Hashtag Sci-Fi Short Film Poster with Gigi Edgley and Erryn Arkin
Film title in English
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Ben Alpi
Ben Alpi
“Best Short Film” at Gen Con Film Fest
"Best Sci-Fi Short" at FilmQuest
"Best International Sci-Fi" at New Renaissance Film Fest
"Best Social Media Story" at Sydney Indie Fest
“Honorable Mention” at Dragon Con Film Festival
Short synopsis
In a looming future where social media celebrities dominate our culture, X is the world’s supreme online icon— but how far must she go to hold on to her popularity?

X lives the dream— she's connected, adored, and instantly validated by her hundreds of millions of followers. The ultimate influencer, celebrities like her are all we watch, all we listen to, all we care about.

From her high tech studio apartment, X manages a virtual empire with the help of TE’A, an omnipresent artificial intelligence. Every moment of her day is a product bought and sold. With the swipe of her hand, the warmth of her smile, or the turn of her hip, she drives markets, builds brands, and changes minds. She embodies the complete merger of culture and commerce.

Yet one thoughtless remark can reveal how fragile her tower of public adoration really is. As X struggles to sustain her popularity, a corrupting virus invades her regulated existence and forces her to question her reality. When her perfect life is threatened, how can X know what's true, what's fake, and whether or not everything she's built will collapse?
Jyotika Virmani
Production Company
Runic Films
Production date
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Short biography of the director(s)
An award-winning director and writer based in Los Angeles, Ben is currently on the festival circuit with his latest short film, 'Hashtag'. The science fiction thriller won the top shorts prize “Best Short Film” at Gen Con Film Fest, "Best Sci-Fi Short" at FilmQuest, "Best International Sci-Fi" at New Renaissance Film Fest, "Best Social Media Story" at Sydney Indie Fest, an “Honorable Mention” at Dragon Con Film Festival, and has been nominated for another 14 awards. 'Hashtag' is screening on 4 continents at some of the most prestigious and up-and-coming festivals including HollyShorts, LA Shorts, Comic-Con International, Sci-Fi-London, and Blue Planet Science Fiction Film Festival in Nanjing, China. The film stars Gigi Edgley (Farscape, Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge) as “X”, the world’s top social media celebrity, Juliet Landau (Bosch, Ed Wood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as the voice of A.I. assistant “Te'a” and Erryn Arkin (CSI, Home and Away) as the mysterious stranger.

Ben's previous short film, the "mini epic" Kung Fu-Western Cowboy Creed, was nominated for two awards for Best Western Short and Best Supporting Actor, for Anthony DeLongis, at the Action on Film Festival. His first short film, the heartfelt drama Silver Lining, was signed into broadcast on PBS and into distribution.

Ben began his career as a graphic designer and visual effects artist and enjoys the creative challenges and mixing of disciplines provided and required by modern filmmaking.
Artistic and Technical Cast
Gigi Edgley as "X"
Erryn Arkin as "Dark Stranger/Gil"
Juliet Landau as the voice of "Te'a"

Music by
Joseph Terrana

Production Design
Meg Savage

Edited by
Jeff Handy

Director of Photography
David Berry

Visual Effects Supervisor
Deke Kincaid

Key Makeup and Hair
Lisa Hansell

Sound Designer
Ralph M. Miller
Comments from the film Director
Director Statement

Years ago, in a small town in frozen upstate NY, a little boy began asking a lot of questions about how to become a film director. Growing up on a steady drip of genre books, TV, movies, and video games, I would dream of fantastic lands, intergalactic space travel, and being a superhero. Then I began to realize there was a purpose behind these stories. We all want to understand the world around us better and these storytellers were using art to inform and explore while they entertained. And I wanted to continue this tradition.

My latest short film 'Hashtag' was originally inspired by a TED Talk by Carl Honoré about the Slow Movement. However, when my co-writer and I saw the increasing impact social media was having on our society, we decided to focus on that specifically. Fame is now often cited as a life goal, seen as an easy pathway to wealth and success. I also changed the lead character to female because women especially are pressured by businesses to use appearance and sexuality to sell their products. I wanted to explore all the purported positives of celebrity and contrast that with the toxicity that bubbles just underneath.