After a heartfelt conversation and gift-opening, A bereaved father must come to terms with the truth of the situation and finds solace in an ephemeral reunion with his deceased son before time reverts.

  • Yingxia Huang
  • Yingxia Huang
  • Chuyao Huo
  • Lukman Syafiq Ibrahim
    Director of Photography
  • Peter J Donnelly
    Key Cast
    "Mr. J"
  • Reuben Reynolds
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Blackmagic Super 35 Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of Sydney
Director Biography - Yingxia Huang

Yingxia Huang, also known as Carmen, is a Sydney-based Chinese filmmaking student whose professional skills focus on editing and directing. She is devoted to telling stories that are subtle but touching, sarcastic, and realistic.
She has completed a Bachelor of Screen Production degree at Macquarie University, back then she has taken on the editor role across various genres of projects, one of which she earned the title of "best editor" in the faculty campaign in 2019 with the documentary "Saving Sydney Scene".
Currently, she is studying for a Master of Moving Image at Sydney University and has collaborated with several independent filmmakers such as Dr.Andrew Sully on his short The Dam (2023) and independent artists, such as the band Day Spa on their MV Call me Out (2022) as a 1st assistant director and production assistants. And now she is focusing on making her own short film Dead Draw(2023), pursuing a way to be a director in the future.

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Director Statement

I chose to direct this film because I resonated with a scene from The Spa, a heartrending short film about a man grieving his wife's death. I connected deeply with his remorse over his wife and thought of my own grandfather. The paternal relationships in our family are obscure and conservative, and they never show their solicitude for each other. They are like isolated boats on a rope, connected but estranged. In China, there is a saying that 'the tree may prefer calm, but the wind may not subside.' I think time is the wind, it hurries up people’s lives, but some still remains stumbled. Time is an antagonist. I think families should embrace every moment together and not wait for prosperity to care for things that are important to them. So, one of the things I felt strongly about in the making of Dead Draw is that I wanted the film to be a medium that evokes people's reflections on paternity bonds and beyond. The film focuses on an unexpected encounter between a regretful father, Mr. J, and a little boy. Through this encounter, Mr. J redeems his guilt from a long-promised chess. 
I choose chess to be a medium of bonding between father and son, because I found the smothered mate gambit is a good metaphor for such a relationship. In general, a chess game is to beat the living mental crap of each other and win a game by taking down each other's chess pieces. But the gambit of smothered mates interestingly requires sacrificing one’s own pieces in order to trap the opponent's king. I see chess pieces as a family, a knight is sent out to seize another's king, like a father sacrificing himself for a family, going out for work. 
So Dead Draw is meant to be a touching exploration of bittersweet beauty found in fleeting connection, acceptance of loss and enduring power of love. It reminds the audience to cherish the presents. 
The production of this film is a milestone and a test for me, being a first-time director. As this film is a slow-paced and performance-heavy play, a solid bond between me and the actors is key, especially as I am working with child and aged actors. One of the challenges of this play is to get the natural performance out of the actors and reveal true sentiments. In this case, I  learned to listen to actors' opinions, putting their thoughts into the play as integrating them into the characters. But thanks to the actors who contribute their respect and patience, and the endeavour of all my crews, the output of the film is achieving the desired effect.