Visit a world-class facility like Industrial Light & Magic, and alongside legions of brilliant artists you’ll find racks upon racks of servers, all devoted to one task: making the impossible come to life. But as computers have become cheaper and more powerful, technological bottlenecks have opened up, allowing ambitious young filmmakers to stand out by creating low-budget shorts with big-budget effects. It’s a trend that’s brought us names like Neill Blomkamp, whose Alive in Joburg became District 9, and Fede Alvarez, who parlayed his robot-invasion short Panic Attack! into a gig directing the recent Evil Dead remake.

Another filmmaker to recently walk down that path is 28-year-old Dan Gaud. His latest short, Tonight I Strike, is a sci-fi revenge drama with a heavy dose of robots and visual effects. Edited and created almost entirely on a 15-inch HP laptop, it’s a shining example of what’s possible when you pair today’s tools with creativity and imagination — and the extraordinary patience required to make it all come together.