Billed as a "low-fi sci-fi" film, The Sand Storm takes place in a metropolis scoured by a water shortage. The most recognizable member of the cast is arguably Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who plays a smuggler that finds himself tangentially ensnared in the tribulations of the local population. Dialogue is sparse in this bleak Kickstarter success, which never fully explains what is going on in the background
The movie saw its share of controversy earlier this year when Ai publicly denounced the creative team for co-opting his image and involvement as a promotional hook. He also claimed that copyrighted material were used without his consent and requested that the Kickstarter project be taken down. Director Jason Wishnow eventually issued an apology as well as a promise to de-emphasize Ai's role in the dystopian short. The nine-minute film debuted at the 41st Telluride Film Festival, which took place between 29th August and 1st September, 2014.