Private Project

The Shepherd's Dream

Hoping to make contact with alien life, an exploration team arrives on Earth in response to an invitation from humanity. It finds the planet a barren wasteland. The only evidence of civilization are massive towers which house a beckoning energy signature. While searching for the source of this signal, one visitor begins to suspect that Earth is not as empty as it seems.

  • Graham Arneson
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Animation, 3D Animation, Horror
  • Runtime:
    24 minutes 39 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 21, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Graham Arneson

Graham Arneson was born in Michigan and raised in North Central Wisconsin. He received his BA in Film from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2019.

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Director Statement

No single experience inspired this film. “The Shepherd’s Dream” is the result of various media consumed over decades being mixed together and filtered through my personal lens to, hopefully, create something fairly unique. Its story formed organically, developing over about a year. More than anything, I wanted the opportunity to construct a narrative with dialogue and defined characters. My ulterior and more challenging goal was to inject a mysterious personal feeling, some blend of cosmic horror and inviting but inevitable doom, into the film’s atmosphere. Very few pieces of art have instilled this sense of dread and longing, of isolation and belonging. The ones that have always seemed to provide only a puzzle piece for something greater and almost indefinable. This short is the closest I have come to capturing such an elusive emotion, and I only hope that some who watch it may gain an inkling of that sensation.

“The Shepherd’s Dream” is my first foray into 3D animation. Or, at least, my first completed project in the medium. Committing to this type of short for my Senior Project came with the realization that the school I attended at the time, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, did not officially teach computer graphics. In retrospect, waiting until I had access to some sort of professional instruction may have streamlined the production process and lent the work more polish, but I did learn a great deal through two years spent figuring out how to do what I wanted. Knowing that my short is the culmination of personal trial, error, and stubborn persistence makes me more proud of the finished product.