Infinite Is A Warm, Heartfelt Look At The Power Of Male Friendships In The Face Of Grief
“When I was younger, I always felt that the guys I saw portrayed in the media were really limited — things like The Inbetweeners,” Connor O’Hara, director of Infinite, tells What We Seee. “But guys have so much more to offer — we’re not just into girls and getting drunk at parties. We have interesting things to say, we’re nice to our girlfriends, there’s more to us than that. As a 21-year-old, I wanted to make the male role models I wish I had had at 14. Guys who say, ‘I love you’ and who care about each other”.
It’s fertile source material — and a theme that’s largely overlooked in film and television. But O’Hara and Jamie Gamache, founders of Lowkey Films, have embraced it in the most genuine of ways. That’s part of what makes this short film about young men so refreshing and so different. Starring George Mackay of 1917, it is completely and unashamedly heartfelt.
There’s a lot of depth packed into a short film, because this is not just a story about friendships — it’s also a brave look at male mental health.
For O’Hara, an unexpected turn in his personal life made this issue all the more pressing and present — and Infinite became both a personal cause and a source of catharsis. There is still more of this story to tell, with a feature-length film in the works that is already finance-ready with a full script and the producer of The King’s Speech on board. In celebration of the release of the short, we look behind the lens a little more closely.
None of Us Knew How To Cope
For O’Hara, telling a story of male friendships, specifically male friendships coping with death, was vitally important. He already knew he wanted to tell a story about the bonds that tie friends together but, soon after making this decision, two of his friends died suddenly – just a day apart from one another. It was through this tragic personal experience that O’Hara realized that he and his friends didn’t have the emotional tools they needed to process such a profoundly difficult moment of their lives.
“I was 21, I had just finished university — I was meant to be going down to the pub and having fun, suddenly we had this huge emotional weight to deal with,” he says. “None of us knew how to cope with it. It just made me think that we’re not really good at dealing with our emotions, because we’re not taught how. I wanted to show how to deal with it. A lot of us went through counselling, we encouraged each other, and let each other know that it’s OK to cry, to be sad, to show those things.”
In this way, Infinite is at once an exercise in processing personal grief, a look at the powerful bond of healthy male friendships, and a tribute to lost friends. In fact, the plot of the film drew heavily from real life.
“When one of my friends died we all went to the pub, we each wrote a note and tied it to a balloon, then sent it into the sky — he was Christian, so it was this idea of getting closer to him, in heaven,” O’Hara explains.
O’Hara is not religious himself, so the film itself is, in a way, his search for a meaning in life after death. This sense of release — and even of celebration — is at the heart of the story, which strives to show how to cope with death in a positive light.
A Soundtrack To That Moment
The film itself is simple and, with a lot of sweetness and heart, it still has an understated power that makes it incredibly affecting. The premise is straightforward – one young man asks his closest friends to help him leave a legacy, by helping him bring together totems of the most cherished areas of his life and burn them, to return them to the universe and help make him infinite. And, like the best timeless premises, it’s executed beautifully.
With an ensemble cast that clearly shared a lot of warmth between them — the “Behind The Scenes” footage on their Youtube channel is a joy — the film captures that fleeting, flickering feeling of youth. With a wonderful use of music, you are immediately thrust into that heady, soundtrack-to-our-lives part of young adulthood. This is done so seamlessly, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that the pair have a music background.
“I wanted that sense of when you’re on holiday and you listen to one album over and over,” O’Hara explains. “Then, 10 years later, when you listen to that album you think about that holiday. It’s the soundtrack to that moment of your life.”
Tackling themes of death and masculinity might feel like a huge undertaking for young filmmakers, even when it’s deeply personal, but these two don’t shy away from a challenge and have thrived on learning through doing.
Doing The Right Thing
One of the most fascinating things about Infinite is that it was never meant to be released. O’Hara and Gamache have constantly been learning on their feet, teaching themselves on the spot, and making a nook for themselves in the industry. The film was going to be kept as a stepping stone for the feature-length version. But with the increasing press surrounding 1917 and George Mackay, fans have been wanting to look more closely at this early work.
“We weren’t going to release it, but people were messaging us, saying, ‘Please release this, please release this’,” O’Hara explains. “We thought about it and thought that if people are asking for it and it sends a good message, then let’s do it. It’s a film that deals with mental health, that shows young men and friendships in a positive light — we want that out there. We want to do the right thing.”
It’s clear they’ve dedicated themselves to these themes and to doing them justice. The public release of Infinite comes at a crucial time in the public discourse of mental health — and we’ll be watching the progress of the feature film closely.