2BR02B: To Be or Naught to Be

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2BR02B: To Be or Naught to Be
2BR02B To Be or Naught To Be poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMarco Checa Garcia
Screenplay byDerek Ryan
Based on2 B R 0 2 B
by Kurt Vonnegut
Produced by
  • Artin John
  • Derek Ryan
CinematographyChristopher Banting
Edited by
Music byLeon Coward
Release date
Running time
18 minutes
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • United Kingdom
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands

2BR02B: To Be or Naught to Be is a 2016 Canadian short science fiction film directed by Marco Checa Garcia and based on the 1962 short story "2 B R 0 2 B" by Kurt Vonnegut. The film was an international collaboration over nearly three years, with additional crew in Sydney, London, Mexico, and the Netherlands.[1] The film features a cameo voice role by veteran actor and The X-Files star William B. Davis. The film's sound was designed by BAFTA-winner Martin Cantwell.[2][3]


In 2204, the Earth has become a dystopian wasteland. To maintain strict population levels, no newborn is permitted to live unless another person's life is traded in, and a receipt issued. Edward K. Wehling, Jr. sits in Chicago's Lying-In Hospital waiting for the birth of his triplets, but he has no receipts to collect them.



An IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign was announced in a press release on 20 November 2013.[4] Shortly after, it was announced that actor Paul Giamatti was attached to the project as the character Dr. Hitz.[5] Actor Mackenzie Gray took the role of Dr. Hitz after Giamatti left due to scheduling conflicts.[6]

The film's visual design was prepared by artists working from Vancouver, Sydney, and the Netherlands.[7] Filming took place over three days at the Waterfall Building in Canada.[7] Visual effects were mostly done by Facet School of VFX, Mexico.[6] The film was edited in Vancouver, but its picture lock was undone and post-production was moved to Sydney for editing, additional visual effects and music.[7] Sound designer Martin Cantwell joined the project, working from London.[6]


The film's soundtrack makes extensive use of Schubert's Ave Maria in a version recorded especially for the film by Australian soprano and conductor Dr. Imogen Coward.[2]


The film premiered at the Sci-Fi-London festival on 29 April 2016,[8] and later in Los Angeles at the Oscar-qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival.[9] Shortly after, the film was selected for the Oscar-qualifying LA Shorts Fest.[10]


2BR02B: To Be or Naught to Be received positive reviews from critics, festival organizers and festival audiences. Daniel Abella, director of the New York Science Fiction Festival, called it one of the six must-see films of the festival[11] and Outer Place critic Chris Mahon described it as "well-executed and beautifully shot."[12] WILDsound Fest's official full-length review of the film by Kierston Drier described it as "one of those rare gems of short cinema that will set your philosophical mind in motion... There is a level of polish and richness that any lover of science fiction and literature will appreciate and admire."[13] Screenwriter and Motherboard contributor Michael L. Piel praised how the adaptation "unfolds like a finely-tuned play, revealing world and character details at a steady, controlled pace."[14] John Vaughan, director of The Golden Blasters (The National Irish Science Fiction Film Festival) described the film as "An unconventional short film... it captures the sense of unease that would come if you glimpsed this particular future."[15] Dumbbells & Dragons critic Rachel Bohlen rated the film as her third favourite from the HollyShorts Film Festival (Los Angeles), describing the film as a "terrifying view of our future" and that the adaptation "adheres almost completely to the short story, and I must warn you – there's no happy ending here. It's bleak but thought-provoking."[16] Lund International Film Festival's Jimmy Seiersen described the film as "suspenseful and thoughtful."[17]

Both the film's art direction and soundtrack have also received critical praise. CEO of WILDsound Fest, Matthew Toffolo and the festival's audience praised Leon Coward's interpretation of The Happy Garden of Life mural into a complex, story-rich work of art, concluding that "from a cinematic point of view... they did nail it."[18] In an essay/interview published in The Schubertian (Journal of the Schubert Institute UK), Anna Black described the soundtrack's use of Schubert's Ave Maria as "a lasting and haunting shred of beauty and humanity in a future where it has otherwise been abandoned."[2]

Festival selections, awards, and nominations[edit]

Year Festival City Nomination Result
2016 Sci-Fi-London (International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film) London, UK
2016 HollyShorts Film Festival Los Angeles, California USA
2016 LA Shorts Fest (Los Angeles International Short Film Festival) Los Angeles, California USA
2016 Miami Short Film Festival Miami, Florida USA Best Film Nominated
2016 Best Short Fest San Diego, California USA Best Film Nominated
2016 Sydney Indie Film Festival Sydney, Australia Best Sci-Fi Short Won
Best Short Screenplay (Derek Ryan) Nominated
2016 KaPow Intergalactic Film Festival Corona, California USA Best Sci-Fi Short Won
2016 Indie Fest USA International Garden Grove, California USA
2016 Silicon Valley International Film Festival California USA
2016 The Golden Blasters Science Fiction Short Film Awards (The National Irish Science Fiction Film Festival) Dublin, Ireland Best Film Nominated
2016 YES! Let's Make a Movie Film Festival Montreal, Canada
2016 The Montreal International Wreath Awards Film Festival Montreal, Canada Best Picture Nominated
Best Director (Marco Checa Garcia) Nominated
Best Actor (Tyler Johnston) Won
2016 Fantastic Planet (Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy Film Festival) Sydney, Australia Best Film Nominated
2017 New York Science Fiction Film Festival New York USA
2017 Vancouver Short Film Festival Vancouver, Canada
2017 WILDsound Fest Toronto, Canada Best Film Won
2017 Boston Science Fiction Film Festival Boston, Massachusetts USA
2017 The Philip K. Dick Film Festival New York USA
2017 Lund International Fantastic Film Festival Lund, Sweden
2017 Signes de Nuit Lisbon, Portugal
2017 Eerie Horror Film Festival Pennsylvania USA
2017 Buffalo Dreams Film Festival Buffalo USA
2017 Utopiales Nantes, France
2017 VonnegutFest Indianapolis USA
2017 Canada Shorts Film Festival Canada Best Picture Nominated
2017 Bucharest ShortCut Cinefest Bucharest, Romania
2018 Miami International Sci-Fi Film Festival Miami, Florida USA
2018 Dam Short Film Festival Boulder City, Nevada USA
2018 Love Your Shorts Film Festival Sanford, Florida USA
2018 Top Shorts Online Film Festival (February), Los Angeles, California USA Best Sci-Fi Won
Best Director (Marco Checa Garcia) Won
Best Actor (Tyler Johnston) Won
2018 Festigious International Film Festival Online Film Festival (February), Los Angeles, California USA Best Picture Won
Best Sci-Fi Won
Best Actor (Mackenzie Gray) Won
2018 The Monthly Film Festival Online Film Festival (February) Cinematographer of the Month (Chris Banting) Nominated
2018 Los Angeles Film Awards Los Angeles, California USA Best Sci-Fi Won

The film screened at VonnegutFest in November 2017 at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, Indianapolis.[19]

The film screened, accompanied by a talk "Vonnegut's 2BR02B on screen: the art and music of the 2016 adaptation (dir. Marco Checa Garcia)", at the joint NZMS (New Zealand Musicological Society) & MSA (Musicological Society of Australia) conference in Auckland, December 2017.[20]


  1. ^ "International recognition for young film-makers". The Weekly Times. Sydney, Australia. 17 August 2016. p. 10. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Black, Anna (2016). ""...for a father hear a child!" Schubert's Ave Maria and the film 2BR02B". The Schubertian. The Schubert Institute (UK). July (91): 16–19.
  3. ^ "British Academy Film Awards, 2007 Sound winners". Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  4. ^ John, Artin (20 November 2013). "Derek Ryan - Kurt Vonnegut's 2BR02B". EIN Presswire. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  5. ^ Ryan, Derek (22 November 2013). "Adapting a Literary Piece". Eat Sleep Write. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Masson, Sophie (19 October 2016). "2BR02B: the journey of a dystopian film–an interview with Leon Coward". Feathers of the Firebird (Interview).
  7. ^ a b c Coward, Leon; John, Artin (19 October 2016). Meet the Filmmakers! (Speech). Sydney Indie Film Festival. Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia.
  8. ^ "Sci-Fi London film festival 2016 programme". Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  9. ^ Curchod, James. "HollyShorts Film Festival 2016 Film Guide". Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  10. ^ "88th Academy Awards Short Films Qualifying Festival List" (PDF). Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  11. ^ Kis, Eva (13 January 2017). "6 films you must see at NYC's first-ever Science Fiction Film Festival". Metro. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  12. ^ Mahon, Chris (23 January 2017). "The Five Best Films From the New York Sci-Fi Film Festival". Outer Places. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  13. ^ Drier, Kierston (6 February 2017). "Film Review: 2BR02B: TO BE OR NAUGHT TO BE (2017)l". Metro. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  14. ^ Piel, Michael (28 January 2017). "The First NY Sci-Fi Film Festival Was No Match For Reality". Motherboard. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  15. ^ Vaughan, John (5 October 2016). "2BR02B: To Be or Naught To Be". The Golden Blasters (The National Irish Science Fiction Film Festival). Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  16. ^ Bohlen, Rachel (22 August 2016). "Best of the HollyShorts Film Festival". Dumbbells & Dragons. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  17. ^ Seiersen, Jimmy. "SCI-FI: 2BR02B: To Be or Naught To Be". Lund International Fantastic Film Festival. Archived from the original on 25 October 2017. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  18. ^ 2BRØ2B: TO BE OR NAUGHT TO BE - Audience Feedback from the Fan Fiction January 2017 Festival. Toronto, Canada: WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival. 1 February 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  19. ^ "Sneak Peek at our Four Vonnegut Films for VonnegutFest!". Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. 12 October 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  20. ^ "NZMS & MSA Joint Conference "Performing History" Programme" (PDF). Musicological Society of Australia. Retrieved 16 November 2017.

External links[edit]