Lauren Fash began her film career in 2007. She has held a variety of film crew positions from production assistant to writer to director. I became aware of Lauren when I watched her award winning film Quiet in 2012. Quiet is the story of a woman named Ali who is denied the right to make medical decisions for her partner, Sam, after a car accident renders Sam unconscious. Ali must lie and say she is Sam’s sister so that she can be with her in the hospital in the small Texas town where they live. We see their relationship develop in the past, as Ali’s situation unravels in the present.
The film is inspired by the true story of Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond. I loved this short film (available on iTunes by the way).
JC: You have a varied resume. Your focus is on short narrative films and feature and short documentaries. Every film you have produced is unique and thought provoking. Where does your inspiration come from when you are looking at new projects?
LF: I’m drawn to stories that I have a personal connection to and ones that have a message. Whether it’s raising awareness for a disease or spotlighting injustice, I try to be part of projects that have something important to say. QUIET was my first independent short out of film school and it still holds a very special place in my heart. Janice Langbehn, the woman whose real life experience inspired the film, got in touch with me during pre-production and told me the real story of losing her partner Lisa Pond without being able to say goodbye. I ended up flying to Washington to show Janice the finished film and was fortunate enough to get to know her and the couple’s children. Janice is like family to me now. She gave me the life rights to her story, which is now in development under the title Room For One More. I think this film will probably be the best thing I ever do because Janice and her family have touched my life in such a profound way.
JC: Many of your films focus on rights issues like survivor benefit rights or the right to be with your partner in a hospital. You soon to be widely released feature documentary Out and Around looks at global LBGT rights. Now that same sex marriage is quickly becoming legal throughout the United States and many forms of discrimination are being legally addressed, what will be the focus of your films in the future?
LF: It’s thrilling to be alive during this exciting time for LGBT rights and amazing strides have been made for gay marriage in this country and all over the world. However, as important as legislation is for gay rights, ultimately my work is about changing hearts and minds. Based on historical example, I think that struggle will continue even after the laws change. I’m interested in telling all kinds of stories, though certainly I’m drawn to films with a purpose. A film I’m working on currently, Stan, deals with Alzheimer’s in a new way — from the viewpoint of the person struggling with the disease. This project came about after my grandmother was diagnosed with dementia so it’s definitely another personal story. Ultimately, my goal with all my films is for someone to walk away with a bit more understanding and empathy about a subject.
JC: Lesbian films have been written and directed by lesbians, straight men and straight women. What do you feel a lesbian writer and director brings to the lesbian story table that may not be captured by straight writers and directors?
LF: I think it’s all about perspective. That’s the beauty of film — you get to show people a perspective they may not have seen otherwise. So while I don’t want to say that you have to be a lesbian to tell a lesbian story or a straight man to tell a straight male story, I do think the most successful writers and directors have an emotional connection to their material. A film is a creative undertaking that becomes a part of you so an overwhelming passion for your subject, whether it’s innate or acquired, can’t be overstated. I think an audience can sense when that passion exists and responds to it.
JC: What is next for you, Lauren and how can the LGBT community see your films?
LF: Out & Around will be making its rounds on the festival circuit this year so check out www.OutandAround.com to find out more information. You can also go to my website www.LaurenFash.com for upcoming news on Stan and Room For One More.