Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press
After eight years of writing and submitting screenplays, Michigan filmmaker Lance Kawas got his first script published in 2005 for his work on “Silent Scream.”
Later this year, the Farmington Hills resident plans to release two films and a music video that he wrote and directed in Michigan.
He attended the University of Michigan for management and finance, then worked on Wall Street for a few years, but did not find passion in his work. So he began writing screenplays. Following 138 rejection letters, Kawas landed his first film.
“(The film industry is) full of hardship and heartache,” he said.
Since then, Kawas has written and produced six titles, directed nine and acted in four, producing through his company, Washington Street Productions.
One of his upcoming movies being released this year, “Golden Shoes,” was shot here in 2012, and stars John Rhys Davies, Vivica A. Fox, Montel Williams, Eric Roberts, David DeLuise and Dina Meyer. The movie tells the story of a boy who plays soccer as an escape from issues at home.
The other film being released, “Fractured,” starring Eric Roberts and Jake Busey, is what he calls a psychological thriller about a murder investigation.
“Fractured” was picked up by a sales agent in Los Angeles and will be shown at the American Film Market this month, with showings at local art house theaters, including the Maple Art Theatre in Bloomfield Township on Nov. 24-25.
It has been nominated for best Michigan Feature Film in the Uptown Film Festival where it also will be shown this month in Birmingham. It will also be playing the festival circuit around the country.
Kawas is already looking to his next feature.
“Scott Rosenfelt, producer of ‘Home Alone,’ ‘Teen Wolf,’ ‘Mystic Pizza,’ has signed on to produce the critically acclaimed script ‘The Violinist,’ which I wrote, and I will also direct,” he said, adding the project is in development and he expects to start shooting next fall.
He also said he’s signed on to direct a thriller called “Pound of Flesh,” also to be shot in 2014. It’s a revenge tale in pre-production.
As if all that were not enough, his company, is putting together reality shows, and a comedy TV show to pitch to networks.
The two films he just completed are thematically contrasting, but Kawas said it provides him with a creative outlet to write about such differing subjects.
“‘Golden Shoes’ is light-hearted, so I feel that and I bring it to the table, while ‘Fractured’ is a psychological thriller, filled with drama and emotion,” Kawas said. “You write what you feel, and you write what you think about. And I love the fact that I don’t have to write one genre. Writing is therapeutic, exhilarating and thrilling. At the end of the day when the films come to the screen it’s a beautiful thing and I feel very fortunate about it.”
Another project Kawas will be releasing this year is his first music video, a piece for Detroit singer Majid Kakka’s “ILAMATTA,” a song about love. Kawas said the video was an interesting experience, fitting so much into a small time slot.
For Kawas, writing is one of his passions and something he has done for two hours every day for the last 10 years. Combining it with visuals to share stories with an audience is something he said he enjoys doing.
“I enjoy taking still pictures and making them move,” Kawas said. “Motion picture has always been a beautiful medium for me. Writing itself is my greatest expression of freedom — it is my escapism.”
FYI: Lance Kawas’ production company is Washington Street Productions: http://washingtonstreetproductions.com. You can read his movie credits at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2043863/
To learn more about the Uptown Film Festival in Birmingham, visit http://www.uptownfilmfestival.com.