When that weird trailer premiered last week that looked like either a really cool futuristic sci-fi movie or a strange, oblique advertisement for touchscreens, we all wondered what exactly A24 was announcing. The long-awaited return of a director? The debut of someone new? A collaboration? An intern’s mistake? Now, after some sly detective work, we know what it is: the trailer was for a short film called Toru that’ll be premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

We have to tip our hats to The Film Stage for figuring this one out — one of their readers recognized a still from Sundance’s Flickr page of that baby in the trailer, which led them to discover the title and match it to its synopsis from Wicked Local

With a science fiction undercurrent, Toru centers on the story of a baby boy, named Toru, born with a fatal lung condition. As he only has a few days to live Toru’s parents sign him up for a trial experiment that would simulate a full life in a matter of days.

The film follows Toru’s dream-like life simulation as a boy named Todd growing up in a New England suburb, and concludes in futuristic Japan.

The short is directed by Jonathan Minard and Scott Rashap, shot by Matt Mitchell with a score by Krisha composer and former Dirty Projectors member Brian McComber. It’s 14 minutes long, in Japanese with English subtitles, and started out as an idea from Rashap when he was at NYU. It features the acting talents of Ai Kiyono, Yasu Suzuki, Tatsuo Ichikawa, Tsukasa Kondo, John Mullen, and Tamara Hickey and premieres during Sundance’s Shorts Program on January 19.

Rashap and Minard started production on the film last year, and presently A24 got word of it and developed this mysterious ad campaign. With A24’s latest offerings some of the best films of last year (Swiss Army Man, The Lobster, Moonlight), plus the oddity of a short film being picked up by a studio like this, not to mention getting its own viral ad campaign, we’re very excited to see this short for ourselves.

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