Experiencing Interruptions?


Meet Atlas: a two-tonne hunk of metal programmed solely to chop trees. The year is 2090: most labour intensive jobs have been efficiently mechanised by robots, and in Atlas’ case, wood logging. However, being a robot tasked solely as a lumberjack is no easy feat. Being one of the first of its kind, there are a few bumps in the system; despite his seemingly large build and powerful tools, he still finds himself in unfortunate scenarios that lead to his death. Never fear though as luckily for Atlas, his programming is uploaded to The Cloud, snapping back to normal in an instant. Until there is a problem with the system...

This heartfelt and comedic animation explores themes of identity and realisation as we follow Atlas through his ventures in a future society making use of cloud-based consciences; whilst Atlas may be able to reboot back to life, the environment around him cannot.

  • Nazia Zaman
    Director, Writer & Producer
  • Nazia Zaman
    Animator & 3D Modeler
  • Alice Mills
  • Cooper Roy
    Sound Design
  • Isaac Ellis
    Re-recording Mixer
  • Roxie Oliveira
    Visual Effects
  • Miru Kim
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Comedy, Animation, Heartfelt, Unreal Engine, 3D
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 4 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 1, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    100 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Unreal Engine, Autodesk Maya
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of Surrey
  • Spark Animation 2021
    Official Selection
  • Los Angeles Film Awards 2021
    Los Angeles
    United States
    November 2, 2021
    Best Animation & Best Student Film
  • Florence Film Awards 2021
    Honourable Mention
  • University of Surrey Digital Media Arts Showcase - British Film Institute
    United Kingdom
    July 21, 2021
    Technical Achievement
Director Biography

Specialising in 3D Modeling, Animation and Environment Art, Nazia is a highly adaptable and creative individual with a great attention to precision, timing, flow and detail. Having completed a professional year in a creative agency working on motion graphics, this allowed Nazia to explore her animation potential.

Recently graduating in Digital Media Arts from the University of Surrey, Nazia’s interests now focus on pre-visualisation, XR production and animation having enjoyed the challenge of using Unreal Engine in 'Atlas'.

Delivering her short film ‘Atlas’ at the British Film Institute Southbank, this heartfelt and comedic animation was awarded ‘Technical Achievement’. Creating this animated short allowed Nazia to fully realise her 3D Modeling and Animation potential using Unreal Engine and Autodesk Maya.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

While prominently working with environmental themes and the meaning of consciousness and life, ‘Atlas’ is most of all a journey into what it means to change and to rediscover oneself. While cheerful, he has little time for his surroundings or his own life, which is only a re-upload away from being restored at any point. But life takes many twists and turns, even for a machine as he is forced to confront his own actions and their consequences, re-evaluating his purpose and what it truly means to be happy.

‘Atlas’ thus communicates one of the most challenging aspects of life: the pursuit for fulfilment and abandoning a lifestyle that does not serve to make oneself happy. As a recent graduate, it can be difficult to navigate the working world, easily slipping into job roles whilst disregarding one’s own happiness.

This project initially developed as an exploration into the colour green and what that colour represents for us: Hope, Tranquillity, Rebirth, Health and Spirituality. It was this idea of “Rebirth” which subsequently inspired the ‘Cloud’. As the Science-Fiction genre explores cloud-based consciousness, a common theme is found where life is taken for granted, an existence so easily ‘re-uploaded’ as many times as necessary. In stark contrast to this is the manifestation of natural life: the trees – a physical and visual representation of the permanent consequences of Atlas’ actions on his surroundings.

Cinematography, musical score and sound effects work in tandem to create a light-hearted and meaningful storyline – each aspect changing just as Atlas is changing himself.

‘Atlas’ is therefore an appeal to life, to living and to happiness no matter the circumstances or setbacks.