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posted Oct 30, 2011, 11:41 AM by Dominic White

What happens when a mother dies young? New Fairfield resident and filmmaker, Luchina Fisher, shares her story.

By November Rawlings  October 20, 2011

On any given Saturday you’ll find Luchina Fisher, her brood of three young boys and her husband David Parr on the soccer fields in New Fairfield. But on October 1st, Luchina was far removed from her typical suburban Saturday. That weekend, she was directing a short film, Death in the Family. Not just any film, but a film written by her and based on her own experience after her mother died from breast cancer at the young age of 45 and left her and her three siblings motherless. 

Luchina is an accomplished journalist and this is a story she has been trying to tell for some time. However writing a story based on your own life, especially a time filled with so much emotion, is not easy. Layer in she is a working mom – she’s an entertainment producer for ABC News -- with three kids and many would ask, where would she find the time? “I will tell you a secret: when you’re doing something you love, time expands to make room for it. I don’t know how, it just happens,” Luchina says very matter of factly. 

In 1986, when Luchina was just 19 and a junior in college, her mother lost her four-year battle with breast cancer. This is where the story begins. In the film, the daughters’ grief is cut short by their father’s need to save himself. “While the films message is universal, the death of a loved one touches us all,” Luchina adds, “it’s how we deal with grief that can either keep us stuck or create a transformative experience.” While October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Luchina hopes her film can be an evergreen vehicle for awareness. 

When asked about her inspiration, Luchina simply, yet profoundly says, “My mom has always been an inspiration. She taught me there is no time limit on your dreams.” Hope Edelman, the author of Motherless Daughters, also helped her get through a difficult period in her life. She says the book helped her realize she was not alone. And then, recently, at a Sundance short films lab, she was inspired by filmmaker Debra Granik, who received multiple Oscar nominations for her film Winters Bone. Luchina has a background making documentaries and she found that Debra approached stories like a documentary filmmaker would. “It helped me realize I could mine my own life experience for a short film,” Luchina says. 

While the story had been kicking around for some time, the rest of the film came together quickly. The script was written in a matter of days this summer and the cast (including Victoria Rowell of Young & The Restless fame) and crew hired in record time. With a submission deadline of mid-November for two of the most prestigious international film festivals looming, time was of the essence, to say the least. Luchina says she is currently in post-production on Death in the Family, putting together a trailer and then editing the final cut. The biggest hurdle right now is raising the funding to actually finish her dream.

When all is said and done, this will be a lifelong dream fulfilled for Luchina, and even she admits she doesn’t know where it will all lead. Much credit for getting the project going goes to the persistence of her good friend Zainab (Z) Ali, the film’s executive producer. “What I realized when Z asked me to take this journey with her is that there never is a good time to do anything – except when you decide to.” So, as she juggles all of her hats: filmmaker, mother, wife among them, some of the realities of the story she is bringing to the screen are also top of mind. “It’s not lost on me that I’m nearing 45, the age my mother was when she died. ”But for Luchina, this film is just another part of what she hopes will be a long and beautiful journey.

For more information, how to support the film and where you’ll be able to see it soon, please visit the film’s website at http://www.deathinthefamily.com/. You can also follow the film on facebook and twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/DITF_film).