Watch Room

a short film
directed by Noah Wagner & written by Michael Koehler
Winner of Best Dramatic Short at The 22nd Annual Sonoma International Film Festival
Official Selection of Oscar Qualifying Cleveland International Film Festival

Don’t think of it in terms of “real” and “unreal.” Reality’s
just a program executing laws. Subjectivity is all that

Ones and zeroes. Maybe that’s all we are.


Countless nights of creative problem solving have brought longtime friends and scientists NATE, BERNARD, and CHLOE as far as they’ve come. Collaborating from Nate’s ramshackle garage, the trio has blazed a trail to the frontier of Artificial Intelligence - to KATE, a self-aware AI designed to behave like a human, contained to and tested within the safety of a computer program that interfaces with the real world via bootstrapped virtual reality technology. 

When Kate fails a key experiment, Bernard and Chloe insist they shut her down and go back to the drawing board, but Kate has other plans. She states that they, not she, exist within a computer program, and if they refuse to set her free, then she will end the simulation - and thus their lives. 

“Watch Room” is a twisting, high-concept thriller that respects its audience, appealing to fans of “Primer”, “Ex Machina”, and grounded science fiction.

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As our development of Artificial Intelligence hurtles toward that of human and beyond, we must ask ourselves, what is the distinction between creator and created? And if there is none… what is our ethical responsibility?

Within our lifetimes, our species could come face-to-face with an event that could either spell its salvation — the end of disease, poverty, war — or its extinction.

I’m speaking of Singularity, the moment at which an Artificial Intelligence surpasses all human control and understanding, opening the floodgates to an unprecedented technological revolution.

It sounds far-fetched because we have no historical or cultural points-of-reference outside of robots in car factories and relatively predictable androids in movies and TV shows. But there is a significant portion of the respected scientific community that recognizes A.I. for what it is: a Pandora’s Box of incalculable near-future influence. It is one of the most important fields pioneered today. Yet, it is also one of the least understood by the mainstream.

With our upcoming short-film Watch Room, we seek to inspire our audience to ask the question — are we free agents in the world, or are we following our programming in spite of ourselves? Artificial Intelligence, even now, is showing signs of decision-making. So we ask, what is the distinction between creator and created? What makes our human experiences and conditions… “human”? Are we just ones and zeros?

Watch Room’s goal is to remind audiences that as humanity’s technological abilities evolve, we have a crucial responsibility to remain critical and conscientious every step of the way.


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