The Global Search for Education: Comedy as Conversation: Mark Kiefer’s Climate Allegory in Time Bomb

C. M. Rubin
2 min readFeb 15, 2024

This month, audiences can screen Time Bomb on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by Planet Classroom.

Immerse yourself in the witty, yet gripping short film, Time Bomb, by Director Mark Kiefer. The film is a humorous and cautionary tale about tackling climate change. The gripping narrative delves into a group’s amusing yet urgent efforts to defuse a bomb amid climate change. We witness their quirky problem-solving and tense moments, mirroring humanity’s approach to environmental disasters.

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Mark Kiefer.

Mark, what inspired you to tell a story about climate change and people’s responses to it?

The story initially stemmed from the comedic potential of characters seemingly indifferent to their impending doom — juxtaposing urgency with indifference naturally brings humor. As it evolved, I realized it became an allegory for our current moment and the issue of climate change. The small idea and the larger concept merged into one, which I find compelling in storytelling.

How did you develop the quirky and relatable characters in the film? Any anecdotes from the process?

The characters reflect archetypal roles present in the real world — the disinterested middle manager, the cog in the machine, the tech-savvy but socially challenged young individual, and the impenetrable bureaucracy acting as an unseen character. Comedy arises from character conflict, so I placed these characters in a high-pressure situation to observe the outcome.

Can you discuss the symbolism behind the bomb and its context?

The bomb symbolizes our tendency to avoid difficult conversations or challenges, hoping they’ll disappear, ultimately exacerbating the issue. It represents what we consistently avoid dealing with and our denial of the necessity to address it. This pattern exists both on a personal level and in broader societal contexts, notably exemplified by climate change.

How challenging was it to balance comedy while delivering a message? What feedback have you received from audiences?

Comedy serves as a safe middle ground between the unspoken and the essential. Good dialogue thrives on subtext, and comedic dialogue skillfully addresses significant issues indirectly. Balancing comedy with underlying messages was surprisingly well-received; audiences seem to grasp the film’s underlying themes.

Thanks, Mark!

C.M. Rubin with Mark Kiefer

Don’t miss Time Bomb, now streaming on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated by Planet Classroom.