The Stairs

Rose, a child of Irish and Italian immigrants in 1968 Brooklyn, attempts to fit in with the boys by joining the game her brother plays with his friend. Their tenement building super and local Deacon starts preying on Rose, until Mrs. Teruli, an old-world Italian healer breaks his hold.

  • Jessica Aquila Cymerman
    The Den, The Mad Ones
  • Jessica Aquila Cymerman
  • Kate Hamilton
    Aspirational Slut, Miss Patti, Just the Two of Us
  • Natalie Britton
    Aspirational Slut, Miss Patti, Just the Two of Us
  • Briella Guiza
    Key Cast
    Ambulance, There's Something Wrong with the Children
  • Guy Nardulli
    Key Cast
    "Mario "
    Tulsa King, Red Notice
  • Jayne Taini
    Key Cast
    "Mrs. Teruli"
    Unbelievable, Station 19, Ray Donovan, The Way Back
  • Natalia Abelleyra
    Key Cast
    Barry, Gaslit
  • Éanna O'Dowd
    Key Cast
    Limetown, Supernatural
  • Allie Schultz
    Kickstart My Heart, Your Monster, Make the Call
  • Jack Lawrence Mayer
    Big House, Single Long, Distance
  • Adrian Wittenberg
    Production Designer
    Tacoma, Two Lives in Pittsburgh
  • Rob Gokee
    The Hypogognic, Stuck in Greece, Delicate State
  • Alex Reeves
    Burning at Both Ends, Silent River
  • Arianna Shining Star
    Shared Space, The Shade, The Butler
  • Deborah Aquila
    Executive Producer
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Period Piece, Coming of Age, Religion, Immigrant
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 59 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 20, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Canada, United States
  • Language:
    English, Italian
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Jessica Aquila Cymerman

Jessica is a film and theatre director, producer and writer from Los Angeles. She splits her time between California, Ireland and Canada.
Film credits include the shorts WHEN DO WE BEGIN?, ONE MORE LINE, THE STAIRS, THE KING KILLER CHRONICLES, THE MAD ONES, and THE DEN. THE DEN (2022) is finished an extended festival run (Winner “Best Director” Vesuvius Int’l film festival; Official selection: Seattle Film Festival, Austin FF, Sarasota FF, Tall Grass FF, Albuquerque FF, and many more).

In 2017 she co-founded the Theatre company, Untold Wants in Dublin (now world-traveling), where she continues to direct and produce contemporary theatre.

Theatre directing credits include Julie: After Strindberg (North American premiere), The Pillowman, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Cock, The Human Ear (North American premiere), Reasons to be Pretty (all for Untold Wants Theatre, co-artistic director); The Gift, Strange Relations (staged readings, IAMA Theatre, LA), Ted and the Right to Die (RCS, Glasgow); Il Cambiale di Matrimonio (Raucous Rossini, Glasgow); The Seagull: A Musical Adaptation (co-writer, Original Production, RCS); Urinetown The Musical; Reefer Madness! The Musical and The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? (Sarah Lawrence).
Assistant direction: La Rondine by Puccini (dir. Ben Davis, RCS).
Assistant directed and associate produced Phantom Owls Production’s collection of seven shows for the Edinburgh Fringe (2015) including Filthy Talk for Troubled Times by Neil LaBute, Fault Lines by Stephen Belber (dir. Matthew Lillard).

She holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, and an MA in Directing from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, with training from Shakespeare's Globe, UK.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

This is an immigrant story. It’s a female story. It’s a child’s story. I wanted to portray the world from Rose’s perspective. At her height and through her eyes. Through her age, her gender, and the era, we can experience the inequities of living under the shadow of a predator. She doesn’t have autonomy over her own body, or the voice to express what’s happening to her. We see her mother struggling with the same limitations; thus, she has to bring in the help of Mrs. Teruli. Teruli subverts all the gender and era norms with her connection to the supernatural. She even subverts the church in her own way. The authority that Mario brings with him not only as the super for the building, but as the local deacon, is powerless against the women once they come together. Rose comes out the other side a little older and more world weary, but armed for the rest of her life with the tools to survive.