Vax, written, directed and scored by Barak Shpiek, is a short film that throws a big punch in the direction of Big Pharma.
Deep in the research laboratory of Triple Hills Pharma, an accidental discovery could save the lives of millions, unless it kills profits.
This is a conspiracy thriller that not only delivers on thrills but manages to pose strong questions. Not only of the characters but of the audience as well.
When two scientists discover a potential vaccine for malaria, they soon find themselves at odds. On the one hand, they could prevent millions of people from contracting a deadly disease. On the other, their company stands to make more money in the long run by treating those who are infected. What would you do if faced with the choice? Would you choose people over profit?
As the two scientists diverge for the night, the two sides of the argument play out. Geoff (Cade Carradine) shares his hopes and fears with his wife, while his boss Eric (Ricco Ross) attempts to persuade the board of the potential viability of the vaccine.
Shpiek takes the core elements of filmmaking; a tight script, slick editing, a brooding score, strong performances, puts them all into a petri dish and over the course of twelve minutes, it grows into a fantastic film that wrings every drop of atmosphere, intrigue and tension out of its premise.
Vax “pax” a lot into its short runtime. Achieving the compelling narrative arc that some 90-120 minute thrillers can only dream of. And importantly when it comes to a short film, it leaves the audience wanting more. What happens next for these characters, and the world?
With the recent COVID vaccine, one needed several shots to ensure full protection. With Vax, Barak Shpiek needs just one shot to prove his talent behind the camera.
Director: Barak Shpiez
Stars: Cade Carradine, Ricco Ross, Marguerite Wheatley
Runtime: 12 minutes