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Short gets the shakes

Named earlier this week in the programme for this year’s Show Me Shorts, Jamie Lawrence’s coming-of-age Cub was shot in Wellington when an earthquake happened.

“We were shooting on a rugby field in Newtown when it hit,” said producer Kerry Kilgour. “We captured the beginning of it on film. You can hear the audible ‘Whoah!’ from everyone.

“We were shooting in a high rise the following day which definitely heightened everyone’s anxiety levels – but everyone showed up. Total pros!”

The film was shot over seven days and included over 70 extras and seven different locations. Supported under the NZFC’s Fresh Shorts scheme, the film is Lawrence and Kilgour’s second, following from 2010’s Darryn Exists.

Darryn Exists

After the humour and pathos of Darryn Exists Kilgour explained, “With Cub we wanted to make the viewer snuggle down in their seat and experience uncomfortable anxiety in a safe environment.”

Inspired by the writing of filmmakers like Charlie Kauffman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation, Being John Malkovich), the short tells the story of a mother trying to protect her teenage son from a much older woman and explores how our need for someone can exceed our love for them.

“I learned that all mothers feel the pain of no longer being needed, but few admit to it,” said Lawrence. “I can’t think of anything that’s more visceral and full of conflict, but also ferocious love, than the mother-child relationship.”

Cub was shot on a Red Epic camera fresh off The Hobbit, with (now deceased) DOP Andrew Lesnie offering input.

“He was a source of inspiration,” Lawrence said. “He had a very thoughtful perspective on how the story should be told visually, and that certainly influenced our approach.”

Cub screens in Show Me Shorts‘ all-NZ programme Aroha Aotearoa.

Image: DoP Steffen Welsch, Kieran Charnock as Shaun

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