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‘Beyond’ is YouTube creator Joe Penna’s latest emotionally complex short film

'Beyond' will leave you with something to think about.


Rae Votta


Posted on Feb 6, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 2:38 pm CDT

Joe Penna explores the boundaries of space and time in his latest film, Beyond, released this week on his MysteryGuitarMan YouTube channel.

While many other YouTube celebrities are taking advantage of more traditional movie-release methods—from Shane Dawson‘s Not Cool to Cameron DallasExpelledPenna is sticking to YouTube, at least for now. His first short film on the site, Instant Getaway, garnered rave reviews, but Beyond is an even deeper and more complex take on similar themes.

Like with Instant Getaway, Beyond deals with travel through time and space, although this newest short film focuses on a man who inadvertently receives a form of immortality as he tries to reverse its effects.

Without spoiling too much, the film takes several surprising turns in the latter half, culminating in a meditation on destiny.

As Penna told the Daily Dot on the set of the film last year, immortality and the mythology of that trope were fascinating to him.

“People see vampires as these sexy beings, but if you think about what a vampire’s life would be like, everyone would be dying around them,” he explained. “They can’t sustain meaningful relationships and would probably become very anti-people for long periods of time. You could ask them, ‘What did you do for the last 10 years?’ and they could say, ‘Stayed in bed.’ At least that’s how I feel. I wanted to get a little more ground and explore those ideas of time travel and immortality.”

Beyond, which runs for 41 minutes, received over 250,000 views in the first day alone and got a premiere at YouTube Space L.A. It’s clear that Penna’s rabid fan base is embracing the film. While they normally know Penna for his artistic videos as MysteryGuitarMan, he has increasingly been making the transition to genre-defining director for the YouTube set. While he’s said he’s in no hurry to move from YouTube to the big screen, it’s definitely within his sights.

Screengrab via MysteryGuitarMan / YouTube

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*First Published: Feb 6, 2015, 5:14 pm CST