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Out of Sight, Out of Mind

by Christchurch On Air

A distraught father has to come to terms with the accidental drowning of his son.


Great movie. Nicely shot, beautiful score, good story. Really tugs at the heart strings! Would have liked to have seen this as a city finalist.

As a father of 2 young boys who take swimming lessons myself, this was tragic to see, as a dad turned his back on his boy in the water to take a business call with dire consequences. Tragedy from lack of water safety is just something that is so sad in NZ and this gave it a resonating local flavour. But whilst the film had a bleak setup, the focus was then on how our heartbroken father dealth with his grief and ultimately, redemption.

I thought the grief aspects were handled particularly well. It is something that can instill a vast array of emotions from anger to sadness and regret, and your lead showed good range in presenting this over a short period of time. The minor touch of having him on medications was all that was needed to show that he was trying to get help, to improve.

The music was also so good! A chillwave ambient sonic soundscape that created an eery tone of sadness particularly as the film drew to a close.

For me though, whilst well shot, performed and scored with a personal storyline, it did play out as a tad generic. I just feel that in terms of the dad's arc, self sacrifice worked, but meant we started and finished tragic. If there was some form of more positive redemption I can't help but shake the feeling that the film would have been even better for it. I would have had you on the Christchurch shortlist compared to some stuff that got through though myself, so thank you for making this film.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

With a plethora of dumb comedies (including really well made dumb comedies) in the 48, it is always great to see teams play it serious. COA have gone this route before and for mine, they are their stronger films.

Liked the very casual line that established the father was cheating, which cemented the reason he took the call outside. A little mixed on seeing the kid drowning in the background during this; while it was convincing, maybe leaving it unseen until he returned inside would have had greater impact. Also, what kind of public pool has no one on duty?!

As mentioned above, the grief was handled really well. A cool little sequence that was nicely acted and cleverly put together. I really liked that this film didn't end well for our lead. And even though it was clearly fore-shadowed, when the self-sacrifice came, it's landing had impact.

Great work, COA.

It's clear CoA have a very specific type of film they like making, and as such their films always have a very strong narrative voice, which is a cool consistency to see across a filmography that even some of the more successful teams don't have.

That being said, I think I'm ready to see you guys take on a different style, as I'm a little over seeing morally despicable protagonists suffer some kind of trauma and then get redeemed by dying at the end.

There's a lot of passion and talent on this team, but I feel like I've seen you do this movie before.

I also don't know if it played well that the main guy's kid died by drowning, and then the climax is based around saving kids from getting run over - it feels like the poetry being aimed for here should be more connected to his kid's death, so his kid either should have been hit by a car or the kids he saved should have been playing in a pool.

Things you got right: A very consistent team who clearly enjoy what they're doing

Things to work on for next time: Maybe trying out a new style which isn't so grim. I'd love to see a comedy from you guys.

Unique and fresh story. Did enjoy it.
At the beginning I was wondering where the lifeguards were? lol perhaps they weren't doing their jobs?
The audio needing tending to, the shots were okay, I think your main character developed well, the original composition was a nice touch,
Overall - well done team!

Underwater shots always make me smile :) they're a lot of fun to shoot.

I echo what AJ has commented on already, this film had a great setup, would have loved to see an ending that felt more complete, more satisfying. The character may have redeemed his actions by saving a child, on paper that works, in practice it falls a little flat, would have been nice to see him redeem himself through learning to overcome his grief, or learning how to forgive himself for what happened, or something of that sort.

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