An excellent example of micro-budget filmmaking

by Nav Qateel

An astronaut (Eke Chukwu) has been in space for a very long time, and doesn’t know what awaits him when he finally gets back to Earth. Much has changed, as he soon discovers after he crash-lands on a desolate continent.

Aozora (Shuna Iijima) has traveled from the security of the Citadel, down to the urban wasteland in search of her family. Initially passing herself off as a tourist and without authorization to be in that quadrant, Aozora is rescued from a security android by two strangers who take pity on her. Her search continues with their help.

Azrael (Lucien Maine) has been arrested for terrorism. Given no real choice in the matter, Azrael is told he’s going on a mission to Mars. However, it’s very probably a one way trip. To help with his training, Azrael has the help of an A.I. human-like android, Sarameya (Haruka Abe). But his training doesn’t go quite as planned.

After the World Ended
Written & Directed by
Tony Sebastian Ukpo
Shuna Iijima, Lucien Maine, Eke Chukwu
Release Date
April 2015
Nav’s Grade: B-

Writer-director Tony Sebastian Ukpo, is one of those filmmakers who doesn’t let small things get in his way and prevent him from getting the job done. Like not having a budget, for example. Not all of Ukpo’s movies are made with zero cash invested in them, but in this instance that was the case. Unlike his previous efforts, however, like the powerful The Fighter’s Ballad, or Random 11, this latest film needed a far larger canvas than Ukpo had the means for. Yet he somehow pulled it off.

In typical Ukpo style, the director decided to let his filmmaking prowess do the talking for him, and speaking of talking, there were no less than four languages spoken in this film. After the World Ended is set in an alternate timeline on Earth, where humans must learn to understand all languages.

Ukpo managed incredibly well with very limited locations and resources, and by some clever camera positioning, the cinematographers were able to get interesting and effective shots. In fact, a lot of the editing was aided by really getting the shots planned out properly, which only served to demonstrate the skill involved. The performances were also good, as each actor brought their A game to the gig in a nice display of talent.

All during the film, I was strongly reminded of the Wachowski’s Cloud Atlas, and I have no doubt that had Ukpo had the backing, his latest production could have looked almost as good. The ending is where I was reminded of Interstellar, and I think you’ll see it too when you reach it. After the World Ended felt like there was a lot of material that had to be left out, due to a lack of funds. And this led to a certain amount of ambiguity as the story started to unfold. But that’s my one and only complaint in an otherwise excellent example of micro-budget, single-camera filmmaking.

After the World Ended will be available at the end of April on VHX here