The script for Stalled is composed entirely from quotes found in public washrooms.
The story centres on a janitor cleaning a women’s washroom. As she enters each stall, she becomes the woman who wrote the words. Each is dealing with a particular struggle and their honesty is heartbreaking.
Director/producer: Shannon Kohli
Writer/producer: Meghan Gardiner
“Stalled was written by Meghan Gardiner solely using quotes found in women’s bathrooms across North America.
Shocked by a series of graffiti she had seen in a stall in Toronto, Meghan wondered what else was out there. Fast forward three years and she had over eight hundred quotations, which she condensed down to a script. Not one single word of her own was added to the text. The script is one hundred percent, heartbreakingly real graffiti.
When Meghan first asked me to direct Stalled, we discussed the idea of having her play all of the characters. Having seen her in her very successful one woman play Dissolve, I knew without a doubt that Meghan was up for the challenge.
We drastically transformed Meghan’s appearance for each character with the help of makeup, prosthetics, colour contacts, wardrobe and hair. I had previously worked with Doug Morrow, the character makeup effects artist responsible for Capote.
Each character is set in a different era. The issues addressed in Stalled have been happening to women for far too long, so visually, each character has a different look.
Meghan and I had both attended University of British Columbia in Vancouver and found the perfect washroom to film on campus. It was a good size and had a timeless, classic look to it.
Having worked for 10 years as a director of photography and camera operator, I decided to take on both of these roles, primarily because we were shooting in a small washroom, and it was difficult to fit in a regular sized crew.
Although we shot in the same bathroom, the lighting, camera style and the production design were transformed to suit each character’s environment.
We were offered some really nice cameras but all of them were so big, it would have been very challenging fitting them into the small spaces. The director in me took over, and told the director of photography in me that it was not about filming on the most expensive flashiest cameras, it was about the story and the camera that worked best for the small space. We shot Stalled on a Canon 7D.”
About Shannon Kohli
Shannon Kohli was born in Canada but grew up in Geneva, Switzerland. She moved back to Canada to study at the University of British Columbia where she graduated with a BA in film in 2002.
At UBC she studied directing and all aspects of filmmaking. She also directed the short film Exposure.
She specialized in cinematography and won best cinematography for The Night Visitor and Big Shoes to Fill at the POV Film Festival.
Since finishing her degree, Shannon has mainly worked as a director of photography on Canadian films as well as second units on television series such as Robson Arms and The Killing.
She has continued to direct music videos, commercials and public service announcements and second units on larger films.
Recently, Shannon directed the short film Stalled, written by Meghan Gardiner and The Child Inside written by Bill Freas.