By Mackenzie Dineen – Arts Editor
Professor Cheryl Eagan-Donovan teaches screenwriting at Lasell, but her film experience goes above and beyond the classroom. Eagan-Donovan’s latest project is a film titled “Nothing is Truer than Truth.” She directed the film, which is an adaptation from the book by Paul Hemenway Altrocchi and Hank Whittaker. The film documents Edward De Vere, a man discovered to have used the pen name William Shakespeare.
“[First] I had to convince the writer that I was the right person to make the film,” said Eagan-Donovan. She began filming interviews and ran a Kickstarter campaign for her trip to Italy.
Eagan-Donovan, a Venetian native, location manager, and a camera man, all journeyed to Venice, Verona, Mantua, and Padua to film on location. The film’s original score is inspired by composers Nina Rota and Ennio Morricone. In addition to playing at the Oberon Theatre in Cambridge and the Boston Public Library.
Eagan-Donovan serves on the Board of Directors of Women in Film & Video New England and is currently on the advisory committee. “It’s a great way for women to get connected and work in the industry,” said Eagan-Donovan. “A lot of people say, ‘Why do we need this organization?’ [Or say] ‘We have all of these rights now,’ but it’s not true when you look at Hollywood, it’s still unbalanced.”
The organization awards scholarships, holds networking events, and has screen- writing contests. “The best way you can advance your career is networking,” said Eagan-Donovan.
“All Kindsa Girls” was Eagan-Donovan’s first documentary, featuring punk band The Real Kids. She was writing memoirs about her experience as a punk rock band manager when her writer’s group proposed that she create a film about it. She had access to the musicians and traveled to France to film them.
“I tried to let the writer himself be the narrator because he’s quite a character, and contradicts himself all of the time,” said Eagan-Donovan. Eagan-Donovan was shocked by the success of the film.
“I have to give all the credit to the people who helped me,” she said, citing co-producer Steve Mang. It played at music festivals in America, Canada, and England, and had an art house run at the Coolidge Corner Theater, the Gene Siskel Film Center, and Alamo Draft House.
Eagan-Donovan is also the founder of Controversy Films and acts as both a producer and a director. She is also a manuscript consultor, and helps screenwriters develop their screenplays and brands. “I love it, to me it’s really exciting when someone has a story that they’re really passionate about and you can see the potential,” said Eagan-Donovan. “[O]ne of the best things you can do is volunteer at film festivals.”
Eagan-Donovan graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and wrote publicity for bands and several indie films. She started writing original screenplay ideas herself after college, and currently has one in particular that she would like to produce. While teaching at Grubstreet, she heard about a job opening at Lasell and decided to apply. She also teaches a public relations course. “I love teaching here, the students seem to be highly self-motivated and focused, they seem to enjoy it, and be engaged,” said Eagan-Donovan.
When asked what makes a great film Eagan-Donovan said, “[E]ither show people something they’ve never seen before, either behind the scenes looking at something we already know, or looking at something in a new way. A screenplay has to be visual, and the pacing has to be good.”