspired by hard science, which I was always interested in. I would read encyclopedias and all the science books I could find for that one line of science fiction quote they would often put in them. There was always a paragraph or a line describing the future of science which would always land in the realm of science fiction. For me that was more than enough. That one paragraph or one line was all I ever needed, to begin my journey into the magical and adventurous world of science fiction.

Brain in a Box really started during my undergrad study in computer science engineering back home in India. Trying to understand more about artificial intelligence, I was trying to come up with a computer program that could effectively write and modify itself as it desired. Of course I didn't succeed in writing the code but the whole process made me wonder about some fundamental questions about creation. If the program could become self aware and write itself, would it ever know that I was its creator ? Was I really the creator? or did I just create the initial conditions for it's existence which instigated nature to create the program? Was it inevitable from the beginning and I was merely a conduit for artificial life to come into existence? Then how do you define a creator? Do creators have control over their creation? All these questions sent me down a rabbit hole and what emerged was the script for Brain in a Box. A few months later I found out from a friend of mine that he'd discovered that he was an adopted child. It broke him for a while. His love for his parents never changed but his reality did. From that point on, he started seeing the world differently. He would often tell me how nothing in this world is certain and that not matter how sure we are about our lives, we can never escape the unpredictability of human life. And he was right. Had he never discovered that he was adopted, he would have lived his life not knowing the truth. He would have always assumed that his current parents were his real parents, his real creators, but that wasn't the case.
This experience is what inspired the different points of view in my story. Both Adam and Eve have different understandings and belief systems. Both define the truth of their reality by believing in those belief systems. Hence for me, Brain in a Box brings out an interesting take on the nature of our reality. It's like looking in a mirror. We think we're in the real world looking at our reflection, but what if the real world is on the other side and we're the reflection!

Thus what I'm essentially trying to convey through Brain in a Box is the unpredictability and uncertainty of human life. Being so sure of the solidity of our reality, we often stop seeing the world differently and remain oblivious to the truth. I'd rather see the painful truth than live in a blissful false reality. My love for science fiction and my experiences so far resulted in what you see in Brain in a Box. I find Adam's journey fascinating. Hopefully you will too.

The visual look of the film is inspired by the 1940s retro science fiction universe. I personally enjoy the retro-futusitic look that was prevalent in the 1940s and 1950s that promised a sense of optimism about technology with it's minimalistic and mechanical approach to design. It made technology, in my opinion more approachable and physical. Nowadays we're so used to the digital world that we've seemed to have lost the magic of the physicality of an object. In my opinion a digital copy of a book can never replace the magic of a physical copy. This principle is the very foundation on which the visual look of Brain in a Box was established. We tried to make every element of this story touchable and physical to pay homage to the technologies of the last century.