Torturing your characters

Filmmakers often have to put their characters into extreme circumstances to get the best out of them. That’s the case with the central characters from these two gripping short films and a revelatory music video making-of. Short films don’t have a lot of time to get across a character’s motivations – music videos even less so – and it’s a filmmaker’s challenge to tell an engrossing story and introduce us to a compelling character or spellbinding world within that tight timeframe. Each of these shorts aren’t in short supply of either.



One of the most riveting and inventive sci-fi shorts you’ll ever watch – just think of Tom Hardy in Locke but with a rookie mercenary in a spaceship off to his first combat mission (more exciting than pouring concrete that’s for sure!). Kiwi writer/director Ferand Peek wanted to tell an epic sci-fi story and came up with a unique solution to budget restrictions that pays off big time. You’re basically just watching a guy’s face in a pod but you’re glued to it for 13 minutes! Ferrand delivers realistic dialogue and rachets up the claustrophic tension as the battlefied drop approaches. The brilliant sound design adds another level too and it’s a seamless mix of CGI (from Park Road Post) and realistic props (made by Weta Workshops). Fans of Aliens and Starship Troopers will definitely be clamoring for more from Mr Peek.


The Grey Matter

Say Shaun of the Dead walks into The Office and you’ll have an idea of what you’re in for with The Grey Matter. As a huge fan of brain eaters, this was obviously one of my faves from last year’s Show Me Shorts programme – I love filmmakers who give it a fresh twist. Made by the McCoubrey brothers – Luke and Peter – who say their horror comedy was influenced by the grindhouse flicks of the 80s. Which you can see in the seedy cinematography (that’s Luke), and hear it in the tongue-in-cheek touches in the script (that’s Peter). Their knack for quirky story-telling is apparent with some brilliantly played out surreal scenes and the McCoubrey bros never go with the expected. Ebon Moss-Bachrach is wonderful as the working stiff – just watch his romancing of the office hottie. Incidentally, he’s just nabbed himself a recurring role on Girls too. Morbidly black and brilliant funny (not to mention gory) The Grey Matter will leave your body experiencing equal amounts of squirming and laughs.


The Sun Hates Me

While you were hypnotised by musician Daniel McBride (Aka Sheep, Dog & Wolf) running through the desert in his award winning music video Glare, you might have thought ‘only 3 shots? That must have been easy to make.’ Luckily for you we have a behind-the-scenes clip that tells a different story. It’s the music video equivalent to Hearts of Darkness (or how everything that could go wrong did go wrong on the making of Apocalypse Now). The Sun Hates Me follows Kiwi production company Candlelit Pictures in the scorching Australian outback, filming a ‘straightforward’ three shot sequence. I don’t think so. “Just to add to all the other problems it’s now raining in the desert,” cries director Jordan Dodson, standing in his undies while his ‘simple shoot’ unravels around him. On the smell of an oily rag his happy team slowly lose their minds as they battle weather, math and poor scaffolding in 40+ degree heat. Reminiscent of Terry Gilliam’s Lost in La Mancha, The Sun Hates Me is an inspiring glimpse into the artistic struggle. Mainly in their underwear.