Private Project

Stranger in the Room

A deeply personal film that reflects on the traumas of a struggling writer dealing with crippling anxiety and depression. With no choice but to face her inner demons, the woman is met with overwhelming feelings of regret, self-loathing, and shame. An introspective conversation with a precarious stranger, functions as the guiding force that navigates the winding rabbit hole that is the woman’s mind. As the questions become more invasive, the intimate exchange drastically takes a turn. Resulting in the woman’s emotional descent into madness, as the stranger grows colder and more detached. A chaotic verbal onslaught captures the intense final moments between both characters, leaving nothing but sorrow and desolation in its wake.

  • Anthony Paulino
    Divide Time To Breathe, Here, Kitty Kitty, Strangers on a Subway
  • Anthony Paulino
    Divide Time To Breathe, Here, Kitty Kitty, Strangers on a Subway
  • Grace Wood
  • Vijaykumar Mirchandani
    Coming Out with the help of a Time Machine, Divide Time To Breathe, The Last Jam Jar, Paese Che Vai, Love Can't Be Locked Down, The Process, Habaneros, Where The Streets Have No Name
  • Jessica Hottman
    Key Cast
  • Steph Van Vlack
    Key Cast
  • Jorge Alvarez
    Executive Producer
    Divide-Time to Breathe, Red Rose, Stolen Innocence
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Thriller, Psycho-Triller, Drama
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 53 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 31, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    8,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • North Europe Film Festival - London Edition
    United Kingdom
    June 27, 2022
    Europe Premiere
    Nominee - Best Actress in a Short Film / Best Story
  • Katra Film Series
    New York
    United States
    June 15, 2022
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • 16th Street Productions
    Sales Agent
    Country: United States
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Anthony Paulino

"Make films that resonate with people." These are words that ring true for any filmmaker. But for him, they’re the foundation that carry his passion. Driven from the time he was 20 in a city full of ambitious artists and entrepreneurs, the inner-city youth took any opportunity that would help further his dream.

Anthony was born in the central city of Bonao, Dominican Republic. Migrating to America when he was 6 years old with his mother and 1 year old sister. As a child he was highly influenced by the colorful stories of Japanese anime, influencing his artistry and creativity immensely. He would sit for hours drawing his own characters, naming them and creating their own personal backstories. This would eventually carry over into his college years, when an unsure 19-year-old Paulino decided to follow his path in animation.

However, he quickly realized that this was not for him. Instead, it was the introductory media production course that same semester that would be the gateway to his true calling. Anthony immediately fell in love with the process of filmmaking. From writing, planning, shooting, and editing. It was the fulfilment of this all-encompassing experience that satisfied him more than anything.

While in college, he went on to create a number of short narrative films with the help of fellow students. The first being the eerie Here, Kitty, Kitty, that bagged an official selection at the 2019 CUNY Film Festival. Followed by the awkwardly relatable Strangers on a Subway that earned him a certificate of participation from the Asian Research Institute at the 2019 CUNY Asian American Film Festival. And even the campy horror Sleeping Forest that received positive reactions at Luv Story’s indie open screen in 2019.

After graduating, Anthony met FilmCloudStudio founder Jorge Alvarez, who quickly brought him onboard the production of his gritty introspective drama Stolen Innocence. The film was screened at the 2019 International New York Film Festival. This began a fruitful partnership between the two filmmakers, subsequently teaming up to write and produce the spy thriller Red Rose the following summer. Since then, Paulino has joined the team as a fulltime member of FilmCloudStudios staff, helping write, produce, and direct multiple projects, including their upcoming family drama “Divide –Time to Breathe” aimed to be released in 2021.

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Director Statement

I would describe my journey with anxiety and depression as volatile, to say the least. As a child I didn’t possess the necessary self-awareness to identify what I was going through on an emotional and psychological level. I lacked any real knowledge of mental health, and frankly, didn’t have anyone in my life that could effectively guide me through the process. It wasn’t until I was an adult and had committed many mistakes, that I became cognizant of the vicious pattern I had perpetuated. I noticed that many of my negative qualities were directly linked to my anxiety and lack of self-worth. Years of unsupervised neglect had caused countless harmful thoughts to fester. In time, they would manifest themselves as toxic actions, reactions, and behaviors, most commonly in the form of anger.

This film is the most personal project I’ve made to date. Not just for myself, but for my co-writer and real-life partner, Grace Wood. We had written the story in her apartment during the final weeks of winter in early 2021. One of the cornerstones of our relationship has always been the level of empathy we’ve had in relation to our personal upbringings. We were able to relate on such an enate level, that collaborating creatively came naturally. Most of the films I’ve created seldom hold the same sentimental value and personal meaning that this one carries. Typically, there’s a degree of separation between I, the creator, and the narrative itself that prevents me from being truly vulnerable with the audience. However, this is the very first time I’ve been able to wholeheartedly pour my existence onto the page and it be depicted on screen for the world to see.

This short yet impactful 11-minutes are, in essence, meant to act as a pseudo love letter - to not just myself, or to Grace, or anyone else I know - but many others going through the same collective hardships all over the world. My intention is for the narrative to serve as a universal inspiration for us to communicate with our present, past, and future selves - and motivate the deeper understanding of our own angsts, insecurities, flaws, and overall unhappiness. I hope that those who watch it can walk away with at least a small semblance of catharsis, fellowship, or overall empathy for others with similar mental and emotional obstacles.