Sunday Shorts: mum

Written by Callan Manners (director)

We shot mum in 2013 during my last year at Tafe in Northbridge.

The way it used to work there was the students in the selection pool for the final year would write scripts. Then they would be judged by the staff and the best ones would be given to the people who made it to the final year to produce. i was actually gunning for another script but was handed this one. The original read quite differently to the one we shot. I tore it apart many times trying to find an emotional backbone I could cling to and after many revisions, I did.


What I found was a classic story that almost everybody lives through. Often our parents put these preconceived notions in our heads about people that we cant properly understand. It may not be done maliciously but it worms its way in there and a person who is completely harmless becomes this almost villain. So my aim was for the kids who have been told terrible stories about their grandmother to be thrown in with the her and find out for themselves what the truth is. Yes she’s eccentric but she means well.


The grandmother is extremely excited by science, space and aliens so when she receives the captive audience that is her grandchildren she almost goes on this word vomit rant. It doesn’t matter whether the things she’s talking about are real, the important thing is the sense of wonder that the kids pick up over their time spent with her. This allows their preconceptions to melt away and in a way for their minds to open to think for themselves and then potentially start asking greater questions about the universe we live in.


We all had a great time shooting this short and it was a fantastic learning experience. The house we shot in was completely bare when we got it and was great fun to see grow into a home. The scene in the back yard around the lantern was particularly great to see come to life. Some of the people I worked with on this short I have since worked with in the professional film industry and hope to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.


I love science and I love science fiction, I think the wonder it evokes in myself and many other people is one of the most important feelings that can be experienced. So I hope with this short film people get a small experience of that through a child’s eyes. In the future I hope to create science fiction films to create that feeling in as many people as I can.


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