November 21, 2013

From the Emptiness of Space to the Arctic Wastes, Watch 'Gravity' Companion Short 'Aningaaq'

AningaaqFor a film to be at its best, right from the earliest stages of script development you have to be willing to cull those ideas which either don't advance the narrative or break the dramatic tension you've worked so hard to build over the proceeding pages. Sometimes this can mean jettisoning a scene which perfectly encompasses the themes of your larger narrative as was the case in the early stages of Alfonso & Jonás Cuarón's work on the epic space survival feature Gravity. Fortunately for us, Jonás Cuarón was able to convince Warner Home Video to fund a short called Aningaaq which gave life to the Earth side of Sandra Bullock's desperate, lost in translation SOS radio contact and has now made its way online.

With his existence out in one of the most inhospitable, desolate places on the planet and only his dogs, wife and young child for company, the Inuit fisherman Aningaaq, played by Orto Ignatiussen, is a kindred spirit to Bullock's Ryan Stone; connected by fragile radio waves and similarly weighed down by the (impending) death of a loved one. According to a post by HitFix, in order to capture the story, Jonás Cuarón and his 10 person crew had to subject themselves to some of the same hardships as the fictional fisherman, with the majority of their reportedly $100,000 budget going towards travel costs:

"One of the ideas I had was to get everything there [in Greenland]. So it took me two weeks to go look for the wardrobe, the tent, the sled, the dogs, and to even do some research. So I was traveling with this sled for like two weeks through the region in Greenland, and during that trip, I noticed a very beautiful relationship that the Inuits have with the dogs."

It seems that the recent inclusion of Aningaaq as a contender for Oscar consideration in the Best Live Action Short Film category was the prompting Warner's needed to give the film a life outside of its small festival run and the coming Gravity Blu-ray extras. It also has the record-breaking potential of being the first time in Oscar history that a feature and its companion short are nominated for the award in the same year.

So what do you think? Does Aningaaq add to Gravity's gripping narrative in a substantial way? Does the film work as a short in its own right? And if you were given the choice to see both films for the first time in a theatre, what order do you think they should be played in?

Link: Alfonso and Jonás Cuarón talk 'Gravity' short film companion piece 'Aningaaq' -- HitFix

Your Comment

27 Comments

This short film is better if you pretend the planet he's on is Hoth.

November 21, 2013 at 9:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Thom

That is genius, thank you.

November 21, 2013 at 10:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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marklondon

hahahahahaha genius!

November 22, 2013 at 12:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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:))))

November 22, 2013 at 2:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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konstantinos

Where is the video clip? As a matter of fact where is this post? I see it on this ipad but not on my computer?

November 21, 2013 at 10:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Bruce

$100,000 are you kidding me? And they delivered this??? And had a crew of x10!!!! This could have been made with x3 people including the director. I could have made two feature films for that amount and delivered 1000% more!

November 21, 2013 at 11:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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shaun wilson

Yeah, I can't say that I'm pressed either. And if this gets in the Oscars, then all it'll be proving is that BJs can get you far in Hollywood.

November 21, 2013 at 11:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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It can easily be $100K. Just the travel costs for cast and crew are around the $50K to Greenland. Plus the pre-production, gear rentals, talent fee, crew fee, rehearsals, food, lodging, production days, and all that entails post-production.
In the end, it's a great companion piece for a movie that already made $500 million for the studio.
For perspective, most crap national tv ads you see are way over $100K and most catering for mainstream movies is way over $100K.

November 22, 2013 at 12:32AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Adolfo

Um yeah. A crap national spot will run you 5 times that number just in post!

November 22, 2013 at 1:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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marklondon

I'm surprised it only cost $100k. I guess Cuaron did it for free? He'd usually be 25k per day I'd imagine. They said they did 2 weeks of props and costume, plus location scout, safety, transportation. Clearly used a geared head with an Alexa, so there's those rentals, plus insurance.

November 22, 2013 at 3:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Paul Watt

a make artist, sound recordist, driver, and director shooting on an Red. The only people who come on the shoot are those who can fit in one vehicle. All on deferred payment contract, shoot it in two days, director does the editing, grading and vfx. Done. Learn from Gareth Edwards...

November 22, 2013 at 9:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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shaun wilson

well, try to estimate how much it would cost to:
- rent equipment
- ship it there
- travelling arrangements
- power supply
- keeping lenses from freezing
- insurance
- crew paychecks
you'd get roughly to this number
if it includes sfx and editing - it's very reasonable actually

November 22, 2013 at 2:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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normalornot

$100k sounds pretty reasonable.

This isn't a free short, so I don't get why people chose to compare it to one.

December 3, 2013 at 4:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Daniel Mimura

Cool promo/tie in, but I'm concerned that studios will try to use the shorts section of the Oscars as a "back door" way to buy their way into the Oscars and beat out real short films.

November 22, 2013 at 12:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Neil

Neil I couldn't agree more.

November 22, 2013 at 3:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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shaun wilson

I think this short adds great to the actual feature film, but I think it's more a well made dvd-bonus feature than an actual oscar candidate.

November 22, 2013 at 5:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Lukas

Not too impressed with the 100k mark either, but then again everyone is being paid industry standard rates plus travel time, lodging, equipment, transport, etc, etc.

November 22, 2013 at 5:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Worst short I have ever seen ... what a load of crap.

November 22, 2013 at 12:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Juan Jimenez

Ok, three things:
1) 100k for this is fine. That is VERY low for a professionally shot and posted short shot in Greenland in two languages. That its part of a half billion dollar project doesn't hurt either.
2) Entering it for an Oscar is an obscenity. Alphonso, you're a nice guy, and I'm sure your son is great but this makes the fluffing Ridley gives his kids look like child's play. You're going to pick up quite a few statues for this film, and you may yet share the writing Oscar with your son. Whichever studio bod thought entering this in the Shorts category this was a good idea needs to have their parking spot moved further out from the elevator.
3) I didn't make it past 2 minutes in. It's dull and kind of superflous unless you're a GRAVITY superfan. Do those exist? I mean, cool movie, but....

November 22, 2013 at 2:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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marklondon

I saw this same short film made by a student a few years ago... Its pretty similar.
https://vimeo.com/32293300

November 22, 2013 at 2:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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R

Well, arguments about budget aside, I thought this was great. Also great that they didn't include it in the feature, as it would have really broken the pacing and tension up there. It's obvious you get more appreciation from the short if you've seen the feature, and watching it afterwards gives you a real appreciation for the other story that's playing out simultaneously above him.

November 23, 2013 at 11:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Didn't like this one, and didn't like Gravity neither.

November 23, 2013 at 12:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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maghoxfr

It doesn't matter if he really spent $100,000 to shoot this piece of shit in the real Greenland, he made everything else look fake and dull, even the Inuit guy.

November 24, 2013 at 5:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Max

This work makes me confirm my thought: everything is about connections. Title designer: Gonzalo García Barcha, I suppose another Gabriel García Márquez's son (and the director, Alfonso Cuarón's son)

November 27, 2013 at 9:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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It's completely ruined by the two-way radio blunder (meaning; one can talk, or can listen, but not at the same time.)

November 30, 2013 at 4:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Liam

Damn. I knew the gun shot was coming and I still flinched.

December 12, 2013 at 8:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Dave

Ok, yeah. Now it makes sense.

March 18, 2014 at 1:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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