It's rare to watch a short film that manages to do serious worldbuilding and smart character development in roughly 10 minutes. And that's why you should clear the next fifteen minutes to watch Noon. You'll need those extra minutes to digest what you just watched. The initial premise is a little implausible (like most SF backstories): mining in the Arctic has set off quakes and volcanoes that halt the rotation of the Earth, resulting in a broiling-hot city called Noon at the North Pole, where the sun is always high in the sky. But the world that writer/director Kasra Farahani develops around that premise is gritty and realistic and full of tension.

Farahani, who has worked in the art departments of movies from JJ Abrams, Steven Spielberg, Michael Mann, Tim Burton, James Cameron, and David Fincher, knows how to show us a lot with just a few, beautifully-rendered images. It's 200 years after the Earth became tidally locked, and Noon is one of the wealthiest cities on the planet. Our main character is a coyote who helps illegals cross the border into a better (or not-so-much better) life in the sun-drenched city. This short film is one, self-contained scene from a planned feature film, and it captures what it's like to cross the border in a future where Earth has become basically another planet. The best part is watching the coyote's character change before your eyes — he is not at all what he seems.

After you watch this short, you'll be dying to know what happens next. Farahani told io9 that he's just starting to work on getting the feature made — he's got a script, and based on the short, he's gotten good representation and is taking studio meetings right now. So here's hoping we'll see the full movie soon!

In email, Farahani wrote:

The story is very much inspired by observations on how modern human beings interact with the world and resources we have. NOON is an imagined extrapolation of our current dysfunctional behavior, specifically our insatiable appetite for fossil fuels, rampant abuse of increasingly limited fresh water, and general short-sightedness with regard to governmental and commercial policy.

NOON is the story of a future planet Earth, sort of literally turned upside down with greed.

Find out more on the official NOON site.