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Zero Mum Game

by An Evening With

A desperate mother will stop at nothing to save her relationship with her daughter.


Was such a beautifully shot and graded film. The ending is spot on!
This sets a high bar for what a 48hour film should be!!!!

This film had it all! Looked amazing, really good story, plenty of laughs, good acting and a very satisfying ending. A definite favourite from the Christchurch heats for me :)

Awesome! Great pacing, beautifully shot and lovely story. Sure to see this in the finals! Loved it!

This was excellent. Really strong performances and a great overall look and tone. Still got a few heats to go but at this stage this is should find it self very comfortably in city finals.

Wow what a watch. A mum trying to connect with her daughter goes extra lengths to do so.

Simple story, the gags worked and settings weren't too complicated. The beginnings felt a little too forced but cinematography went down smoothly to transitioning into what was going to eventually happen.

A very well-rounded film with that classic 48hour comedy style that I dont think I'll ever grow tired of. Not really pushing any boundaries of what a 48-hour film could be, but successfully leaning into what makes the 48-hour fun with a less serious approach. performances were great as were the cinematography and editing.

Notes whilst watching the film "It looks quite nice", "the audio is good", "very funny" but in all seriousness this is the sort of 48 Hours film that creeps up on you and has you running through the criteria of what the competition is asking because you realise it's a really rock solid short film.

Cinematic and technically sound? Sure is; grade was really nice and the quality anamorphic lenses allowed you to expand the domestic setting into something feeling wider in scope and meaning. Simple story told well with a relatable theme? Most certainly, with a picket fence suburban family unit jostling over their little angel's affections.

I particularly enjoyed the ebbs and flows of the storytelling, moving from warm and a strong parenting bond to almost going off the deep end via uncanny valley in the quest to be the favourite parent. I'm a dad myself and several notes got the nod from me.

The performances were the biggest highlight for me, as the mum peeled back layer after layer in her driven quest to not 'lose' her daughter to the dad joke natural of the house, whilst the neighbour with (literally) certified jokes to match the man of the house's ceral killer efforts played his deadpan over the fence character to perfection.

Really liked the edit as well and felt that you introduced the boys in blue questioning at just the right moment to elevate the film, in what was a really well measured development of the well rounded plot like I alluded to earlier.

I'm not going to spoil the ending as I expect to see this in at least the Christchurch finals, but similar to my own film this year I think it could be interpreted at least a couple of ways. Was the person who missed out on the joke actually there? I'm leaning towards no, which makes this incredibly darkly comic and close to a masterpiece. Still pondering....great film though.

A very standard, unambitious 48 hour project; the sort of thing you see a lot of.

What elevates the film is a powerhouse lead performance, stellar direction all around, and a breakneck pace.
This film does a very simple thing, very very well.

Technically competent enough to take the Christchurch win this year, with some absolutely stand out colour grading.
On a more controversial note, the cinematography didn’t do a lot for me personally. Competence wins out over creativity here, and we’re left with the visual flare of a cleanly shot delisio ad.

There are also a number of script problems here, primary of which being the protagonist’s journey; it’s never fulfilled. While the film opens with the Mum feeling unappreciated because she has trouble making jokes, she never gets the chance to put this right. Instead the film ends with her outside the house, not even interacting with her family again.
Further, it might have felt more fulfilling had the message been more along the lines of “learn to feel comfortable with your strengths” as opposed to “go change yourself so people like you more.”

Further, the film is haunted by the spectre of the “women in comedy” issue. Here, Mum is unable to grasp the joke-making process without the help of an outsider; a man.
The message seems to be “women aren’t funny unless they get help from dudes.”
It felt like a really odd note to end on in what I was hoping would be a deeper analysis of motherhood and familial affection.

Overall, I could watch a 15 minute director’s cut.

Interesting comments about this one being a stock-standard 48hour film. It has that quirky, silly, situational feel to it sure but I don't think the film-makers set out to achieve anything more than making a very well made, directed and acted film about an irrational want, and it all speaks more to a growing trend to reach out to gurus for help we just don't need. I don't believe there is any great message here and equating the "women in comedy" issue to this short I think is unfair - it's just that this character isn't funny and like a lot of us starts trying too hard. The irony is of course that Monique Clementson is hilarious in this role. Go figure.

If I have a critique, it's that I didn't like the dismissive look the daughter gives the first time her mum isn't there at breakfast - I did think that was a little mean-spirited and unnecessary to the story because she obviously did care. The ending I think is great. Personally, I don't think she needed to put anything right - she was never at fault. Her frustration at the end was a satisfying and funny way to end.

Look, I hate dad jokes and every lame joke being labelled as such. So, I didn't really enjoy the concept of this film on a first watch. But it is really well crafted and paced and is very rewatchable. Could easily win CHCH and go on nationally. Great work and don't stop making films the way you want to make them.

I reviewed this film too early in the screenings to give it some proper thought so I've returned with some further thoughts!

This film definitely flew under the radar for me initially, it was one of the first to play in the adult screenings and so it sort of 'set the tone' for what the top end of the comp would be this year and I just didn't think much about it after that, merely comparing the remaining top teir to it subconciously.

It truly does tick off a lot of the judges boxes as other reviews have alluded to. It's clear we have some really competent and advanced users on the tools in this team, the look of the film gave me the vibe we were watching an unskippable youtube ad for a healthy breakfast alternative - not that we were forced to watch it! I just mean it was beautiful and polished :)

What I really love about that style setup is when it blinks, and the reaction to the currant girl joke has this subtle but brilliantly performed moment, that's when you know this film is here to play and shouldn't just be overlooked, it just might creep up on ya and swipe everything up, which it did!

anyway, you know all this already, brilliant performances (a well deserved win) beautifully shot and a good reminder for everyone to never underestimate a newcomer, you never know who's going to rock up and run away with the whole thing.

Final thought from me - I sense based on some of the above feedback that some have missed the point of WHY this is such a crowd pleaser, and no, it has nothing to do with gender roles, it's something I think is much more relatable for everyone - communication and connection can be HARD. It doesn't matter who you are, sometimes there are things that just make relating to other people tricky no matter what you try - THAT is the message of the film, and that is why it was so well recieved, we all understand the feeling at some deep level in our soul.

Well done Chester and team, was lovely to meet you at the finals and see your love for creativity just bursting out of you.

What I liked:
Call it stock standard if you must, but the key to doing well in this competition has always been executing a simple idea very well - and An Evening With is the most recent example in a long list of city winning films that ask a simple question, have a bit of fun in the middle, before closing with a bang. This time we're looking at the concept of Dad Jokes, and I personally really fell in love with this little story, and the incredible performances which sold it perfectly.

What I didn't like:
Something I've not seen any other review nor any of the judging panel mention, is that there's a lot of pretty rough audio hiss going on in some of these scenes - This film is so slick in almost every other way, but it sounds like your TASCAM SD card got corrupted or something. If I was less wisened by years of 48Hours I'd say something like "you should have ADR'd some of these scenes in post" but after your myriad of acceptance speeches at the finals, I suspect that Zero Mum Game is actually a film held together by tape and string, with an idea developed in the late night witching hour and submitted moments before the deadline - with just enough polish on the surfaces to catapult it to first place, and hey, that's what 48Hours is about baby. A well deserved win for sure.

Something else I liked:
Some incredible performnces here, Monique's win was well deserved but the Dad Joke specialist neighbour deserves a shout out to. When Mum describes Dad as a hard worker and the neighbour quickly mutters "hardly works" as he jots down notes is so nuanced and hilarious.

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