Mother & Brother is a Texan family drama. A window into the lives of two Brothers burdened with the care of their abusive mother. On his wedding day, Younger chooses to confront the guilt haunting their lives and carry a new burden alone. Directed by Dustin Cook, starring Laurence Fuller, Clint Napier, Ashley Hayes and Lisa Goodman. Casting by Billy Damota & Dea Vise.
"His strength as an actor envelopes the screen... Fuller is sublime to watch" - Screen Relish ****
"Laurence Fuller gives an introspective, vulnerable performance with an overwhelming feeling that exists somewhere beyond resignation." - The Independent Critic ****
"One of the best acted short films I've seen all year." - Nicholas La Salla, FCReview **** (Must See Short Film of 2015)
"Laurence Fuller is the older brother and - despite showing the least agency - the real heart of the film. It's largely through his silent actions and glances that we see the pressure on which the tale hinges." - Eye For Film ****
This is a very emotionally difficult film, what attracted you to the project?
This film is like a declaration of Rebellion. I thought I was pretty confident that my short film days were behind me after I'd done a couple features. But when I read the incredibly original script by Dustin Cook, I was proved wrong.
Firstly I saw a lot of room for performance between the lines, then when I met with Dustin over coffee, who also comes from an acting background, having studied for a number of years at Beverly Hills Playhouse. We spoke about family dynamics:
Families can be such intense pressure cookers, even when they function by Western societal norms, so there was a lot of rich material there for us to work with. There wasn't any ultimate conclusions that we came up with at the end of our conversations, just the seeds of ideas and sharing personal experiences. Then when we got to set Dustin gave me the freedom to experiment and feel the etherial in the timelessness of the man, frozen in an unending symphony of the passage of time outside the window, the unchanging mountains bouncing sunlight and promising a horizon that never came.
Do you agree with the film's ultimate message?
I feel like all films, poems and artistic activity in general are metaphors, even when captured with a stark realism. Speaking metaphorically, there comes a time when a man must claim independence and forge his own path, this is never an easy thing. The people who loved and cared for us will do everything they can to protect us. But the strength of a generation is not always built on pleasing the previous one... I don't know that a general answer applies here. My character in this film is struggling with all this, his life is passing him by as he is unable to move past this anchor which seeks to yoke him to this house. Until his little brother comes back to town.
Film Festivals Diaries
The week leading up to Newport Beach Film Festival I was looking at purchasing some art with my friend Matthew Crowley, we were steeped in exhibitions, print auctions and discussions about the political economy of art. I directed Mattie in a play in London called "Things We Want" in the year before I moved to Los Angels and his performance was brilliant, we went for the spontaneous and the ambiguous, jumped out the window when it came to a fixed position, much like my approach to life in general.
We went to the screening Q&A for "Mother & Brother" this morning. Watching the film again there is a certain objectivity which is forming about it. Vulnerability is the real strength of the piece is its weakness, its unashamed bare bummed weakness, which exposes the fragility of life. Dustin has been cautious about expressing too much of an interpretation. I understand why, he wants to create the image and allow others the interpretation. There is something beautifully ambiguous about the meaning of this film. What was in the note that made what happens ok between the two?
"Your strength as an artist does not have to come from your best qualities or gifts. An artist can rise from a deficiency within himself or herself." - Celaya, Art And Mindfulness
Waking up this morning looking our window I feel the open green hills opening facets of myself I have to keep locked in the city. I think of the sculptor Matt Wedel who has an exhibition coming up at LA Louver which I was lucky enough to see a private view before the opening. His way of life in accordance with nature, his children and the physical world.
After seeing Matthew Barney's "River Of Fundament" we're driving up to Ojai Film Festival to support my short "Mother & Brother" which is showing in the "Nuclear Families" block.
Barney's 5 hour avant-guard operatic cinema experience was inspiring.
Reincarnating from the bubbling mucus mud of the powerful ratcheting pulsating explosions at the core of the crust of the earth.
I'm proud to announce that Mother & Brother has won it's first award "Best Dramatic Short" at Arizona International Film Festival. The film was a labour of love from first time director Dustin Cook. Brilliantly cast by Billy Damota & Dea Vise. And features performances by Clint Napier, Lisa Goodman and myself. Catch a clip from the film here and read about the Q&A and screening night below
The Arizona sun crackles off the pavement and the skin, the city glares back as you peer down its streets. The neon of "The Screening Room" speaks as a beacon to a world outside, a world beyond, a world of dreams. I love the cinema, the smell of popcorn, the promise of adventure. Everyone who's drawn to film deep down is really just a big kid looking for an adventure. As I look at the photo of the three of us before the screening of our film, I see three big kids, a little nervous because of our vulnerable position of presenting our work and in that our true selves in front of a room full of strangers, and yet we're proud of what we've created together and are looking forward to welcoming others into it.
As we are liberated from the constraints of metropolis burning down an open highway towards Arizona Film Festival where a short film I shot called "Mother & Brother" screens. The absence of the Colorado river desert gives space for reflection, on the melody of this trip; liberty.