With James Cameron’s Avatar doing well at the box office, it makes sense that his career would be put under the spotlight, but even as a fan I had never heard of this. Xenogenesis (which means the birth of an alien species) gives us a window into the young director’s vision of killer robots (one of which looks a lot like an HK-Tank from Terminator). The robot on robot fight scene feels like the precursor to the Ripley vs Queen battle from Aliens. All in all, it’s a pretty cool little short (12 minutes) that ends rather abruptly:
Cameron had quit his job as a trucker after seeing Star Wars, and inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey had written a script with a couple of friends. It’s a short proof of concept piece that cost $20,000, all of which was donated by a group of dentists looking for a tax write-off. Cameron did all the camera work and special effects himself. The financiers didn’t like what they saw, which led to him working for Roger Corman’s effects team, and eventually his directorial debut. It kind of makes you wonder what would have happened had Cameron been able to make it into a feature-length film at that time!