Title: Chronos; time of sand

Genre: Experimental, Sci-fi, Art House

Tagline: When the hourglass runs out

Logline: After years of mega-droughts in California, a lone survivor runs out of water and must trek into an arid wasteland to find a long forgotten man-made oasis.


Set in a dystopian future ravaged by years of extreme drought, Chronos lives alone in an abandoned sand filled house. Like his ingenious Solarpunk ancestors, he is a master tinkerer and he spends his days creating small sculptures from the junk he finds in the now buried neighbourhood of his ancestral home. His quiet life is disrupted with the discovery that his water supply is running low, which forces him to embark on an epic journey to find the man-made oasis his father had built. He prepares for his journey into the barren dunes by repairing his old hand-woven jacket in the hopes it will protect him from the searing sun and unpredictable winds. He also brings along an old star navigation amulet handed down to him by his father. Before setting out of in the early morning light he tenderly kisses the music box he crafted as a memento to his mother. Leaving his pet iguana behind to fend for himself, he steps out into the warm early morning light.

His feet guide him through the familiar half buried debris left behind years ago by the mass migration of people headed north in search of more arable land. As the sun reaches its zenith, he takes a sip of water, careful to ration it for his long journey. He ambles through the dunes all day with the ever-present sun beating down on him. At sunset he finally rests. A memory is trigged as he runs sand through his fingers: one day he interrupted his father who was concentrating on his design for a water gathering apparatus and asked him what the shiny amulet was for. Bolstered by this memory, Chronos aims the device at the dazzling night sky and the stars tell him what direction to take.

The next morning, he is woken up by heavy gusts of wind. Disoriented and parched, he greedily consumes his water and gets up and resumes his trek. Later on, he stops in his tracks when he senses the ferocious winds of a sandstorm. He closes the flaps of his goggles, quickly ducks behind a dune to ride out the storm. Clouds of dust are blocking out the sun as sand begins to envelope him. In this dark cocoon, he relives the trauma of past storms, which took the life of his loved ones. Once the storm abates, he sets off again but he is disheartened when he realizes he no longer has water. Tired and defeated he ambles through the vast barren landscape unable to regain his bearings until one day he spots something on the horizon through his telescope. As he climbs the dunes, he finally reaches the door of the fog tower and is met with the dazzling light of drops of water suspended in the interiors’ mesh. Half buried in sand but still intact, the structure holds a wide variety of edible desert plants. He first quenches his thirst in the central water trough and then proceeds to water and harvest the plants that he needs for his survival: nutritious Prickly Pear fruits, hydrating Aloe verra and the textile fiber rich Yucca plant.

Rested and fed, he makes his way back down to his home. There he pours himself a nourishing drink, happy to see his old friend again and to have survived the expedition. He raises his glass towards the iguana, toasting his good luck. As he flips the hourglass, a new cycle begins.

Nicole Dextras
Writer, Director, Production Design and Costume Designer
Vivian Davidson
Producer, Gaia Productions
Lead actor
Nika Benstianova
Actor: Young Chronos
Lori Elagos
Actor: Mother
Nima Rabbani
Actor: Father
Editing and VFX
David Scott Titus
Music Composition
Eimear MacCarrick
Naim Sutherland
Director of Photography, First Unit
Bruna Xavier
First AD, First Unit
Madeline Baye
Makeup Artist, First Unit
John Fleming
Director of Photography, Second Unit
Rueben Tschetter
First AD, Second Unit
Hailey Loeppky
Makeup Artist, Second Unit
Film Genre
Experiemntal, Sci-fi, Art House
Vancouver, BC and Great Sand Hills, Saskatchewan, Canada
Run Time
17 minutes 22 seconds
Completion Date
August 6, 2023

Absurd Film Festival, Milan, Italy           * award

RED MOVIE AWARDS, Nimes France  *nomination: best Director

Leo Awards, Vancouver Canada              *nomination: best Costume and best Production Design


Director Statement

My films are hybrids of several genres: experimental, sci-fi and art house. They are nearly silent with an emphasis on visual storytelling and music composition. Unlike regular dramas they depict reoccurring cycles of survival and so can be played as a loop. The question of endurance is left deliberately open ended, depicting it as a process rather than an outcome.

Chronos, time of sand is the second instalment in a trilogy of short films called A Dressing the Future, which focus on our capacity for resilience and ingenuity in the face of today’s environmental challenges. For instance, it aspires to combat climate anxiety by depicting the skills and DIY technologies that are available today, from creating textiles from plants to the dew collecting tower that captures moisture from the clouds.

My background in photography, theatre design and as an experimental textile artist have led me to filmmaking late in life. As an artist my process is to visualize a story before writing it down. I often develop the main character’s traits during the laborious method of creating the handmade costume. It is truly a labour of love.


Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.
George Bernard Shaw


Whether it’s Mad Max or the Book of Eli, Hollywood has told us that once humanity destroys the earth, our sense of style will go with it. We’ll be destined to dusty clothing that only comes in tan and brown with hard metal accessories. But Nicole Dextras is an environmental artist who thankfully has a colourful vision for post-apocalyptic couture and her inspiration comes directly from the idea of plant-based fashion. Take a look.

Amanda Paris for the Exhibitionist on CBC Arts


Watch the trailer


Watch film on Vimeo:, password: Chronos

Production Photos

Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial