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Sam returns home tired . He is unaware that something dark has drifted in behind him.

His attempts to fall asleep are interrupted by a shadowy creature leering at him, but Sam is not startled. He muses that it doesn’t matter if the creature is real or not.

Curious, the creature presses Sam to explain. Sam obliges, discussing what would occur if the creature was just a shadow of the mind… or if it is really there.

  • Aaron Wakem
  • Aaron Wakem
  • Merielee Rey
  • Azmi Al Hasani
    Key Cast
  • Mitch Cox
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 21 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 10, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
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Director Biography - Aaron Wakem

Aaron Wakem has been working in the film, television and video industry since 2008 when he had the opportunity to work as a director’s assistant in Bollywood. Since then he has worked in a variety of roles, both technical and creative, on Hollywood films, Australian film and television, and has spent the last 5 years working as a director and producer on large-scale corporate productions. He is in the process of transitioning back into film and television, and he has recently completed a Masters degree at the Australian Film Television & Radion School (AFTRS). He has experience writing and directing digital series including the Stage Mums ‘How to’ digital series on the Australian Network 10 play and a horror anthology series 'Nocturn' on YouTube. He has been a disability rights advocate for over 12 years, bringing his lived experience as well as academic backing to the cause.

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Director Statement

Waver is a short look into the struggles of the protagonist Sam. While presented without explicitly stating, Sam has a psychosocial disability. The story centres around Sam’s attempts to fall asleep as his mind manifests a creature. Unstartled, he reasons through the alternatives of whether the creature is real or not before concluding that the creature is not real and banishing it back to the shadows. The film has the dressings of a horror or thriller film; however it is very much a psychological drama.

The films core theme is about perceptions; what is real and how do we deal with that when we have doubts. The secondary theme is around positivity towards those challenges, and health challenges broadly. While they may remain an ongoing presence, they can be mitigated somewhat with time and an understanding of how they manifest.

The film’s focus is on presenting the way that some psychosocial disabilities can impact people. To this end it was important to provide a visually appealing way to represent that, which meant treading the line between reality and fantasy. I used close and medium shots exclusively once we, the audience, enter the mind space of Sam; with wide shots only used at the start and end of the film where we see the situation independent from Sam. Each time the creature is presented visually, there is also a grounded reasoning for the optical delusion.

This story is one that is based off my lived experience with my old psychosocial disability. I have also been a disability advocate for many years, primarily aiming for better inclusion and representation in popular media. For me, understanding and being able to empathise with the struggles of others is an important first step at dispelling misconceptions and fears about those we haven’t experienced before. That is why I use film as a medium to show people the lives and experiences of those they may never encounter outside the cinema. Waver then, is an insight into my own experiences, both to provide insight for those who have not had interactions with schizophrenia; and as a message of hope for those living with schizophrenia that they can get to a place where they have some power over their condition.