A young man confronted with his grandmother's dementia must choose to support her or continue living in denial.

  • Alexander Mankowski
  • Charlotte Bayly
  • Yunqi Yu
  • Jenny Davis
    Key Cast
  • Lachlan Stevenson
    Key Cast
  • Jessica Veitch
    Key Cast
  • Alexander Dilley
    Key Cast
  • Liang Xu
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 12 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Arri Alexa,Apple Pro-res
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Alexander Mankowski

Alexander Mankowski graduated from Murdoch University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Media, specializing in producing. In 2017 he returned and completed an Honors Degree in Screen Production and discovered a passion for directing. Alexander applied to the Screen Academy to arm himself with the skills and attributes needed to become a great director and visual storyteller. He hopes to make emotional and impactful screen content that can change people’s outlook on life.

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Director Statement

Watching someone struggling with dementia is heartbreaking. In Australia, dementia is the number one cause of disability in person’s aged 65 years and over and about 1.5 million Australian’s are known to have a family member with dementia in their care. Of those people with dementia, a small percentage experience what is known as “sundowning;” a higher level of confusion, disorientation and anxiety than normal, often exhibited in the late hours of the afternoon as the sun begins to set. This is the basis of our short film Sundown. In the film, our protagonist’s (Joe) grandmother resorts to speaking her native tongue, Polish, and pines for the return of her deceased husband every afternoon at the nursing home.

What drew me to this project was my grandmother’s own journey with Alzheimer’s disease which led to her death. Although I never got to know my grandmother properly, (as she lived in Poland and I grew up in Australia), my father described her beautiful nature as a loving mother of three whose health slowly declined into an agonising state, her lapses in memory causing stress and anguish for those around her. During the sundowning state, my grandmother would think she was back in WW2 and was haunted by painful memories that she thought were literally occurring around her in the present moment. In Sundown, Joe reflects the state of the people who find it emotionally difficult to look after their loved ones in these situations, especially when they forget who they are.
In order to create a meaningful film, we focused around dancing and music as the motif that connects the characters with one another. Dancing is a joyful act that becomes a bridge between memories of the past and the present. It connects the grandson, grandmother and grandfather in three different ways and expresses love in a film about grief.

My intention has always been to show an emotional film to audiences about how precious it is to spend time with family and that even through difficult times there are still significant moments of beauty that can be experienced. I hope that viewers will reflect on their own relationships with those around them and can think about how to share a special moment that will last a lifetime, even if they may never remember it.