Darla Rae is Competing in the Pre-production REELPITCH Challenge

August 11, 2016

How did you get inspired to become a filmmaker?

When I was seven I saw Sound of Music in the theater and watched Julie Andrews twirl down that mountain and I never forgot how I felt after watching that on the big screen and how it made me feel. That is when I knew I wanted to make films and make people feel. I just had no idea how I was going to do it and in what capacity. It was about looking at all the pieces needed in order to make that come together. I still want to twirl down that mountain to this day. When I finish a film or complete a task associated with making a film project in my head I see that little girl twirling down that mountain.

What is your favorite part about the short film form?

The short film form allows more people to explore the opportunity and creativity of filmmaking. Some people will never make a feature film but enjoy the creative process and that is a good thing. Its an opportunity for anyone who has a desire to make a film to have the ability to do so.

Who were the people that supported the making of this film?

I had tremendous support creating this teaser for our SAG indie feature The French American. We had numerous WWII reinactors who were amazing.Greg Kyle served as our WWII historian. Alex Gray did a great job editing with FX, My team on set shooting did an incredible job putting cameras in some pretty unique places in order to get some fabulous angles. DP David Grauberger, Jesse Todd, and Pablo, and Norman all did amazing work out in the woods for both the US and German convoys. Carlos and Russ were our experts about our ground vehicles. Our composer Rob Pottorf hit the nail on the head with our epic sounding score. The EAA gave us permission to shoot on one of 11 flying B17’s that exists in the world which in itself is historical for an indie filmmaker. My screenwriter Karen Hemmerle worked really hard to help flesh out the screenplay for the feature film. My AD Anastasia Cummings did a wonderful job helping this teaser to come to fruition. Most importantly the retired WWII veteran and his family along with numerous veterans and military family supporters who are standing with us. We are grateful to all of those who supported us in making this teaser and look forward to making the feature soon.

What resources do you use as a filmmaker? Music, locations, props, editing, crew, etc.

As a filmmaker I use all resources like music, locations, props. Crew both on set and in post production. But the biggest resource is I never take NO for an answer. There is always a way. It may not be what I initially thought but I always look outside the box or I ask myself and others to dig deep. I say what are we Not thinking of. It’s such a collaborative effort.

What is your next project?

My next project is the feature film The French American. This film is to pay honor to a 95 year old veteran who had a dream to share his amazing love story which he has carried around for over 70 years. We desire to bring it to the big screen for he and his family and others like him.

Darla Rae

The independent film business is a difficult one. What keeps you motivated? Where do you see the industry going in the future?

What keeps me motivated is my passion to create and to move people with our stories. I desire to learn more and share what I learn with other young women and men who have a desire to learn. We spend so much time in Hollywood doing remakes that I think were missing real opportunities to see what other creative genius is waiting to explode on the scene.

Which filmmakers, artists or individuals have most influenced your work?

I think those who have enfluenced me the most have been Penny Marshall, Cher, Carol Burnette, Cyndi Lauper and my seventh grade homeroom teacher Marilee Mohajer. I grew up watching Penny, Cher, and Carol on TV and met them all while watching them work. Cyndi has been an influence to me because she just keeps getting better. She didn’t have the marketing that Madonna had but it was about creating and she’s still doing it. But my seventh grade teacher gave me my first speaking role as an actor. She allowed us to be creative and try things in a different way. She encouraged us to create and to dream. She believed in me and we are still friends today. She taught me to not take NO for an answer. My mother was very young when I was born and she was by far the best influence ever. She was my cheerleader.

What advice would you give new filmmakers?

Listen to those who have come before you because they may have info that you are lacking and tricks of the trade which you may otherwise not know. Then get out there and make your own path. Go make films. Just do it. Don’t listen to the Naysayers.

Anything else?

I did not go to film school but I started learning by watching TV shows being filmed in person back in the 70’s. I did everything I could to get on a movie set. I started acting at the age of 8 and transitioned from stage to film working as an extra and in any capacity so that I could learn by working in the industry. Back in the day I thought I could only be an actress. Nobody ever told me as a young girl that I could be or should dream of being anything else, and certainly not a producer, director, and writer. I did not make my first film in this capacity until I was in my 40’s. Now I’m in my 50’s and I want people of all ages to be encouraged to never give up. I certainly have no intention of giving up. I recently watched an interview with the oldest living PGA golfer living who is 104. He still loves the game and plays 2-3 times a week. I remember thinking how truly inspiring it is to do what you love always. While I’ve made other films The French American is by far the most important and definitely the most ambitious. I know we will be successful making this film because I have an incredible team which I am working with all who are ready to go above and beyond to tell this story and preserve an incredible piece of US and French history through our film. A team desiring to make a 95 yr old veteran’s dream come true. I am so grateful to everyone involved. We are all grateful to have this opportunity and want to share it with everyone.

Watch and vote for The French American.

This pitch is competing in the REELPITCH Challenge, Remember you can vote once a day for the duration of the contest for as many pitches as you deem worthy!


Aug 09, 2016 at 9:00am MDT (America/Denver)


Aug 18, 2016 at 9:00pm MDT (America/Denver)

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