LANE 1974

Based on Clane Hayward’s memoir The Hypocrisy of Disco, LANE 1974 is the luminous, enigmatic journey of a teenage girl trying to survive an American counterculture.

It's 1974. 13-year-old Lane lives on a beautiful Northern California commune, wild and free, until her mother, a rebel and iconoclast, alienates their small group from the security and safety of the community land. They begin moving from one unlikely situation to another, leaving normal life far behind.

  • SJ Chiro
    Howard From Ohio
  • SJ Chiro
    The Epiphany
  • Jennessa West
  • Mel Eslyn
    The One I Love
  • Kate Moennig
    Key Cast
    The L Word
  • Sophia Mitri Schloss
    Key Cast
    The Kicks
  • Linas Phillips
    Key Cast
    Bass Ackwards
  • Sarah Coats
    Key Cast
    Z Nation
  • Jasmin Savoy Brown
    Key Cast
    The Left Overs
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Coming Of Age, Women
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 20 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 31, 2017
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital - Arri Alexa
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • SXSW Film Festival
    Austin, TX
    United States
    March 11, 2017
    North American Premiere
  • Illuminate Film Festival
    Sedona, AZ
    United States
    June 3, 2017
    Arizona Premiere
  • Seattle International FIlm Festival
    Seattle, WA
    United States
    June 2, 2017
    Washington State Premiere
    Grand Jury Prize - New American Cinema Award
  • Provincetown Film Festival
    Provincetown, MA
    United States
    June 15, 2017
  • Free State Film Festival
    Lawrence, KS
    United States
    July 1, 2017
  • Shanghai International Film Festival
    June 17, 2017
    International Premiere
  • Giffoni Film Festival
    July 18, 2017
Distribution Information
  • The Orchard
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: Video on Demand, Pay Per View, Airline, Video / Disc, Paid TV
  • Lane 1974, LLC
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: Theatrical
Director Biography - SJ Chiro

SJ Chiro graduated from Bennington College with a degree in theater and French literature. She spent much of her early career as an actor and director in Seattle’s theater scene. Her 2006 debut short film Little Red Riding Hood garnered awards for Best Live Action Short at Children’s Film Festival Seattle and Best Cinematography at the San Francisco Women’s Film Festival. Her next film, Third Day's Child, premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival 2008 and screened at the Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Film Festival, One Reel Festival of Shorts, and Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films, among others. Next, her short film Howard From Ohio was awarded a special jury prize at SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) 2011, best short film at Seattle’s Local Sightings Film Festival 2011, as well as the Director's Award at the Boston Underground Film Festival. Her short film The Epiphany, based on a short story by Jonathan Lethem, was made for the Fly Film Challenge, SIFF 2011. This film marked the first collaboration with producer Mel Eslyn. In 2011 a tribute to Jørgen Leth’s The Perfect Human, was commissioned by Seattle's The Project Room. Most recently a collaboration with Charles Mudede, The Third Wheel, premiered at SIFF in 2013. LANE 1974, Chiro’s first feature film, draws on her own experience as a child of revolutionary thinkers who retreated to a communal life in Northern California in the 1970s.

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Director Statement

LANE 1974 may seem like a strange choice for a first feature film. It’s a period piece featuring children, including a three year old, and starring a girl of 12 who appears in every scene. It’s a film which required bringing a handful of essential crew, the young actors and their families, on location in the wilds of Northern California, far away from any major city, and without a mighty budget to help ease some of the pain of shooting remotely. Another filmmaker may have reached for a safer choice as a first film. But I couldn’t.

LANE 1974 is based on Clane Hayward’s memoir, The Hypocrisy of Disco, but also parallels my own life. I grew up on the communes of Northern California in the 1970s. I remember the ever present sense of danger, the extreme outsiderness of our lives, and I vividly recall the great fear that if I stayed in that world too long, I would never be able to function in the straight world. Yet, as a child, I was stuck with the choices of my parents.

Although at the time I felt isolated and alone, I’ve come to realize “outsider” childhoods were not as uncommon as I had thought. The outpouring of support for this story has been overwhelming. Once we “outsider children” struck out on our own we tried our hardest to “pass” in the mainstream world, but we were carrying (what we thought was) a shameful secret. LANE 1974 is the outing of that secret, and the honoring of “outsider children”. Now, in adulthood, some choices my parents made seem bold, brave and even thoughtful. The difficulties of raising children, of trying one’s best and failing miserably, have come into greater relief. LANE 1974 addresses themes I can’t shake as a filmmaker: childhood, loneliness, and the struggle with the particularly American concept of independence. LANE 1974 shines a spotlight on an intense time in American history that has been swept under the carpet.

Inspired by filmmakers who have taken on films they felt they couldn’t avoid (Fitzcarraldo, Apocalypse Now), and armed with Sophia Mitri Schloss, a profoundly intelligent, talented young actress, and my fearless producing partner Jennessa West, we plunged in, head first. We went back to the land I grew up on, for the specific light, the golden grass, the redwoods, the rolling hills, the fog and the vast ocean of my memory, to illuminate a hidden girl’s life during arguably the most turbulent, troubled year in recent American history, 1974.

Although a period piece, this film is more relevant than ever as we as a culture begin to challenge the helicopter parenting that has become the norm, and as we challenge our societal embrace of coddled lifestyles, overly dependant on technology.

Making LANE 1974 took every memory I had, every feeling of anger, of abandonment, of terror, of emptiness, of loss, of connection, of longing, and of love. I am grateful to share it now.