Highlight: Stepping Out

Billie Eichstadt’s “Stepping Out” takes a short, sweet, and lighter look at obsessive-compulsive disorder. In her director statement she says: “I have always wanted to make a film about a person with OCD like me. Before this, I’d only ever seen one film that portrayed my type of OCD – not the cleaning kind.”

Penny, the skittish and shy lead played by Olivia Grace Fildes, has been accommodating her lifestyle to fit her OCD. She mostly stays at home with her grandmother for fear of the possibilities of the outside world. All this is challenged when Todd asks her on a date.

Penny’s OCD is often very subtly depicted, like when she covertly brushes her hand against her side after contact with Todd or places a puzzle piece in place a few too many times. As she practices to herself in the mirror before she goes on the date, she thinks about different stories to present to Todd to hide the truth of her condition. Finally she pictures herself saying “I have OCD. But it’s not the cleaning kind. Nothing in my apartment is clean.”

There are so many stereotypes out there about mental illness that it’s really important to realize there are so many different facets to every one. It’s refreshing to see one of the most prevalent stereotypes of the disorder challenged.

When she finally decides to go on the date, and put herself out there, it really feels like she is overcoming so much to be “stepping out.” We won’t reveal how it goes, but it almost doesn’t matter—her courage and willingness are what does.

“Stepping Out” played in the second shorts block on Saturday 10/12/19, from 5:50 to 7:00 p.m.

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