Never Upon A Time

A woman lives the perfect life as part of a VR simulation, an experiment made by the Government to give homeless people the ‘perfect life’ in an alternative reality. She goes there to build her own life, the way it would have been if she hadn’t accidentally killed her husband in an accident caused by her drunk driving. However, suspicions quickly arise that the technology is actually the Government’s way of eradicating the homelessness by eradicating the homeless and it infects the participants with a deadly. Meanwhile, the protagonist enjoys her VR life too much to want to leave.

  • Ana Badea
  • Ana Badea
  • Yu-Chieh Cheng
  • Kutay Yavuz
    Director of Photography
  • Isabella Burtscher
    Key Cast
  • Morgan King
    Key Cast
  • Matthew Wignall
    Key Cast
  • Amid Abtahi
    Key Cast
  • Bethan Jones
  • Bethan Jones
    Visual Effect Supervisor
  • Yiwen Tian
    First Assistant Director
  • Gemma Wilkie
    Second Assistant Director
  • Anagh Menon Pankajakshan
    First Assistant Camera
  • Bailey Holland
    Second Assistant Camera/Gaffer
  • Minghan Li
    Sound Supervisor
  • Felipe Carvajal Sanchez
    Sound Recordist
  • Harvey Semple
    Sound Recordist
  • Zixin Lan
    Still Photographer
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 52 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 24, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of York
Director Biography - Ana Badea

Ana Badea is an up-and-coming filmmaker of Romanian origin, graduate from Film and Television Production with Directing MA at University of York. She has a background in Media and Communication, from her BA at University of Leeds and has been making short films since the age of 10. She is interested in films which deal with social issues and the use of experimental filming techniques to achieve aesthetic pieces.

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Director Statement

‘Never Upon A Time’ is a short which captures the zeitgeist of a future, technology oriented society. The idea which stands at the foundation of the film is the very realization that we live in a time where VR technology advancements happen at the same with extreme poverty and homelessness (which were worsened by the pandemic). We are heading towards an increasingly individualistic society, as everyone is stuck in their own little reality, which can be easily constructed with the help of VR and AI technologies. On the other side of things, we can notice the growing rate of homelessness around the world, as the cost of living is growing exponentially. The question this leaves us with is – where do homeless people fit into this world? What will the Governments of the future do to help? Can these technologies help or harm them? The short explores the negative use of these technological advancements, as it references the greed and lack of empathy of the ‘every-man-for-themselves’ world. It encourages everyone to be kind and pursue social justice, using the tools at their disposal, such as the people online did in the film, which was vocalized in the mayor’s last press conference.