THE FIVE STAGES, 12min., USA
Directed by Jessica Orcsik
Eva Allen is a recently single, devastated young woman. She enters a black box theatre being filled with well-dressed and put together people, laughing and drinking. A variety act performance is about to begin.
Get to know producer/actor Hannah Carman:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
At the time of making the film, I was studying full time as a student at the American Arts Film and Television Academy in their full-time Actors Conservatory, and had moved at the age of 18 to Los Angeles all the way from Australia. It was an incredible experience, but also a big emotional rollercoaster. Amid going through all these new emotional challenges, I felt motivated to make a film that explored the complexities of more challenging feelings like loss and sorrow. My coproducer Jess Orcsik and I felt that there was no better way to do that than structuring a short film using the five stages of grief.
I also was really set on making a film that incorporated musicality, as I’m a singer and was surrounded by some amazing singers and dancers that loved musicals like I do.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
Jess Orcsik and I were working on the idea from early September, the film was shot in late November and the final edit was complete by early December last year, so it took about three months to fully complete.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
I would say ‘Theatrical’ and ‘Conceptual’.
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
I think the hardest part of making this film was getting all of the funds together, as I made a GoFundMe for the project and I’d never fundraised for a film before! It felt like diving into the deep end a little bit and it was hard to deal with my fears and worries about whether we could afford everything. However, my friends and family really pulled through and so many awesome people were able to donate and help get the film made. It was really a big group effort to get the project over the finish line.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was so excited and happy. While I’d gotten comments from others at the first screening we had back in December, this was the first time I’d had people that didn’t know myself or any of the cast and crew give feedback on the film. There were some really encouraging comments about everyone's performances and how the concept came together, which was so great to hear since everyone involved had put in a lot of work. It made me feel even more proud of the final product than I already was!
6. When did you realise that you wanted to make films?
I’ve known since I was around 8 that I wanted to act and sing and did acting classes, local plays, choirs and short films in Sydney for a long time. However, I’ve only really become passionate about the production and writing side of things the last couple of years. The minute I started getting serious about performing and started interacting with professionals in the industry, I realized the power of making your own content. I became really inspired to start writing and creating. I spent a lot of time practicing in my own time and attending classes with other creatives over zoom during the 2021 lockdowns.
Making The Five Stages with Jess in LA, which was the first short film I'd ever produced and written, was really the big realization that filmmaking was something that I wanted to pursue as seriously as performing.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Probably The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. That franchise is one I remember always being on the television growing up, as it was my mum's favourite. It’s the biggest hit of nostalgia for me every time I watch it now. I also have watched Mamma Mia a thousand times, as that was the first musical I was properly introduced to.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Honestly, my experience with film festivals has been amazing so far, but I think what I would personally like to see a bit more of from festivals is opportunities to connect and meet with other filmmakers that have also submitted their work to festivals, whether that’s in person or on Zoom. I think allowing those opportunities to be more accessible to a wider group of people would give everyone more chances to collaborate with others.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
Fantastic! There’s so many different festivals on FilmFreeway now. FilmFreeway has really allowed filmmakers from so many different walks of life to be able to distribute and have their films shown easily and efficiently. It’s so accessible and I love that that’s the case.
10. What is your favourite meal?
Definitely sushi and seafood, particularly salmon. Could never get bored eating it!
11. What is next for you? A new film?
At the moment Jess and I are actually working on a musical feature film, which will certainly be a very exciting step up! It’s gonna be a new challenge, but I’m feeling very ready to dive into this next project and keep building and progressing my skills.