Longridge cinema owner Lara tours international film festivals to showcase her first film

Lara Hewitt showcasing her film 'Datsche' at the Snowdance film festival
Lara Hewitt showcasing her film 'Datsche' at the Snowdance film festival

Cinema owner Lara Hewitt has swopped Longridge for Germany this week - to see her first film featured at an independent international film festival.

Lara. from the Palace cinema on Market Place, is attending the Snowdance Festival.

Her film ‘Datsche’ has been shortlisted for an award with the results to be announced on Saturday.

She said: ”I made the film two and a half summers ago in Germany with an international cast and crew. The festival is for films made outside the studio system. I’m nominated for the best film and best director ...let’s see! I’m one of several nominations.”

Datsche is, explained Lara, a Russian word which means summerhouse. During the communist rule of east Germany residents could not go abroad on holiday but could rent a summerhouse on garden allotments.

She said: “They were little places of freedom. They still have them today. When I lived in Berlin I had one. They had lots of rules about what you could and couldn’t do ... I decided to a film looking at the differences between the German and the international way of life.”

Noting that Berlin had become”very international” at the time of the immigration crisis of 2015 when many refugees came into the country, the idea for the film was sparked.

Her film tells of an New Yorker who has inherited a summerhouse and finds a refugee hiding in the attic there.

The film she says is also,at times, comic, but relates to contemporary issues about immigration and globalisation.The American and refugee become friends, but he does not understand what is at stake for the refugee.

There will be further screenings of the film during the week and then in March Lara will head to America for the Washington DC independent Film Festival.

Lara also saw ‘Datsche’ previewed in October at the Oaxaca festival in Mexico . She said: “It was fantastic, it was great fun.”

She added: “It also played in December in Anchorage, Alaska. I couldn’t go because I was rehearsing the (Palace’s) Christmas Carol.”

Ultimately she is hoping the film will get an online distribution.

• When Lara returns to Longridge she has another local project to launch to mark expected Brexit Day of March 29.

She said: “I am thinking of making a play /a piece of performance. I believe it’s important to mark these times”

Lara wants to speak to performance poets, people who would like to impprovise music or also people with stories relating to Brexit.

She said: “It’s objective. It’s almost going to be like talking heads - people’s different voices, people who voted Leave or Remain, who were 16 and couldn’t vote, who is 86 and fought in the Second World War. We want to collect voices. I want to speak to people who want to contribute."

Lara added: “I believe in ritual and theatre is ritual.”