Donna Laslo has always believed in the power of storytelling, especially through the lens of film. That love inspires her to help lead the Orcas Island Film Festival, along with her co-producer Jared Lovejoy and chief curator Carl Spence, former curator for Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). In its seventh year, the festival has attracted top filmmakers, including producer Marc Turtletaub (Little Miss Sunshine, Vida) and director Jean-Marc Vallée (Wild, Big Little Lies, Dallas Buyer’s Club) who describes the festival as “a little piece of cinephile heaven in the middle of Puget Sound” and has stated his plans to return every year to help the Orcas Film Fest team.
After you read this, check out some curated film picks from the Festival here.
Why a film festival on a remote island?
This is the perfect place to watch a film then take a walk through the forest and use that quiet emotional space to contemplate. Our community may not look diverse, but we are an island of change-makers, hungry for culture and for diversity. The festival along with the films we show all year, become windows into places and cultures, a shared experience, that our islanders—many of them over seventy—may not be able to access much longer.
You started out as an actor in your teens, later training with the famous acting coach Sanford "Sandy" Meisner. Tell us how those experiences impacted your life and how they inform life during COVID-19 and #BLM.
As an actor I was taught to dismantle my belief systems and my cultural reactions. Only then can you respond from an authentic place. It’s the same in everyday life.
I love that. It allows you to come to a situation with less prejudice.
Exactly. Sandy also used to say “Live moment to unanticipated moment.” I still use that today as a tool to practice authenticity in every day life. Very helpful in these very uncertain, constantly changing COVID times.