In a pivotal scene in Gravity, Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock finally makes contact with a radio male voice speaking in foreign language, while her hopes of survival continues to ebb, trapped in a Russian space capsule. Director Jonas Cuaron took an interesting cue from this conversation scene in Gravity that also featured the distant noises of a crying baby and a barking dog. The director developed a short spinoff film from Gravity, visualizing the scene at the other end of the conversation. Jonas Cuaron is the son to director Alfonso Cuaron. The father –son duo co-wrote the screenplay for the $500 million grosser for Warner Bros. The seven minute companion piece to the film, goes by the title Aningaaq, and it received the necessary financing from Warner Home Video.

The production company initially though to develop the companion film as a unique extra addition to the Blu-Ray edition of Gravity. However, the amazing starkness and the contemplative depth of Aningaaq has been inspiring unique positive reviews from critics, attributing it with a life of own, connected to the movie in a weirdly metaphysical way. The emptiness of space and the starkness of Greenland, placed against one another creates an amazing totalistic impression on the viewer.

The short also featured at the festivals in Telluride and Venice, coming to the notice of critics. Following the acclaim, the production house submitted the 7 minute short film to the Oscars committee in the category of live-action short films. If the short film gets a nomination into the prestigious awards show, they are all set to make Academy awards history. These would be the first films and their spinoffs to receive nominations in the same year.

Aningaaq follows the life of an Inuit fisherman at a remote Greenland fjord.  The idea first whispered its existence to Cuaron when he was developing the screenplay beats for Gravity. He describes the scene in the film as the definitive moment of hope when the audience gets the feeling that the universe is helping out Ryan to survive. Then, suddenly, the audience realizes that everything is losing in translation, explains Cuaron. The Cuarons had been in Greenland before and loved the barren vastness of the place. So, the director only thought it fit to explore the glacial wilderness and set it at par with the vacuum of space.  The protagonist in the short derives from Alfonso’s experience of meeting a native in Greenland once. Actor from Greenland, Orto Ignatiussen plays the role superbly in the short.

The shooting of the short was straight on-location in the ‘guerilla style’ mode of shooting. The short film had a budget of $100,000. Most of the money went in to get the 10-person crew and the equipments to Greenland. Cuaron incorporated the elements of sled-dog barks in the short to make it an authentic one. The on-time completion of the short allowed the director to incorporate the dialogues in the final sound mix of Gravity. The outcome is a conversation between Ryan and Aningaaq, both alone in their own emptiness. Sandra Bullock praised the short film as a beautiful expression of loneliness, giving her goose bumps to feel it.