Happy Anniversary

A five minute short comedy drama by Never Too Late Pictures, combining traditional filmmaking techniques with the cutting edge technology of gaming software Unreal Engine.

Jake and Jess are celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary by taking a bucket-list ride in a hot air balloon. When they discover an uninvited passenger on board … a deadly brown snake ... it seems their dream has turned into a nightmare!

  • Gareth Wilkes
  • Gareth Wilkes
  • Lisa Bishop
  • Emma Bargery
    Key Cast
  • Michael Gilmour
    Key Cast
  • Roy Phung
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 36 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 31, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    30,000 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
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Director Biography - Gareth Wilkes

After graduating from The International Film School of Australia in Adelaide in 2001 Gareth carved himself a place in the Art Department of McLeod’s Daughters for four years before freelancing in the feature film industry as an Art Department Coordinator and now, an Art Director and Production Designer. Further to this, he worked for 4 years at the Media Resource Centre as Production Coordinator, where he provided guidance to emerging filmmakers and mentorship to students seeking a career in the film industry. Throughout, he has continued to juggle the hefty workload of Directing, Writing and Editing his own content as a method of fulfilling his passion for telling his own stories. Gareth's award-winning works have played nationally and internationally, and his 2019 short film “Aftershock” has been officially selected in over 13 international film festivals and has received five nominations in the 2020 South Australian Screen Awards.

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Director Statement

“Happy Anniversary” is a fun and farcical visual spectacle that sees a young married couple trying to enjoy a romantic hot air balloon ride for their anniversary. When a series of extreme circumstances continuously interrupt them, it seems their dream has turned into a nightmare.

The film has a very small cast in a limited shooting location, which allowed me to focus equally on the performers, ensuring a 3-dimensional story is realised. Given the comedic nature of the film, I cast talented actors with great comedic timing who can lend a stylish, theatrical feel to the characters.

With regard to Production Design, I incorporated bright tones and colours, to push the cartoonish nature of the story. This was further accentuated through the wardrobe choices and the background landscapes for the Unreal Engine plates.

I used the cinematography to show the vast expanses of the landscape and the danger the characters are in, while taking the opportunity to fully harness the possibilities that are provided via the Unreal Engine virtual production model of shooting. Big sweeping wide shots, with bright, sunny lens flares and lots of movement will be used to create a sense of adventure and scale.

The editing of “Happy Anniversary” controlled the pace, with long lingering shots accentuating the romance and fast paced cutting during the high stakes action scenes.

I used the sound design and score to create a sense of caper and fun, highlighting the cartoonish nature of the script and performance.