Video

Five Stories

December 24, 2006 • Short Film • Director: Alan Lastufka

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiqdUsRAPsk

Five Stories is a 2006 short film I wrote and directed. It is told in a thirteen-stanza narrative poem, utilizing intertitles to narrate the story.

The short film was released on DVD (as Pressed Between the Pages #2.5), on YouTube, and aired multiple times on TV, broadcast by the Independent Film Channel (IFC).


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Plot

In a dream, my brother and I enter a five-story house, each of us carrying one empty box. The house is filled with our memories, which have materialized into framed photos and inanimate objects on end tables or bookshelves. Starting on the first floor, the two of us have to weigh which memories are important enough to put into our respective boxes. The boxes have a finite amount of space, so some hard decisions have to be made. The passed over memories will be left behind and forgotten.

As we reach the third floor, a fire breaks out in the basement, engulfing the memories we’ve left behind. The fire covers ground faster than either of us can. It chases us up the stairs to the attic with everything we had to leave in the lower floors being destroyed and lost. The only exit is a single window, five stories above the front yard. My brother jumps to safety in time, I hesitate and am engulfed by the fire.

Production

The house conceptual design was illustrated by Lee Baillie (My Brain Hurts, Freewheel) based on my descriptions. In addition to the house design, Lee also illustrated a few of the key scenes to be included in a possible published zine, before the decision to produce a short film was explored.

Once the project moved beyond a published zine into the video realm, I designed the house in Cinema 4D. This model was used to render 3D shots of the House’s exterior for the final Five Stories film, while the interior shots came from an inexpensive handycam.

Score

I wrote the original score with Robert Randolph, and we performed it together. It’s an instrumental version of our single “Roses and Overturned Ashtrays“, originally released on October 25, 2005 under the band name The English Language.

Television Broadcast

Five Stories aired four times on the Independent Film Channel (IFC) in May of 2007. The show times were as follows:

  • Mon 05/07/07 12:40AM
  • Sat 05/12/07 07:45AM
  • Tue 05/22/07 06:55PM
  • Wed 05/30/07 12:50AM (all times are EST)

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2k HD Restoration

When originally rendered for DVD and online streaming, Five Stories was released at a resolution of 480i. At the time, this was the highest quality home video players could handle, but it is a low quality picture when compared to standards just ten years later.

In December 2017, I went back to the original video, 3D model renders, and vector elements to completely restore Five Stories at a resolution of 1080p. The original video files were carefully upscaled, while all of the original vector files existed for the intertitles, so those were rendered in native 1080p. All of the FX compositing layers were then re-rendered for a higher quality picture. I also re-mixed and remastered the audio from the original multitracks for the new 2k restoration.