Yarnmaker's near-future dystopian sci-fi short film Cough turned out to be not so near-future in 2020 when many governments scrambled to enforce lockdowns following the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic. Now in 2021 and with world travel still suspended for most people, writer-director Jason Kempnich was delighted to hear from the Anthem Film Festival, who had previously screened Cough in 2014 where it won Best Short Film.
Anthem are turning 10 and have invited us to screen Cough as part of their retrospective session, "Ten Years of the Best". This will be the first public cinema screening since its final film festival outing in October 2015 at the Tri-Cities International Film Festival. Anthem is partnered with FreedomFest, "the world's largest gathering of free minds," where each year over 2,500 people and 250 speakers meet for a multi-national conference of ideas.
This year's screening will be on Thursday 22nd July 2021 at the historic Elks Theatre in Rapid City, South Dakota, home of Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Deadwood City, and the Badlands National Park. It's a special event as this will mark the fifth time out of 57 screenings Cough was projected in its native 2K "Scope" format, as it was intended to be seen by Director Jason Kempnich and Cinematographer Graeme McMahon. Most festivals projected a HD Blu-Ray image causing the film's 2.35:1 aspect ratio to be letterboxed in a 16:9 frame, but Anthem is giving their films the royal treatment. Cough will be projected directly from a DCP (Digital Cinema Package), providing the audience extra resolution, greater image clarity and dynamic range, and a true 5.1 surround soundtrack.
Full screening details including times and address are found on our 10th Anthem Film Festival screening page. More information on Cough including other screenings and the film's trailer, can be found at the Cough website.
Cough stars Robert Coleby (Tracks, Terra Nova, The Marine) and Christopher Sommers (Predestination, Terra Nova, The Horseman), with Natalie Trent and Dan Eady. Written and directed by Jason Kempnich, it features moody cinematography by Graeme McMahon and evocative music by Davin Patterson. The film is produced by Jordan Glew and Jason Kempnich for Yarnmaker.
Cough explores a dystopian future (or is that present day?) where a pandemic has forced governments worldwide to heavily curtail the movements of citizens for their own survival. In the rush to survive, civil liberties are forgotten. The film asks the question - how far is too far, and what if government wanted to keep their new power? Sometimes you have to fight to be the change you want to see.