A young heir to a dictatorship navigates an isolated world of power and control. A solitary gesture of peace leads to tragic revelations in this stark allegory of inherited violence and the urgent need for empathy.

  • Harvey Otto Abrahams
  • Harvey Otto Abrahams
  • Harvey Otto Abrahams
  • Bob Ledbury
    Key Cast
    "Dictator's Son"
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Drama, Fantasy, Dystopian
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 26 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 10, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Sydney Grammar School
Director Biography - Harvey Otto Abrahams

I'm Harvey Abrahams. An 18 year old school student who likes making films on the side. I have a background in music, visual art and acting so naturally found myself drawn to a medium which combines all aspects of design and creativity. I've been trying to hone my skills in post production for about six years now, trying to learn all sorts of filmmaking styles and techniques. In my most recent short film 'SUBSTRATUM' I've attempted focusing on aesthetically pleasing compositions and lighting choices, as well as trying to show more intricate aspects of the human experience. As a Jazz pianist and flautist among other things I love the challenge of composing my own film scores to perfectly match the final edit as well as creating diverse character/setting theme tunes. I've got a lot left to learn and I'm excited to do so. I simply enjoy this artform and I hope to spread that joy and inspire audiences and potential filmmakers someday.

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Director Statement

In 'SUBSTRATUM,' I consider how environment, upbringing, and the presence or absence of empathetic role models can mold an individual's actions and beliefs.

This short film explores a young boy's isolated existence surrounded by messages of power, control, and violence, setting the stage for an examination of the nature of dictatorships and the hereditary passing down of harmful ideologies.

The film's only female character emerges as a silent beacon of hope. Unseen and separated further underground, she communicates with the child through a teddy bear, embodying a connection and peace that starkly contrasts with the boy's environment.

'SUBSTRATUM' grapples with legacies of power, control, and the stark rise in fascism in recent years. It illuminates the human spirit's capacity for change, and to hope for a more empathetic world.