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Watch Future Mars Settlers Ride a Space Elevator in This 'Aniara' Sci-Fi Film Clip

Passengers journey off Earth en route to Mars in an exclusive clip from "Aniara," a Magnolia Pictures film that premieres in the U.S. May 17. The space station Aniara is just a waypoint on their path to Mars, but the rest of their trip proves less straightforward.

In the clip, much like during a typical airplane ride, the colonists sit patiently in a vessel and look out the window — but in this science fiction universe, they are carried above Earth via space elevator. One child cries, and as a distraction, the mother says, "Want to say bye-bye to Earth?" The vessel docks with the space station Aniara, and an automated voice welcomes the group, saying it wishes them "a happy new life on Mars."

The story follows one of several spaceships that are helping Earth's population flee from the planet, for reasons that the production notes have not disclosed. One of the ships encounters an issue along the way. It will be up to a sentient computer and the protagonist, MR (played by Emelie Jonsson), to help the passengers cope with mental health issues through the perilous voyage.

The film, written and directed by Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja, premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. The movie is based on a science fiction poem written by Harry Martinson, a Swedish Nobel laureate, in 1956.

"We both felt the necessity" to make the film, the filmmakers said in a joint interview provided to media. "The apocalypse has already started, hasn't it? There's a risk that 'Aniara' might become our future, and the questions the film deals with are extremely relevant today."

You can watch the official trailer for "Aniara" below, as well as check out alternate posters for the film in the gallery above. The movie debuts in select theaters May 17. You can find tickets for "Aniara" near you here

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.