Williams said he didn't set out to create a film about Ethiopian-Australians. However, he took on four Ethiopian advisers to help with casting and development after Yared Scott – who was born in Ethiopia and plays Mr Mathia's on-screen son – landed the role. The director said he wanted cultural advisors to work on the short film to ensure the issues that play out on screen weren't inaccurate or insensitive.

"I'm not an authority on that culture," he said. "You want to make sure if you're writing on something outside of your experience [that] it doesn't trample on sensitivities or mischaracterise anyone. It made the film much more authentic and made it speak to real people's experiences."

Director Charles Williams.

Photo: Supplied

The director, who has worked on short films as well as longer projects in the past, said he also wrote lengthy backstories for each character and even made the actors work through off-camera scenes before shooting.

"One of the things I find really difficult with short films is it's only a week that you work together," he said. "With a feature film, that week is usually the worst stuff and it gets cut because no one's in their groove yet. So we had to get everyone in character and have their backstories so when moments happen on screen they feel authentic and part of something larger."