Acclaimed author Jay Lake is a prolific writer of fantasy and science fiction. He has won a Writers of the Future contest and won the coveted John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He has been nominated for multiple Hugo and World Fantasy Awards.
Jay’s latest trilogy was inspired by his adopted daughter, Bronwyn. The trilogy consists of GREEN, ENDURANCE, and his newest book KALIMPURA which launches February 2013.
This film started as a story about how Jay Lake had beaten cancer. He had been in remission for several months and everyone was pleased at how healthy he was looking.
We decided to follow Jay for one year, from birthday to birthday (or “JayCon” as he now calls his public birthday parties).
We began filming at Paradise Lost II, a writers workshop in San Antonio, Texas. Jay was a guest instructor with fellow author Steven Brust. He was happy and in great spirits.
We followed Jay back to Portland to cover JayCon 2012. He was among friends and family and was excited about the documentary.
When Jay sat for his first interview in his home, he fondly recalled his madcap childhood as son of a diplomat and his adventures across four continents and sixteen homes before he enrolled at the University of Texas.
His mother, Sarah, sat for an interview and expressed how happy she was at his good health even as she revealed painful memories of a marriage gone sideways and of children she could no longer raise.
Jay’s step-mom and dad, Jody and Ambassador Joseph E. Lake (ret.) told stories of Jay as an inquisitive wild child and constant adventurer.
And, after getting comfortable with the project, Jay’s daughter, Bronwyn, sat to discuss her life as a child abandoned in China who was rescued by Jay and his wife, Susan.
The story of Jay and Susan’s courtship on the plains on Mongolia and their later decision to adopt a child just as his writing career was taking off is a beautiful chapter of this story.
Then, as we were filming, life happened. It started with a call that Jay’s mom, Sarah, needed to be rushed to the emergency room. She was suffering symptoms that mirrored Jay’s initial presentation of colon cancer.
The entire production changed tone as we were reminded that these are real people and that life doesn’t always follow the script.
Jay’s fear and guilt, as if he had somehow doomed his mother to a fate like his, was raw and emotional.
After that incident, the energy of the film changed. We could all sense that there was more bad news to come before we would finish filming.
In August, the devastating news came. Jay’s cancer had returned and three aggressive tumors were devouring his liver.
His first words after learning of the news were to his daughter who was sitting on the couch three feet away.
“Bronwyn, I’m sorry.”
The following scene was difficult to film and painful to witness. It is not what this film was supposed to be about.
As Jay and Bronwyn started calling the rest of the family with the surprising bad news, Bronwyn kept strong and level-headed. And then a family friend offered her words of sympathy and she momentarily cracked and became the frightened fourteen-year-old girl she really was. You will learn much of Bronwyn’s strength and artistry from this film.
Within weeks, Jay was again suffering the desperate effects of chemotherapy. Can he win this game of “kill the cancer, save the patient”?
That’s what we’re hoping for and that is now the film we are making.
We had many wonderful auditions for our film THE GHOST OF A GIRL WHO NEVER LIVED based on the short story by Keffy R.M. Kerhli. It was an arduous task to process all of the auditions and find our perfect cast.
In the coming days, we will announce our entire cast but we wanted to leave tonight’s casting announcement all to our ghost of a girl.
It is with great pleasure that we announce the casting of Maddie Benbenek in the title role of Sara.
Maddie faced some incredibly stiff competition for the role but after the dust had settled, the role was hers. We were very impressed with her audition and are excited to be working with her.
As a veteran of stage and film, Maddie has the chops to tackle this difficult role.
Welcome, Maddie, to the Waterloo Production family!
We will be holding auditions for our short film THE GHOST OF A GIRL WHO NEVER LIVED on April 20, 2013 in Austin, Texas.
Principal Photography will take place over two consecutive weekends in May.
We are currently seeking actors for our two child leads.
SARA – (9-12 years old) Sara is a clone provided by an insurance policy after the death of a little girl. Only, something goes wrong implanting Sara’s memories into the clone and now Sara’s second body has her own identity and doesn’t want to be Sara.
BEN – (10-14) Sara’s twin brother. He knows the clone is not Sara and resents her.
To secure an audition time-slot, please email a headshot/photo and brief background or resume to