When self-confident university student Alice meets enigmatic but reserved Emma, they instantly stumble into an inseparable and intense connection. However, as cracks start forming in their newly forged friendship Alice begins to suspect their attraction could be masking a painful secret.

  • Kino Ma
  • Kino Ma
  • Jiawen Xue
  • Mengxin Cao
    Key Cast
  • Yutian Quan
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Music Video, Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 25 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 29, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    500 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - The University of Sydney
Director Biography - Kino Ma

Kino Ma is a Sydney-based Chinese emerging filmmaker and cinematographer.

Having grown up in China, Kino relocated to Australia in 2016 to study for a Bachelor of Creative Arts ( Film and Television) at Deakin University - Burwood Campus. During his studies, he made multiple experimental and narrative short films, including ROOM (2022), Candle Maker (2022), and The Art of Belonging (2022).

Kino is able to connect with audiences by exploring and portraying the hardships behind our outward demeanors. His technical expertise and a sharp eye for design make him a valuable player when conducting camera teams and bringing film visions to life.

He is currently completing the Masters of Moving Image at Sydney College where he is developing his future creative projects.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

"Happy Birthday, Emma!" is a short film that explores the complexities of human connections, the fragility of life, and the profound impact we can have on one another in a brief moment in time. Through the lens of Alice and Emma's intense and inseparable connection, we aim to delve into the themes of self-discovery, vulnerability, and the importance of cherishing the present.

At its core, the short film is a celebration of the profound bond between two individuals who, despite their contrasting personalities, find solace and understanding in one another. Alice, a self-confident university student, and Emma, an enigmatic and reserved young woman, come together in a serendipitous encounter that instantly sparks a deep connection. Their friendship blossoms rapidly, leading them to make a heartfelt promise to celebrate their birthdays together.

As the director, I intend to portray this pivotal moment with sensitivity and emotional depth, capturing the characters' raw emotions and the turmoil they experience. Through the visual language of the film, we will emphasize the contrast between the vibrant, carefree moments of Alice and Emma's friendship and the harsh realities they face after the crash. We will utilize dynamic cinematography, evocative lighting, and deliberate color palettes to evoke a sense of intimacy, introspection, and melancholy as we navigate the emotional journey of our characters.

Ultimately, "Happy Birthday, Emma!" aims to engage the audience on an emotional level, encouraging reflection on the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing the moments we have with the ones we love. By exploring the depths of human connection and the resilience of the human spirit, we hope to inspire empathy, introspection, and an appreciation for the profound impact our relationships can have on our lives.

Through meticulous attention to detail, compelling performances, and a carefully crafted visual and narrative approach, our intention as the creative team is to create a short film that resonates with audiences, leaving them with a lasting emotional impression and a renewed sense of appreciation for the power of human connection.