Vaineta Keraityte, Eleanor Needham, Luke McGarrigle, Drew Hardman, Lauren Walker and Chloe Boston
With loneliness in the elderly rising in the UK, the crew behind the Fifth Stage set out to challenge society’s illusion of elderly life and expose the truth.
Fifth Stage stars David McCann as protagonist Arthur, accompanied by Belinda Fenty as Clair, a beloved carer. The voice of Anni Davey embodies Joy, Arthur’s late sister, the catalyst of the touching film.
Most recently being nominated for 2020’s RTS East Student Awards in the drama, production design (by Chloe Boston) and writing (by Eleanor Needham) categories, the film has touched so many in our community.
Director, Vaineta Keraityte, sat down with Beth Graham to talk about the film.
B: Hi Vaineta! I was so excited to hear that you wanted to talk about Fifth Stage, it’s such a powerful film! How would you begin to describe the film?
V: Fifth Stage is shaped by real people, loneliness and grief in the elderly generation. I wanted this drama piece to capture the essence of the hardship that older people suffer from retirement to the loss of a loved one.
B: The film has been a roaring success gaining 3 film festival selections, 2 nominations and even winning ‘Best Student Film’ at the 2019 Top Indie Film Awards. Tell us about the journey on your character goes on.
V: Arthur’s story in the film is one of loss and bereavement. Following the death of his sister, Joy, Arthur’s life as a widowed elder is deeply disrupted as he begins to fall into a new reality of loneliness. As he attempts to deal with the grief, Joy’s carer tries to bring back light into his life by passing on Joy’s beloved dog, Angie, as her dying wish.
B: Why do you think his story touched so many?
V: It is a tragic drama of the reality of growing old. Many of us have an illusion of our elderly lives to be full of love and surrounded by family. Unfortunately, that isn’t always true for everyone.
B: So, you wanted to expose the reality of loneliness, why from Arthur’s point of view?
V: After looking into different charities such as Age UK, Arthur became a heavily researched representation of real people and the hardships in the elderly community. We discovered that men tend to be lonelier due to the lack of ability to share and convey emotions, Arthur stands to represent that.
B: Not only was this an emotionally crafted piece, it was your first time directing. How did you find the experience?
V: I think directing is by far the hardest thing that I have ever done! Coming from a producing background, I was used to making things happen rather than creating them. Until you’ve directed, you don’t know what it is like, any illusions that I had about directing were completely challenged!
B: It sounds like you all really put a part of yourselves into the film, how has it impacted you nearly a year later?
V: Currently, I am developing a documentary on the topic which was empowered by Arthur’s story. I’m volunteering with the charity ‘Re-engage’ who aim to create a space for those over 75 to come together to spark new relationships. It’s all about forming relationships.
Thanks to @thefifthstage
Directed by Vaineta Keraityte
Written by Eleanor Needham
Produced by Luke McGarrigle
Cinematography by Drew Hardman
Sound Design by Lauren Walker
Production Design by Chloe Boston
Words: Vaineta Keraityte, Film and Moving Image Production, @vaiine
Interview: Beth Graham, Storehouse Content Team, @beth_grahamm
Illustrations: Freya Elise, Storehouse Content Team, @freyaelise
Poster Design: Ellie Ross-Wilkinson, Illustration, @erwdesign_