A very short story about love, separation, and having to say goodbye.






It's the 22nd century. A female cyborg is called on a mandatory mission, forcing her to leave her greatest love. Both despondent from the separation, one departs on a life changing journey to a place which redefines imagination.

SYNOPSIS: (with spoilers & why this is a story worth telling)

In a metropolis at the north pole on planet Earth, a female cyborg ("The Occupant") is called on a mandatory long term mission to travel along a space elevator through the Aurora Borealis to serve aboard Space Gate Auroras. Forced to leave her pregnant partner, another female cyborg ("The Loved One"), they say goodbye for an extended period. Two women, human or not, in love, are forced to separate and say goodbye for an extended period of time as one departs on a life changing journey to a place that redefines imagination.



Auroras is a seven minute long science fiction short film with an overarching feature storyline. The short was originally written in 2010 and is comprised of a basic storyline executed in an complex technological way. Development has been extremely slow because the film is primarily made by one independent filmmaker, Niles Heckman, with limited resources. It's been a very slow but steady side project, and is nearing completion. Due to its limited budget combined with high quality computer graphics using only two computers, it's been over three years in production.

The film is a duel production venture between Niles Heckman's Aurora-Lab, a small independent film collective in Los Angeles and Marauder Film, a San Francisco production company founded by Bastiaan Koch.

Science fiction is not about the future, it's about the present. Marriage equality and equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, has come a long way in recent years but still has a long way to go. The film has a feminine theme and an unconventional storyline that would likely not be risked in a large budget Hollywood film. Set in a technologically advanced future, the overarching feature storyline is an embrace of the divine feminine over male dominance.


The story is heavily inspired by naval officers Marissa Gaeta & Citlalic Snell's gay kiss after Gatea returned from extended service.

Occupant kissing Loved One as she is about to depart on the space elevator. (The elevator tower base structure behind splits them in frame. Symbolic of their separation).


The project has a Japanese theme and influence. From a visual standpoint, the film is live action and would ideally be classified as "live action anime." Primarily influenced by the work of Japanese Anime director Makoto Shinkai, whose style of detailed art direction, extensive textured skies, bloomy optics, and very saturated colors give a stunning aesthetic.

*Reference artwork

The aurora borealis is one of the most exotic and beautiful atmospheric phenomena. In eastern culture, a child conceived under the Aurora is often times thought to be extremely good luck. This ties in with the film's storyline and is the primary visual theme throughout the film.

*Reference photography


This is an opportunity to get involved in a project which is very dear to us. Due to the professional quality of the production, we feel that we could raise funds privately, but with potential creative compromise and would prefer to democratize the project with a crowd sourcing solution allowing for anyone interested to become part of our small team.

The film is approximately 75% complete. Computation time for rendering high end computer graphics is very intensive. We are raising a modest amount to help us greatly increase our render resources, streamline post production, and recoup some existing expenditures. Any additional funds raised over the goal will go directly to expanding the script for a feature length film.




Niles Heckman - Writer/Director (http://www.aurora-lab.com/ / http://www.nilesheckman.com/
Bastiaan Koch - Art Director / 2nd Unit Director (http://www.marauderfilm.com/)
Jess Dela Merced - Actor (http://www.jessdelamerced.com/
Samantha Cutaran - Actor - (http://www.scutaran.com/
Dan Haigh & Alex Westaway - Composers (http://www.gunshipmusic.com/)
Andrew Duncan - Sound Designer


Production: AURORA-LAB
Title: AURORAS - short film (2014)
Writer / Director: Niles Heckman
Occupant / Loved One: Jess Dela Merced
Loved One Voice: Samantha Cutaran
Launce Voice: Mana Nagae
Executive Producers: Seayoon Jeong, Laide Agunbiade, Jackie Dela Merced
2nd Unit Director: Bastiaan Koch
Director of Photography: Niles Heckman
Editor: Jack Linemennosh
Original Score: Dan Haigh & Alex Westaway (GUNSHIP)
Sound Design: Andrew Duncan
Co-Producer: Sarah Cave
Associate Producers: Bruce Woodside, Brian Goodwin, Nate Pantumsinchai, Quanrico Gibson
Art Directors: Bastiaan Koch, Marco Iozzi
Gaffer: Marc-Antoine Serou
Visual Effects: AURORA-LAB / Marauder Film / Studio-G Productions
Animation Director: Rick Glenn
Matte Painting: Marco Iozzi, Dark Hoffman
Costume: Vanessa Mi-Kyung Lee
Makeup: Davee Troublefield
Benefactors: Mickael Coedel, Brad Heckman, Zack Chandler, Rick Glenn, Michael Laine, Chris Gluck, David Ogden, Eric Merrill, Albert Michael, Ken Chida, Maria Dela Merced, Laszlo Papp, Filip Uvalic
Consultants: Daisuke Nagae, Rick Glenn, Vernon Wilbert
Special Thanks: Daisuke Nagae, Matt Smith, Vernon Wilbert, Bumpin Shrimp, Ken Chida, Stephen KuoFreesound.org, Tu Le, Todd Brown, Paul Chitescu, Carl Kaphan, Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Howard Darling, Kis-Szabó Márk, Stephen Price, Norman Burg, Sue Burg, Lynn Caffrey, Matt Keebler, Jason Cooper, Jeffery Lamar, Ned Wilson, Maxamillian John, Ryan Geist Bozajian, Nick Nicotera, Nick Dawkins, Chris Kunferman, Shirley Dawkins, Ken Jones, Nick Epstein, Ruth Mersmann, Phillip Hua, Michael Bell, Paula Poulten, Dan Kenyon, Jonathan Harman, Jamee Houk, Allison Powell, Stephan Vladimir Bugaj, Grzegorz Jonkajtys, Ted Seamon, Aleksandar Belovski, Anne Hamilton, Lukasz Przyborowski, Pascal Fuerst, Anthony Miller, Jack Bond, Marie Davis, Bryan Roach, Dave Alsybury, Margret Soden, Larry Soden, James M Nichols, Giles Rafol, Peter Sidoriak, Haarm-Pieter Duiker, Shell Graves, Jeff Heusser, Gregory G. Geiger, Tricia Ennis, Charles M Kersey, Foli Ayivoh, Tihomir Mateev
Copywrite 2014 AURORA-LAB, All Rights Reserved - http://www.aurora-lab.com/


PRODUCTION SHOOTING: (the shoot was a 3-person crew in a living room)



Occupant suiting up in front of alarm hologramWomb Pod docking at space elevator baseOccupant walking along elevator launch catwalkElevator catwalk looking down to elevator reactorElevator through mesosphereStyle sheet of additional shots


Aside from some audio work, the film needs finished post-production imagery. Top of the line computer graphics in feature live action and animated films typically costs $1,000,000 per minute and is done by dozens or hundreds of incredibly talented artists rendering on thousands of machines. This film will have a comparable quality level of imagery and is primarily created by one person on two computers./span>

*Reference imagery for potential future feature


Japanese Space elevator above the cloud layer in the upper troposphere. Download in 720 / 1080

The space elevator’s base structure is the focal point around a Japanese mega city at the north pole. Download in 720 / 1080

Living unit overlooking the base structure of the space elevator. Download in 720 / 1080


We're also going to be making a special extended vertical addition of the poster. All backers $5 and above will have their names included.


Directors Notes - http://www.directorsnotes.com/2014/07/15/niles-heckman-auroras/

Tool Farm - http://www.toolfarm.com/blog/entry/inspirations_breakdown_aurora

Film Shortage - http://filmshortage.com/shorts/auroras/

Gorilla Film Magazine - http://gorillafilmmagazine.com/2014/07/10/auroras-has-taken-off/

i09 - http://io9.com/a-love-story-about-a-cyborg-leaving-her-wife-on-a-space-1602520750

CG Channel - http://www.cgchannel.com/2014/07/eye-candy-auroras/

It's Art Mag - http://www.itsartmag.com/features/auroras/

Stash Magazine - http://www.stashmedia.tv/?p=21498

It's Art Mag - http://www.itsartmag.com/features/auroras/

Twitch Film - http://twitchfilm.com/2014/01/crowdfund-this-scifi-short-auroras.html

Stash Magazine for teaser - http://www.stashmedia.tv/?p=18826

Stash Magazine for Kickstarter - http://www.stashmedia.tv/?p=18920

MITNG - http://mitng.org/2014/01/06/science-fiction-short-auroras-host-some-stunning-visuals-and-features-a-very-unique-storyline/

Gorilla Film Magazine - http://gorillafilmmagazine.com/2014/01/08/help-kickstart-niles-heckmans-sci-fi-romance-short-film-auroras/

Kicking it Forward - http://kickingitforward.org

E Wall Streeter - http://ewallstreeter.com/crowdfund-this-scifi-short-auroras-3097/#

Gemhorn - http://www.gemhorn.com/web/index.php/incg-shorts/item/454-auroras

Kicktraq - http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/nilesheckman/auroras/

Slice of Sci Fi - http://www.sliceofscifi.com/2014/01/15/auroras-a-stunning-independent-short-film-coming-soon/

Space Elevator blog - http://www.spaceelevatorblog.com/?p=1595

IndieWire - http://www.indiewire.com/article/project-of-the-day-auroras

Digital Visual Effects and Film Tribune - http://philipkochfilm.blogspot.com/2014/01/auroras-short-film-kickstarter.html

Rukkle - http://rukkle.com/gay-news/auroras-film-kickstarter/

Huffington Post - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/28/auroras-niles-heckman_n_4659961.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

The LGBT Update - http://www.thelgbtupdate.com/auroras-a-sci-fi-film-surrounding-same-gender-love-support/