Tears In The Rain, the award-winning South African sci-fi short by filmmaker Christopher Grant Harvey, is an unabashed love letter to the 1982 motion picture 'Blade Runner', and Philip K. Dick's novel 'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?'
Set in Los Angeles in the latter part of the twenty-first century, the short stars Sean Cameron Michael as John Kampff, a mysterious law enforcement official who is tracking down a man named Andy Smith (Russel Savadier), who is suspected of being a replicant: an artificial being almost indistinguishable from humans.
With its haunting, 80s-inspired synthesized score, futuristic Los Angeles cityscape complete with flying cars, looming ultra-skyscrapers, and neon-haloed, grime covered streets, Tears In The Rain convincingly duplicates the dark dystopian aesthetic of Blade Runner.
Cast & Crew
Behind The Scenes
Short Description In a dystopian Los Angeles future, retirement engineer John Kampff (Sean Cameron Michael) hunts down suspected Replicant Andy Smith (Russel Savadier). As John soon learns, Replicant detection is nearly impossible without specialist equipment.
Plot Outline In a dystopian Los Angeles future, replicants or genetically engineered humanoids are created to work forced labour on off-world colonies. The latest generation, the Nexus 3 series, begins to display erratic and violent behaviour. Replicants were not designed to experience complex emotions or develop long-term memories. In the wake of corporate scandals of the previous decade, the Tyrell Corporation quietly attempts to remove Nexus 3 from circulation.
John Kampff (Sean Cameron Michael), a senior engineer, heads up the Tyrell Retirement Division. With the primary objectives, detect and remove Replicants, John has suspected Nexus 3 Andy Smith (Russel Savadier) firmly in his sights. As John soon learns, Replicant detection is nearly impossible without specialist equipment. The Voight-Kampff, a polygraph-like machine used by retirement engineers to help in the testing of an individual to learn if they are a replicant, is a distant thought in John Kampff's mind.
The making of Tears In the Rain has been an arduous five-year journey. I had no idea what I was in for when production began one cold night in 2012, and I often wanted to give up. I came very close, in fact, spending years in post-production trying to get the perfect original visual effects and fitting score to bring the story to life, can lead to fatigue. This is particularly the case when resources are tight, and you have to find a way through the limitations. I asked myself why this particular film was so important. The pursuit of perfection and not settling for mediocrity was daunting and time-consuming. The burning desire, though, to delve deep inside and produce something that I could ultimately feel proud of (and be enjoyed by fans the world over) kept me going.
I first saw Blade Runner (1982) as an impressionable kid sometime in the very early 1990's. My dad had the 1991 Director's Cut on VHS. Whenever I tore open the TV cabinet to escape homework, I reached for that tired copy of Blade Runner. The seductive John Alvin poster captivates you right from the get go. The evocative score by Vangelis echoes in your mind as you wait for the VCR to finish rewinding. The collection under the TV included other well-known titles such as Indiana Jones, Back To The Future, Jurassic Park, Terminator, Robocop, Predator, Alien, etc. Everything you would expect from a kid born in the 1980's. This list is comprised of cliche after cliche, that being said my influences extend beyond familiar pop culture. My friends were often jealous of my dads' collection even though I would try to pass it off as my own. I doubt they believed me, but I felt like the movies were made just for me and that only I could appreciate them.
My grandfather, Rudy, had an even vaster and more mysterious collection. I spent a considerable part of my school holidays devouring movies at my grandparent's house. My grandfather had a locked room that housed his collection of films; he had almost any classic you could think of, and to a kid, it genuinely felt like Aladdins 'Cave of Wonders'. It was a forbidden realm filled with vast riches, magical objects, artefacts, and above all it was a time machine into the past as well as into the future. The cave can only be entered by an individual whose "worth lies far within"—the diamond in the rough. Those who made attempts to enter, otherwise, were killed almost instantly. Nobody but my grandfather was permitted to enter. It was during this indelible period that I cultivated my love for cinema and a lust to be a part of the filmmaking process.
Tears In The Rain is a short film set in the world of Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) as well as the motion picture Blade Runner (1982). The main plot of the book follows Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter who is faced with killing ("retiring") six escaped Nexus-6 model androids, while a secondary plot follows John Isidore, a man of sub-par IQ who aids the fugitive androids. In connection with Deckard's mission, the novel explores the issue of what it is to be human. Unlike humans, the androids are claimed to possess no sense of empathy. Blade Runner depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in which genetically engineered replicants, which are visually indistinguishable from adult humans, are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation. The use of replicants on Earth is banned, and they are exclusively utilised for dangerous or menial work on off-world colonies. Replicants who defy the ban and return to Earth are hunted down and killed ("retired") by special police operatives known as "Blade Runners." The plot focuses on a group of recently escaped replicants hiding in L.A. and the burnt-out expert Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment to hunt them down.
When deciding the route to take with Tears In The Rain, it was our (myself and writing partner Evan) intention to focus on a singular idea for a story and work from there. It wasn’t until late in the writing process that the story was in good shape. We opted for a degree of maturity and focused our efforts on telling a story that had substance. It could have been pedestrian to pen a story about some bland hero who hunts down Replicants in a smoke-filled-rain-drenched city in a kinetic action chase scene. That certainly would be eye-catching and impressive, but the fundamentals of story and conflict should take preference. What has always been compelling about Blade Runner is the idea that Replicants are indistinguishable from humans. Rick Deckard could easily have killed a human by mistake. He ruthlessly hunts down these Replicants seemingly without empathy. Tears In The Rain is a “what if” story. What if a 'Blade Runner' retired a human by mistake, what happens then? We took that and wrote a story that serves as a loose prequel.
Five years on I have learned many lessons, and they cannot be easily summed up in a neat list. The main take away is my desire to craft stories. I hope you can look past a minuscule budget and an extensive list of constraints and see the diamond in the rough.