Check out Oli Goldberg's phlegm-filled short film Don't Die On Me.

Today is World Asthma Day, and in honor of that, filmmaker Oli Goldberg has given Cartoon Brew an exclusive look at his respiratory-themed short film "Don't Die on Me."

The film hit the festival circuit last year and eventually screened at over 30 events worldwide, including Annecy, Slamdance, Anniver, and Kaboom.

This is an impressive record for any short film, but in Goldberg's case it was also completely unexpected. Don't Die on Me was his first solo film since graduation, and was also meant to be an exercise in the real "first" short film he is currently working on. Goldberg told Cartoon Brew: "It was a very good idea. I don't have an agent or anything. I made this film more as a test. My first short after graduation was an independent film, and I intended to make it on a bigger budget than "Don't Die on Me. But it was well received and became my first real short film.

One of the reasons "Don't Die on Me" was Goldberg's debut film was made possible thanks to an open call from the Gesher Multicultural Film Fund's "90 Seconds of Rest" initiative. According to Goldberg,

there was an open call to make a 90-second short film about "rest" here in late 2020 or early 2021. The open call was a very light concept. All I had to do was approach the theme of rest or pause. So my short is about the awkwardness and weirdness in life, but death is the "pause." The only way to know what it's like to not have this disease is to die. The disease is a part of life.

Goldberg is affable, self-deprecating, and has a sense of humor, so he decided to do something autobiographical in "Don't Die on Me" and spared no gory details.

I had always wanted to do something about issues arising from breathing, asthma, and allergy struggles; back in 2015, I had a really bad ear infection and went to an ENT who told me I had too much phlegm in my ears. I thought, wow, I've been on medication my whole life and this explains a lot of the ailments that affect all areas of my life. All these little problems stemmed from the fact that my body could not perform the most basic function necessary for life: breathing.

From conception to delivery, it took me about two and a half months to put this short film together. Many of the characters and the events depicted in the film were drawn directly from Goldberg's own life experiences.

I wanted the protagonist, who represents me, to be really abstract and wild. So I broke him down into very basic shapes so I could move him around. I wanted the character of my friend on the bench to be more basic. When I got the green light to make this film, a friend of mine who looked a lot like the second guy died. He was a big guy, always joking around, a fun guy, so I thought this would be a tribute to him. He was a very life-affirming person. He could be annoying and overbearing, but he was really a nice guy. In his short stories, he's like the opposite of the Angel of Death.