Last week, Alfonso Cuaron's outer space thriller Gravity crossed the $500 million mark globally and now comes word from The Hollywood Reporter that his son Jonas Cuaron, who co-wrote the film, also directed a seven-minute companion piece, titled "Aningaaq," that was financed by Warner Home Video for inclusion on the Blu-ray and DVD.
(Note: Minor spoiler for Gravity follows.)
The short film actually shows the other side of the radio conversation Sandra Bullock's character Dr. Ryan has while trapped in the Russian escape capsule with a mysterious man who has a dog and a crying baby. After being screened at a few festivals like Venice and Telluride, Warner Bros. has submitted the film for Oscar consideration in the live-action short category. As THR points out, this would be the first time a feature film and short drawn from the same source material could be up for Oscar nominations.
The original story has some background information on the project with a couple comments from the younger Cuaron:
The idea for Aningaaq, which follows an Inuit fisherman stationed on a remote fjord in Greenland, occurred to the Cuarons as they were working out the beats for the Gravity screenplay. "It's this moment where the audience and the character get this hope that Ryan is finally going to be OK," Jonas, 31, tells THR. "Then you realize that everything gets lost in translation." Both Cuarons spent time in the glacial region (Alfonso once toyed with setting a movie there) and fell in love with the barren vastness of its frozen wilderness. During one of those visits, Alfonso met a drunken native who would become the basis for the title character, played by Greenland's Orto Ignatiussen. But it wasn't until Jonas, on a two-week trek gathering elements for his film, was inspired by the local inhabitants' profound attachment to their sled dogs that he decided to incorporate that element into the plot.
The short was filmed "guerrilla style" on location on a budget of about $100,000 -- most of which went toward the 10-person crew's travel costs -- and Cuaron completed it in time to meld the dialogue into Gravity's final sound mix. The result is a seamless conversation between Aningaaq and Ryan, stranded 200 miles above him, the twin stories of isolated human survival providing thematic cohesion. Still, Jonas says he was careful "to make it a piece that could stand on its own."