In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent college graduate Lauren grapples with shattered dreams and a reality she despises, leading to worsen relationship with her mother. Only in her solitary walks does she find solace. A pivotal moment arises when, after a heated argument, Lauren discovers her grandfather is hospitalized, but strict social distancing measures prevent family visits. Through a poignant video call, Lauren witnesses the fragility of life and embraces the importance of family, prompting a transformative realization and a newfound appreciation for cherished family.

  • Guodong Mao
  • Guodong Mao
  • Xiangxiang Lin
  • Yishu Gong
    Director of Photography
  • Jinfeng Lyu
  • Hop Dao
    Key Cast
  • Susan Ling Young
    Key Cast
  • Martin Che Young
    Key Cast
  • Warren Lee
    Key Cast
  • Edilia Ford
    Key Cast
  • Rachel Young
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    coming-of-age drama
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 26 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 22, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    3,100 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Yue Chinese (Cantonese)
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, Sony
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of Sydney
Director Biography - Guodong Mao

Gary(Guodong) Mao is a Chinese film director and animator who has graduated from UTS, was learning animation design and is now finishing his last semester in Master of Moving Image at the University of Sydney. Based on his experience of background story design of games and animation in the industry, Gary Mao became a creative director, animator and effect editor with limitless imagination.
He has enjoyed design and storytelling since a really young age and loves to express and spread his ideas in multi-medium. From the age of 10, he was encouraged by his parents to take up painting, and at the age of 14, he received an award for painting in the Junior category, which contributed to his strong love of pictures and visual arts.
During his high school years, he received the first DSLR camera of his life as a birthday gift and began to explore photography and the sense of pictures. During his undergraduate years, confident in his imagination and creativity, he also submitted his animation works to several film festivals, such as the Annecy Film Festival, but regrettably, failure is always the main theme of life. He didn't rest and stop trying, so this led him to follow his will to study Moving Image at the University of Sydney. Aiming to get inspiration from daily life, he always made his work and tagged it.

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Director Statement

The premise of this short film, "Cherish," is based on my own real experiences. It's precisely these experiences and memories that sincerely make me believe in the importance of family in our lives. Through this project, we want to convey our concept to the audience: the presence of everyone around us is limited, but our family members condense boundless love within this limited time spent around with us. Hence, we should treasure the companionship around us.
The concept that we try to spread is: that the world is harsh, and so are the rules. As ordinary people, we often can't live our lives entirely according to our own wishes. Just like Lauren and her family, we find ourselves powerless in the face of unexpected loss, due to policies or regulations.
In terms of the filming style, the colour palette will be conceived and composed to match the theme and emotions, favouring subdued tones over overly vibrant ones. The style will be minimalist and gentle, with a strong contrast formed by the extensive use of solid cold colours and complex combinations of multiple colours. References to the film HER, Burning and some of the colourways and aesthetics in the Series Shameless will create a juxtaposition of coldness and a hint of warmth through the colours.