Stalemate takes place on three levels of reality, telling one woman’s story on different layers of narrative and weaving through multiple interpretations of truth and manipulation of facts through fictional representation. The film portrays the unraveling of a relationship as a story within a story within a story, moving interchangeably between a reverse and forward chronology of events. The broken and convoluted narrative represents the mirror of a mind coping with emotional stress—the lies and fictions we create on top of our own realities in order to cope with pain and loss.
A DIY filmmaker named Julia (played in different manifestations by Sarah-Doe Osborne, Catarina Morgado and Nadia Kiyatkina) is filming the story of her relationship gone awry, while she has cast Clive/Brian/Jason (William H. "Billy" Frey III), the boyfriend who recently left her, as her leading man. With the stress of confronting her loss combined with the pressure of making her film, her mind begins to balk, as she experiences unraveling fits of jealousy, delusion and paranoia. She is coping with change, coping with the past, slowly coming to terms with the fact that something she thought would last forever is irretrievably fading into memory.
The project began in 2012 as a short story written by Brooklyn artist Billy Frey (which was the first episode of the series and first scene of the film) and was intended to be a short film. John saw potential for a longer narrative and wrote six more 5-10 minute episodes. Episodes 1-3 premiered online before a decision was made by John and Billy to evolve the project again into a longer feature-length project. The remaining four unseen episodes and two newly shot scenes were combined with episodes 1-3 into the current 60 min. cut. It is now complete with the goal of a 2014 festival screening.
Screenplay by John C. Koch from a story by William H. Frey III. Direction, cinematography and editing by John C. Koch.