Youtube musician-turned-director Joe Penna took the Cannes Film Festival by storm back in 2018 with his feature-length debut, “Arctic.” In that film, Mads Mikkelsen plays a pilot stranded in the arctic circle who embarks on a perilous rescue mission after a helicopter crash leaves an injured woman in his care. It’s a white-knuckle film despite its modest budget and barebones cast. And despite the expansive polar landscape, it’s also tense and claustrophobic and taps into the primal themes of survival at the brink of death.  

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Penna looks up to something similar in his next film, “Stowaway.” Instead of the far north’s barren chill, this time, Penna plunges his small cast into another vast and desolate landscape: outer space. The film follows a small crew on a mission to Mars who discover a stowaway onboard their shuttle shortly after take-off and must reckon with the situation’s life-threatening consequences. Here’s the official synopsis:

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On a mission headed to Mars, an unintended stowaway accidentally causes severe damage to the spaceship’s life support systems. Facing dwindling resources and a potentially fatal outcome, the crew is forced to make an impossible decision.

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“Stowaway” stars a small cast stuck in a cramped, isolated setting.  Anna Kendrick, Toni Collette, and Daniel Dae Kim play the astronauts team, while Shamier Anderson is the spaceship’s accidental human cargo.  

The film marks the fourth time Penna has worked with co-writer and editor Ryan Morrison. The two worked together previously on “Arctic” and have shot four short films together since 2012. Last year, they collaborated on a pandemic-themed limited series for the streaming channel Topic, entitled “Release.”  

While Penna shot “Stowaway” in Germany back in Summer 2019, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic frustrated its initial release plans.  Netflix picked up the film’s distribution right last December.

Will Penna’s follow-up to his 2018 debut bring the filmmaker even more success? Find out on April 22, when “Stowaway” premieres exclusively on Netflix.