Women’s History Month is here, and we are pumped to celebrate the awesome woman filmmakers on our platform. There is one we have been itching to tell you about.
Here’s her story:
In the realm of film, there aren’t many like Lara Daans.
Only a select few have enjoyed a career like hers, which spans decades. Fewer still have a resume like hers, having starred in films with notable actors like Andy Garcia, Forrest Whitaker, Daryl Hannah and Cuba Gooding, Jr. Yet, an even smaller number will ever get to star in a film they direct.
Thirty-two years after her first listed acting credit on IMDB.com, Daans made her directorial debut with the riveting, critically acclaimed short “Viaticum,” which you can watch on the itsashort.com platform. What’s more, we are hosting a virtual screening and Q&A session with Daans on March 12 at 9:30 pm (EST)/6:30 (PST).
Tickets are $3 and are available starting Friday, March 6. To participate in this awesome event, please visit this link.
Here is another tidbit you should know about Daans and Viaticum. Few if any directors will encounter a story that feels so personal and so real that it seems ripped from the pages of their own lives. In making the film, adapted from a short story by Maureen Jennings, Daans had to confront some harrowing truths about her childhood.
“It really hit home for me big time,” she said, during a phone conversation from her home in Los Angeles.
Years before Viaticum got made, Jennings’s husband met Daans on the set of a film she had worked on, suggesting she play the lead character. He approached her again at a 2016 screening of a film Daans co-wrote and starred in called “Ice Girls.”
“He just sat there and looked at me and was like, ‘Lara, you have to do Viaticum,’” she said, chuckling as she retold the story. “I was like, ‘oh my God, you’re putting this to me again?”
What’s more, her husband Damian Lee, who has directed over 75 feature films, suggested that she take the director’s chair. So Daans went back to the short story and started writing from scratch. She sent her pages to Jennings who would look them over. Soon, the film took shape.
“It became very personal for me because I lost my father the year before,” she said. Among his issues, she said, was alcoholism.
In the film, the protagonist is startled with the news that her father is on his death bed. This event triggers harrowing recollections of her childhood. The title of the short story and film is taken from the Eucharist administered to a person who is dying and is part of the Last Rites.
Throughout, Daans said, her father’s personal effects appeared in the film, from his car to his ring. One of the film’s crucial scenes took place at her mother’s nursing home. It was a scene her own mother had watched her shoot.
“Everyday,” she said, “my father was present.”
Daans was confronted with the challenge of directing and starring in a film, which meant she had to edit scenes where she was on camera.
“Making those [editing] decisions were very difficult and challenging.”
Ultimately, she made Viaticum into a 29-minute short that is faithful to Jennings’s short story. In making the film, Daans gained an even more invaluable benefit.
Her lesson: “Forgiveness is the most important thing, or we can’t move forward.”
Here’s How the Coronavirus is Hurting the Movie Industry
By now you have probably heard about the devastating scourge known as the coronavirus.
It has infected tens of thousands in more than 50 countries, killed almost 3,000, and has seized entire communities, rocking financial markets and economies the world over.
Recently, media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, outlined how the virus has impacted the movie industry:
“Theaters in China, the world’s second-largest box office market behind the U.S. and Canada, have almost entirely shut down,” according to a Times report.
The outbreak of the coronavirus has led to the closure of all movie theaters in China, which accounts for about 70,000 screens.
That means a drastic decrease in film revenue from last year to this year, particularly during the country’s Spring Festival period.
“During the 2019 Spring Festival holiday alone, box-office sales totaled about $1.5 billion. This year, the key holiday period (which ran Jan. 24 through Feb. 12), generated just $3.94 million in sales…, states the Times report.