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As the clock strikes 2:22 a.m., a young woman is awakened from her peaceful sleep and thrown into a hellish memory of what happened the night before. Shrieking as her world spins out of control, and with blood everywhere, she jumps out of bed and onto the cold tile of her bathroom floor. Her screaming continues as she begins to flash back to what began as an incredibly fun night out with her girlfriends. However, as she pieces together the grisly sequence of events, she gets closer to finding out the truth. But is it now too late for her to be saved?
2:22, a short film written and directed by Steven Shea and produced by Tim Anderson, is a powerful story of the ultimate horror: losing one’s memory and the consequences thereof. It has been taking the festival circuit by storm, having played and won awards at the likes of Spain’s prestigious Sitges event, Screamfest LA, the Freakshow Horror Film Festival, the Orlando Film Festival and the Melbourne Independent Film Festival. Shea remains excited about the film, the product of an extreme schedule that saw a three-day whirlwind of principal photography followed by an intense three-week postproduction process in order to have the film ready for the festival gauntlet. “After being beaten, bloodied and shot at during production,” Shea tells us, “it was amazing to see our horrific vision come to life.”
Short films are traditionally calling cards for filmmakers—showcases for their writing, directing and filmmaking skills—and 2:22 is no different. “We made it for about $1,500 over one weekend,” Shea reveals, “yet it has a very slick look; it’s provocative with a great score. Tara Lightfoot, our lead, gives a no-holds-barred performance and was really the backbone, because everything centers around her.”
That budget figure is certainly startling in and of itself when you witness the movie’s remarkable production value, and it speaks to the serious nature of Shea and his team. “It was a three-day shoot; we did one day into night and then a night shoot. We rented the [disco] club when it was closed and brought in all the extras. We spent nine hours there. Of the three-day shoot, the bathroom scene was the most intense, and the hardest as far as lighting was concerned, given how small the space was. It was really a challenge.”
And Shea pulled it off. Actually, he managed to pull many things off, things that had been waiting in the wings for some time. “I wrote the story about eight years ago,” he explains, “but it took until now for me to get the money together to make the film at the quality level it has now. We had kind of shelved for a while. It’s sort of ironic that the subject matter is as popular as it is in today’s culture. It’s just a coincidence and the right timing. I would talk more about that subject matter, but this is a ‘reveal’ movie and I wouldn’t want to give it away.”
Shea is one of those fortunate aspiring filmmakers for whom a day job is not a must to support his craft. “I have a multimedia company in Orlando called Abyssmal Entertainment,” he says, “where I focus on video production,” along with photography and graphic design in the down time between productions. “I am very lucky and blessed. 2:22 is already getting us attention from management companies and agencies. We’re trying to get some representation in LA to help us get backing for projects we want to do in the future.”
2:22 is now available to the public via streaming video and DVD, the latter of which is chock full of special features; you can find more information at the official website. Meanwhile, Shea has continued to enter 2:22 into as many fests as possible, and the film was an official selection at Cannes, Atlanta, Chicago and at least nine other esteemed events. He sums it all up thusly: “I would say overall I wanted to try and create an environment for the audience to go through what the characters are going through, and we tried not to hold anything back, aiming not to be gratuitous but to be powerful. And that power really comes through fantastically via our lead. We didn’t want anyone to know what is going on. It is supposed to be a big reveal. It’s a big twist.”
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