Last Looks

Based on a true story...
When a death occurs suddenly and the family doesn't respect the deceased final wishes, a friend takes measures into her own hands. The situation is dealt with by showing a whole new meaning to the term friendship, loss, and defiance.

  • Renee Jean Vaca
    Covid Love web series, Pocha, La Voo Doo Femme
  • Renee Vaca
    Covid Love (web series),Normal Heights, Inland Empire, La Voo Doo Femme
  • Kelly Wheeler
    Elementary, The Flash
  • Laura Allen
    Key Cast
    "Visiting friend"
    American Horror Story, Hap and Leonard, Terriers,Awake, Dirt,
  • Andrea Preston
    Key Cast
    U.S. Armed Forces
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 11 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 31, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    4,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Arri Alexa
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Chicago Film Festival
    Chicago, Illinois
    United States
    September 10, 2020
    North America Premiere
    Winner Best Performance
  • Maple Summit Film Festival
    Maple Summit, Pennsylvania
    United States
    November 1, 2020
    North America, Premiere
    Winner Best Short
  • YoFiFestival
    Yonkers, New York
    United States
    November 7, 2020
    North America Permiere
    Official Selection
  • Prince of Prestige Academy Awards
    Land O Lakes, Florida
    United States
    October 15, 2020
    North America, Premiere
  • Jelly Fest

    United States
    North America Premiere
Director Biography - Renee Jean Vaca

Where I came from is just a part of who I am. My parents decisions, circumstances, and social norms at the time determined my start off point. Their karma and family differences kept us in a place of unacceptance, rejection, and confusion. It wasn’t until I started looking at the patterns of my circumstances that I realised even though I never was told by my parents I was less than, the experiences with community, family, and teachers reinforced that feeling. Events reinforced that fact and actions cemented that into my reality. I took every opportunity and used it to the best of my ability. Even when doors closed in my face for reasons I cannot control, my gender, my ethnicity, and my sexual orientation; I just found another way and persisted. I turned my back on the trajectory of my life written by those who raised me and decided to fly with or without support.
So I’m going to start many years later after my educational career at Chapman University, two career changes, and my successful career as a Dept. Head Hairstylist for 706 Guild. 2018 Jan. 31st is the point where my perspective, desires, and soul changed forever. My younger sister was dying. She had been diagnosed with Lupus in her 20’s and when E. coly hit her system it overtook her body. With 5% kidney function, working full time as a middle school teacher, and enduring dialysis daily I decided to give her mine. It was a full year of being tested, poked, and prodded. Making sure I was healthy enough to endure the procedure while being a match in order to donate. So, Jan. 30th 2018 after wrapping out Will & Grace for the 1st reboot season, I headed to my destiny without even realizing it. Driving to my sisters with my dog in the passenger seat, I thought of it as just another day. Was thinking about the feature I was starting in April, going over everything pertaining to wrap in my head one more time, because I knew I would be out of commission for at least 6 weeks. The same neurotic mind game I do to make sure every I is dotted and T crossed. Woke up at 4am on the 31st and headed to Loma Linda Hospital. We took a pic in the parking lot B4 we went in. Something we always do to mark any event. My sister and her wife went to their room and I went to mine. Easy peasy. I was rolled into a large room surrounded by dying people. Everyone was extremely ill and the nurses and Dr.’s seemed like robots. Going through the motions. Seeing the peoples faces with gratitude when the nurse approached with a smile, and as soon as the nurses turned the smile left as quickly as an insincere hello. Now I’m a 100% healthy person, never been diagnosed with anything, never broke a bone in my body and I’m not a fan of pain. I’m watching this live action in complete dismay. Sitting up cross legged on the gurney watching as if it was a movie. I just kept thanking God for my health. As I’m being wheeled into surgery, I see Dr. Bratton, “Don’t forget to take a pic of my kidney Doc!” He waves and gives a thumbs up. I’m honestly thinking of this as another adventure. Hours later I wake up in excruciating pain, surrounded by people in the same pain. It was like a war movie. Sounds of crying, screaming, yelling from people I can’t see, but I can feel. Let’s just say I was forever changed. It took me a full year to recover physically and mentally. I started analyzing every part of my being, circumstance, and choices. What do I want to do with the rest of my life, my legacy, my impact on society. I’ve always been a natural storyteller. Have had the gift of reading rooms, situations, and people. Skills I acquired as a child and perfected through experiences as a young adult. On one of my daily chats with my sister I verbalized, “Jacque, I want to tell stories, my stories. The stories nobody talks about. The cockeyed view of something and being inspired to think about it with a new perspective. I want to write, direct, and produce my own work.” My sis responds, “ So do it.”

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Director Statement

...So I did! First short “Last Looks”, which is titled as an ode to my starting off point as a filmmaker, is about an experience I had with a friend who passed. I knew it was quirky, not everyone’s cup of tea, but I felt there was something there. I just wanted it to have an impact on the viewer good or bad. I wanted uncomfortableness to set in, laugh when you're not supposed to, and then cry when it’s over. I wanted a full gamut of emotion throughout the 6 minutes of undivided attention. We did very well this 2020 award season despite Covid! Best Performance Chicago FB Film Festival, Best Narrative Short Maple Summit Film Festival , and made it to the finals for Prince of Prestige Academy Awards, as well as YoFi Fest the Yonkers Film Festival. Work for the industry completely stopped March 13th 2020. There was no work to be had, but I needed to still create. I felt like a caged animal during this crazy time where my deepest insecurities were right at the surface. The realization that being a workaholic isn’t a way to live and if I can’t be creative it would be the death of me was daunting. So, I started writing a web series called Covid Love, then had a friend join with a camera, and found local young aspiring actors within the community. We completed shooting the pilot during the beginning of the pandemic and currently shooting 2nd episode of Covid Love. It’s about two 13 year old kids finding love during a World Wide Pandemic. How one shows they care 6 feet apart, masks, and only their living radius to explore. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you have time, limited resources, and an idea. During this pandemic I am using this precious time to elevate, create, and pursue my dreams outside of the box. Coming up with solutions not limitations. My name is Renee Jean Vaca and I'm a Director/Writer/Storyteller.