These three short films serve as prequels for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

There’s rarely any shortage of trailers, teasers, television spots, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and other videos promoting the impending release of a big-budget film these days, but a new trio of short films produced by 20th Century Fox and Vice offer up a distinctly different spin on the standard pre-release movie hype.

Collectively known as “Before the Dawn,” the three short films each tackle a different point in the 10 years between the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its sequel, the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. As the “Simian Flu” whittles the human population of the world down to a fraction of its former numbers, the characters in each film offer a different perspective on the effects of the outbreak and the looming presence of the hyper-intelligent apes.

The first film is directed by directed by Isaiah Seret and titled “Quarantine,” and it unfolds just one year after the outbreak. It follows a young couple and their daughter as they deal with the immediate ramifications of the virus and how it’s handled by the government.

The second film, titled “All Fall Down” and directed by Daniel Thron, occurs five years after the outbreak and follows a young girl who survives by bartering with items she steals from the homes of dead people.

The journey of a shotgun from one ill-fated owner to the next is chronicled over the years in the third film, titled “The Gun” and directed by “thirtytwo.” The final sequence in the film occurs ten years after the outbreak and just before the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

The series does a nice job of capturing the desperate circumstances faced by the human population in the aftermath of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, while also providing a nice showcase for lesser-known filmmakers’ work. Here’s hoping this is a marketing strategy we see more of down the road.

You can watch all three films below, and see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes when it hits theaters July 11.

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