Snapshots Brings Love and Life Into Focus
Q&A Written By
Samera Entertainment talks about the new hit film SNAPSHOTS with the film’s writer Jan Miller Corran and what’s next to come for her and her plans for future projects. Make sure to keep reading this Chloe Chronicle’s Q&A for all the exciting details!
C: First off, Snapshots, is such a powerful and meaningful film, so what inspired you to write something like this, especially with an older generation character’s sexuality revealed/questioned?
J: The story is based on the true story of my mother who was 94 years old and on her deathbed when she told me about her brief and passionate love affair in the early years of her marriage. The story is not about an elderly person’s sexuality but about a love that lasts in memory for over fifty years.
C: Do you think it is a relevant and important topic to tackle not only in film but society in general today, and why?
J: I do want to explore sexuality for an older couple in a future film. At one time I was a college professor. One class I taught was “Sexuality and Aging”. It came as a shock to young students that their parents and grandparents actually had sexual relations. The need for human touch and passion is healthy and not bound by chronological age. In a new script I’m writing entitled “Love, Jillian”, I will explore this very topic. In Snapshots there is a generational and personal view of sex as Rose (Piper Laurie) becomes open and accepting as well as the granddaughter’s openness. Stuck in the middle is a rigid mom (Brooke Adams).
C: The movie has three female leads all going through their own personal struggles but helping each other through their experiences, why was it important for you to write such strong female characters?
J: The strength of each character emerges as the story unfolds. Each woman whether from the present day or in the flashbacks to the 1960’s reveals their complexities. Each character is from a different generation with a different view of the world around them. They have arrived at where they are by virtue of their frame of reference. Longevity has strengthened our matriarch, Rose. The veils of judgment and fear have disappeared in her 80’s. The daughter herself has multiple issues of her own. Some of which have been thrust on her and others she has created. Her strength to go on is tested. The granddaughter knows only the present and reacts to the issues in her life as well as the history her grandmother shares in a very different way than her mother. It is a fascinating dynamic.
C: As a writer did you draw any inspiration of that dynamic from your own life?
J: One can’t help but bring experiences from your own life into your writing. Though the characters are in no way a true representation of me, my mother or my daughter, there are references to things from my personal youth such as growing up in the Midwest. Plus, I knew women like Young Rose and Louise (Shannon Collis and Emily Goss) who had a relationship yet lived hidden.
Snapshots Premiere, Los Angeles
C: Explain why you chose the setting/location wise and time period you did to tell this story? And would you define it as a redefining of what a “coming of age story” means?
J: I wanted a Midwest lake setting because I love being on the water. To me the lake is the safe place where sunrises and sunsets are glorious, mornings are crisp and filled with nature chatter, and people are there to relax and enjoy life. I specifically chose the 1960’s for the flashbacks for a couple of reasons. First, I love the vibe of that time and the music. Second, it was a time in history where being gay was not accepted and especially in a Missouri lake town. It was a time when America was on the cusp of change. The counterculture movement was growing at the time in Haight-Asbury in San Francisco. And when John Kennedy became President, the Beatles blew up and Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin emerged this caused a cultural and societal shift. But that shift didn’t yet include gay rights or gay acceptance.
C: What do you hope people take away from this film? What message?
J: Audiences have been the best gauge of what message the film conveys. At our first film festival in Indiana, a young woman came up to me after the screening. She had tears in her eyes and hugged me. She told me that she now has the courage to be open about who she is and to “be bold” like the character Louise and to “live her life not someone else’s” like Rose tells Allison (Piper Laurie/Emily Baldoni). The overwhelming reaction from audiences- men as much as women- is “love is love is love is love.”
C: What as a writer is the next step for you, what projects do you have coming up that you can tell us about?
J: As of now I have just completed a new script entitled Turn Left which I co-wrote with Kate Johnston (Tru Love). We are just beginning our quest to raise funding to make it by spring 2019. In addition, I have three more scripts currently ready to go plus I’ve been asked by a major network to write an eight to ten-episode series. So, writing keeps me very busy thankfully. In addition, I am currently co-producing a film tentatively entitled Follow.
From Left Emily Goss, Brett Dier, Shannon Collis and Max Adler
Emily Goss and Shannon Collis
C: What about this movie makes it a “new age” film in the industry content and story wise?
J: When I wrote the story and then as we filmed I realized that I was not aiming for an LGBT film. Yes, there is a lesbian relationship in the film, but the focus was on the relationship, not the gender. I wanted the film to be broadly accepted in mainstream festivals, not just LGBT film festivals. We did crack that glass ceiling and have won over 30 awards primarily in mainstream film festivals. Snapshots has not been pegged as only an LGBT film. In fact, our “fans” consist of straight people of all ages as well as LGBT.
C: What inspired you to write this script? What does it mean to you?
J: I wanted to honor my mother. Simply put. I never knew the exact story of her relationship with Louise so I created what I hoped was a glorious time in her life.
C: You have been in this business for a long time, since 1995, as both a writer and producer for various successful projects. What do you think in all this time you have learned? And how have you used that lesson in this project and moving forward?
J: First and foremost, I’ve learned that making a film is extremely difficult. Indie filmmakers are being squeezed out of the market as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Apple, and others have become their own production companies. In addition, the quest for funding is a difficult activity that takes a tremendous amount of time to achieve. On the positive side, I’ve met and worked with incredibly talented people. To have the incomparable Melanie Mayron direct my first script was a dream come true. My hope is to make many more films with her. I’ve also learned that what I believed about the story is true. It really is all about the story. Whether a short, documentary or feature film, it is the story being told that matters above all.
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