Rob Shaw’s dark animated short The Machine was voted Best Film at last week’s Robot Film Festival in New York City.  The movie starts on what looks like a standard boy-makes-machine, machine-runs-amok, boy-kills-machine trajectory, but veers nicely off-course and ends on a note much more Sartre than Terminator. (Battlestar Galactica fans will see the twist coming from a mile away).

The Machine seems like a good fit for the new festival, which founder and Carnegie Mellon roboticist Heather Knight hopes will fuel innovation and help improve robots’ image in a post-Cylon world. For more backstory, check out editor and RFF judge Celeste Biever’s fascinating wrap-up at the New Scientist.

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Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly.

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