by Jennie Fahn
About The Project
A sullen woman in a mundane job, with a demoralizing boss, seeks asylum in the ladies’ room where she begins to receive cryptic notes from the universe.
BREAK is a modern-day fable that transcends age, gender, time, and place. We have all been in a situation we’ve needed to break away from – whether it be at work, at home, on the freeway, at the DMV, at the doctor’s office. We’ve all been somewhere and known that we deserved to be somewhere better. Our protagonist, Tracy, is Everywoman… Everyman… and what evolves promises to leave a lasting imprint on audiences.
I’ve always believed in the magic of the movies. After all, that crushed velvet seat I’m sitting in is a time machine that takes me to the 1940’s and I’m trembling from fear on the train tracks in Germany, or it’s the 1960’s and I’m dancing with a gang of Puerto Ricans across the sidewalks of New York, or it’s the 1980’s and I’m sailing across the moon on a bike. Then I’m magically transported back to my crushed velvet seat, wet with tears of sadness or joy or sheer awe, and I can’t move until the last credit rolls away and they remind me they have to clean up the time machine now.
BREAK is a film that represents a fundamental theme that emerges in many stories I write: the reminder that time is precious. BREAK explores a small window in time for one woman in the doldrums of her sad life, seeking a respite in the ladies’ room, and heightens that reality, giving it an importance that only the moving picture can capture. I intend to use every frame to highlight nuance, tension, and the inner turmoil of every excruciating beat. Suddenly, that seemingly non-descript moment becomes the most important time in this woman’s life. This is the innocuous “break” that wakes Tracy from the stupor she has fallen into at her wearisome position behind her terrifyingly generic desk. Time is ticking. Why waste it?
As I love to see magic on screen, fittingly, BREAK is a magical story and will utilize magical realism. Tracy is a woman who has become numb to her world and her own dreams. I plan to heighten the senses around Tracy: the incessant ticking of the clock, the absurdity of a plastic comb moving through the fibers of her boss’ toupee, the repellant snapping of the nail clippers, the razor-sharp precision of the women preening in the bathroom. Every action will crackle. I find inspiration in the films of the Coen Brothers (BARTON FINK, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS): beautiful, tight shots that penetrate a frame. A simple object takes on a hunger, a despair, or a desperation. In a dreamier fashion, I also delight in the humor and whimsy of Jean-Pierre Jeunet (AMELIE, DELICATESSEN). I love the way he expresses human emotion through inanimate objects, as well as his techniques of elevating light and sound. There are many other filmmakers who have influenced and inspired me, but I plan to draw upon the magic that these filmmakers, in particular, continually conjure up.
As women in this crazy business, we’re often left sitting in chairs, waiting in the wings. We’re excited about being female filmmakers, telling stories about women with a majority of female characters… that holds universal appeal. We look forward to giving our audience the keys to their own little time machines, where they can laugh, cheer, shout, or bawl their eyes out… and eventually get chased out by a cleaning crew that pretty much knows the feeling.