Short Film: JUNE, 15min., New Zealand

Directed by Dwayne Cameron
June is a story about the fragility of life; the primal forces that drive and control us and the mystery of hope and new beginnings. Willow and David receive a serious diagnosis from their doctor and attempt to deal with the mundane as their world disintegrates in the following 24 hours. This one day in June for the couple holds raw despair, unleashing carnal natures but a transcendent occurrence offers them the hope of new life.

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Director Biography – Dwayne Cameron

Hi there, I am a self-taught actor, screenwriter, filmmaker, and visual artist. For the last 25 years I have worked primarily as a professional actor and practicing visual artist. As an actor I have worked with over 60 directors starring in 300 episodes of TV Series and a dozen feature films. Most recently I starred in ‘Disturbing the Peace’ (2020) with Guy Pearce, and played the son of Nicolas Cage in the film ‘211’ (2018) and starred as Bruce McLaren in Roger Donaldson’s ‘McLaren’ (2017) and have worked with other numerous stars; Karl Urban, Amber Heard, Selma Blair and William Shatner. As a visual artist with 25 years experience, I have painted and sold over 200 artworks. In recent years I have shifted my focus to screenwriting and have now written a dozen short film and four feature film screenplays. I started directing and producing my short films to build up to my feature film directorial debut. My last short film that I wrote, directed, produced and starred in called Holding The Sun was nominated for Best Short Film and Best Production Design at the New Zealand film awards. JUNE is my second official short film that I have directed, produced and starred in. My cinematographer on June was Adam Clark (DOP on Taika Waititi’s Oscar-nominated short film Two Cars One Night & two of Waititi’s feature films; Eagle Vs Shark and Boy) and my editor is Peter Roberts (Juniper starring Charlotte Rampling) and the visual effects in June were created by five-time Oscar winner Joe Letteri’s VFX team at Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital headed by Emmy nominated senior VFX supervisor Charlie Tait (Avengers: Infinity War, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Alita: Battle Angel, Deadpool, Prometheus, King Kong, The Hobbit Trilogy) Charlie was nominated for an Emmy in 2021 for his work on The Falcon And The Winter Soldier – https://www.emmys.com/bios/charles-tait

Director Statement

INTRO
JUNE is an independently made and lovingly crafted bespoke short film that my team and I spent 4 years bringing to life. My seed vision for JUNE was for a collaboration between art, film and spirit; filmmakers, actors, artists, musicians and astrophotography combining with the talents of the special effects designers from Weta Digital, to create our own unique, semiotic cinematic style.

I am deeply inspired by the metaphysical and visually poetic story telling from directors Terence Malick, Darren Aronofsky, and Pawel Pawlikowski. The script was developed with the premise that every event in our lives contains many interconnected layers of reality, psyche, Spirit and cosmos. JUNE is a mystical story filled with magical realism that journeys above and below in search for hope and faith during a dark and uncertain time for a family.

THE HOW – A homemade indie film
June is a homemade independent film made possible by utilizing 25 years of industry contacts to help bring this vision to fruition. I was very hands-on making June; from drawing the first vision I had of a woman in a white dress swimming to a light at the bottom of a lake (the original drawing featured in the art studio scene), writing the script, storyboarding and painting key sequences. Designing all of the visual effects for our team at Weta Digital, raising the budget, production, editing, through to final delivery. It was an enormous challenge telling a deeply personal story on such a big scale. As an artist June has been by far the biggest creative endeavour I have undertaken. All independently made without the help of any producers, studios, corporate sponsors, art grants or film commissions.

THE WHY – A personal note
I lost my father when I was 10 years old and my own journey with grief propelled me to fight for my own light and to create my own reasons to exist. I then entered the film industry and over the last two decades worked to fill that gap in my family with joy and self-expression. To show people we don’t have to allow loss and grief to define us. From ashes we can find hope for a new and better life. I’ve told hundreds of other people’s stories acting different characters but I’ve never told the story behind why I do that. Like Willow in the tree roots in the film, I’ve spent my life reaching for that blue star and this constant reaching propelled me through a career in the film industry spanning 25 years. My father was my Grandfather’s only son and I set out to create June to make him proud and give him hope, but he passed away before it was finished and we have dedicated the film to him in the credits.

THE WHAT – The story
Woven through the story thread of June is a metaphor for my own soul mechanics that drive and compel me to create art and express myself every day. This quote from the poet Rumi comes to mind; “The bad news is we’re all falling. The good news is there is no ground”. I created a story where there is no ground for a couple (Willow and David) following devastating news that could change their lives forever. The impending trauma shakes the safe ground of their known reality and as they fall through the void of potential loss, we see their different emotional and psychic responses to this transformative rupture. Their premature baby girl JUNE is fighting for life and to bring truth and authenticity to the screen we waited patiently for an entire year for a real premature baby to be born and parents who would allow us to film their child safely. It was a very moving experience to be able to film in a neo natal unit and to witness the miracle of this wee baby surviving after being born 10 weeks early.

I created this story to show that it can be through our darkest hour that the miraculous can happen and faith is restored. I wanted to tell a story about the strength of the human spirit and with all of the darkness and chaos in the world right now, I hope JUNE can show faith, hope and love are powerful bridges to life’s unexpected miracles.

THE WHO – My Team
I am the Writer and Director of June. For 25 years I have worked as an actor and practicing visual artist. As an actor I’ve worked with over 50 directors starring in over 250 episodes of TV Series and a dozen films. Recent credits include starring in ‘Disturbing the Peace’ (2020) with Guy Pearce, playing the son of Nicolas Cage ‘211’ (2018) and starring as Bruce McLaren in Roger Donaldson’s ‘McLaren’ (2017). I’ve also starred in films with actors: Karl Urban, Amber Heard, Selma Blair, William Shatner. My next film called AVARICE filming in July stars Viva Bianca (Spartacus) and Luke Ford (Animal Kingdom). As a visual artist with 25 years’ experience, I have painted and sold over 300 artworks.

Recently I shifted focus to screenwriting writing two-dozen short films and four feature screenplays. I started directing and producing my shorts with Producer and Actor Sarah James and JUNE is a springboard to launch my flagship Sci Fi feature film which has a strong thread of visual magical realism in the story.

June is produced by myself Dwayne Cameron and Sarah James, who also stars in the film. The last short film we produced together (that I wrote and directed) was called Holding the Sun. It was nominated for Best Short Film and Best Production Design at the New Zealand Film Awards.

June stars Dwayne Cameron as David, Sarah James as Willow, John Callen (The Hobbit) as Dr Samuels and Brooke Williams (Agents of SHIELD) as Jamie.

My cinematographer is Adam Clark who was DOP on four Taika Waititi films (including Boy and his Oscar-nominated short film ‘Two Cars One Night’). Together we filmed June in the beautiful snow-covered mountains of the South Island of New Zealand.

Joe Letteri and his team created the visual effects at Weta Digital. My visual effects supervisor was the superbly talented Charlie Tait (VFX supervisor on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, James Cameron’s Avatar and Alita Battle Angel, Avengers: Infinity War and Spielberg’s The BFG). Charlie was nominated for an Emmy in 2021 for his work on The Falcon And The Winter Soldier – https://www.emmys.com/bios/charles-tait

June was edited by Peter Roberts. Editor on The Dark Horse and most recently the films Savage and also Juniper with Marton Csokas and Charlotte Rampling.

June’s original music score is by award-winning composer Karl Steven.

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