An ambitious marine navigation cadet is on the verge of cracking during his final exams. The recruit is haunted by an incident from his past — and fights to find a way to turn his personal demons into a source of strength.
Mariner is a taut and unsettling drama by Thyrone Tommy, who has previously brought us the memorable short film ‘Avalanche‘. This time he digs deeper into his own dramatic style while creating an intense tension, focusing on a marine navigation cadet on the verge of cracking during his final exams. Thyrone sets the easing tone early on with an almost eerie silence, which slowly taken over by a by a subtle but dramatic soundtrack.
The film is based on my own time as a marine navigation cadet in college. I attended school in 2010, and it was one of the most vigorous and tense experiences of my life. I didn’t necessarily want to revisit it, until the opportunity came up in 2015 to make a short film with NBCUniversal Canada. They gave me a grant alongside Ontario Arts Council. We shot the film over the course of 4 days, half of which was in the same simulator and school that I had attended in 2010. We also shot at an Olympic pool, and small apartment complex. Thomas Olajide, our lead had to learn all of our simulator scenes in 2 weeks. Normally that’s a semester for actual sailor students. The actors, learned to do the survival suit stunts on the day, after some guidance from me. It was a pretty intense shoot, but so much was learned.
Built through factors of personal experiences, Thyrone was able to reach the emotional and psychological depths of a mind under pressure. We are faced with surreal events in realistically grounded environments, which gives in for quite an experience.
I really wanted people to feel the anxiousness and anxieties, I felt during that period of time. The pressures of success, race, and expectations can be heavy on you. Hopefully people feel that as well here. I also nearly drowned as a kid, so that part of my history was able to be explored here. And it made for some great parallels as he makes his way through the exams.