5:03, A short film

After a night out ends in assault, a normally confident PhD student struggles to restore her sense of self.

Written by Amanda Lowry. Directed by Vicki Schairer. Produced by Kara Hume.

Starring Anna Luiza, Sara Mountjoy- Pepka, Andrew Fromer, Jessica Jade Barry and Vicotia Ortiz.

Director of Photography David Hebrero Lobelos. Edited by Alexis Corrigan. Music by Megan Carnes. Sound Designer Michael O’Connor. Costumes by Kristin Pickrell. Production designer Jade Ryser.

Watch

5:03 has been selected for the 2020 Women’s Film Festival in Brattleboro, VT. It was initially scheduled to screen Sunday, March 29 at 12PM as part of the Shorts Program, but has been rescheduled to a later date due to COVID-19.

Director’s Statement

Most depictions of sexual assault seem to either show the traumatic event or the victory in revenge or overcoming. What interested me so much about 5:03 is that it does neither. It takes place in the scary, confusing period when a survivor is struggling to identify and articulate complex feelings and thoughts, and understand what happened. The act of forming a story and telling it is powerful. Studies have shown that telling and re-telling the story of a trauma can help to reduce PTSD symptoms. But putting the events together is not easy, and saying it out loud to another person can be just as difficult. Tracy’s experience in 5:03 is not unique, and it begins before the opening credits and continues beyond the final cut to black. 5:03’s power is partly in how the story isn’t over, Tracy doesn’t get her revenge or her healing. She struggles, like everyone, and must continue to struggle to find a place of healing.

Amanda Lowry was inspired by a class on non-traditional film structure when she wrote the script, and the references to Gil Wolman and Situationist Film are not a coincidence. The layered references drew me in and down a rabbit hole exploring Letterist and Situationist ideas on deconstructing artistic forms and rebuilding from the rubble. I particularly resonated with Discrepant Cinema, where the audio and visual tracks are separated, each telling a different or abstract path. When sights and sounds are dissociated from each other, and when one sentence is dissociated from the next, we as audiences cannot help but try to create a narrative. To stitch the pieces together into something we can package up and understand. It is uncomfortable and confusing to sit without a narrative, but it happens all the time and that is where we meet Tracy, when she is struggling to make sense of her own experience. Situationist Film is what Tracy chose to study and now the sights and sounds of her own life have become dissociated and deconstructed. These ideas that Lowry infused in the script – deconstructed, dissociated elements and non-traditional narratives – became touchstones for me. When confronted with a challenge, I would come back to these ideas and be energized to take more risks and seek more creative solutions.

It was a challenge to tell a story about someone not able to tell a story, but so important to do. It is a common struggle worth recognizing, especially because the moments when we desperately need to tell our own story are often the times it is the most difficult to piece events together into a cohesive narrative.

Bios

Vicki Schairer is a film director and producer based in Los Angeles, CA. She runs her own production company, Vickiville Productions telling stories that explore the triumphs, failures and nuances of the human condition.  Other credits include JUST RELAX, HOW TO COOK AT F*CKING STEAK. Schairer also creates narrative shorts with the collaborative film cooperative, The Outfit. Television producing credits include shows for Amazon Prime, TLC, the History Channel, and Fullscreen. Vicki worked as a theater director, production manager, and arts administrator in the greater Boston area.

Amanda Lowry wrote 5:03. She lives in Hollywood, California and is a development executive at White Horse Pictures in Beverly Hills. Also a playwright, her work has been staged at Chicago Dramatists, The Second City, and Chicago Women’s Funny Festival. She holds an MFA in Writing for the Screen & Stage from Northwestern University.

Kara Hume is the producer on 5:03. She previously produced THE STOOGE, featuring Robert Picardo, written by Christopher Priest (Christopher Nolan’s THE PRESTIGE). Kara is an executive assistant at Echo Lake Management in Beverly Hills, and a member of AEA and SAG(e). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts, summa cum laude, from Brandeis University.