My education and love of films developed in my early childhood and the precious summer months that I would spend with my Yiayia (grandmother) on “her” Greek island on the Aegean.

Movie theaters operate outdoors during the summer months in Greece and it’s hard for me not to be nostalgic when recalling those magical nights spent under black skies filled with stars, the air fragrant with the sweet smell of night blooming Jasmine.

As the waves of the Mediterranean gently lapped on the shore outside I sat transfixed by the images on that big movie screen.

There were two theaters on the island back then and we had it perfectly timed so that by going out the back door of one we would run down behind the “peroptero” (kiosk) and make it just in time to catch the ending of the film showing at the second theater.

You could walk in at any time as the featured film ran continuously from sunset to midnight and changed every couple of days. I did not mind missing the beginning or the end of the film, in fact, I preferred it as it allowed me to come up with my own.

In fact, in my mind, I was always creating my own films. I would lay awake at night carefully choosing the lead actors, (the lead was always myself looking like whatever leading actress I was enthralled with at the moment. I spent hours making wardrobe selections and creating the perfect interiors to fit the given scene.

If I feel asleep I would go back and pick up where I had left off the following nigh till my “movie” was finished. Some of my films took only days to complete, others took months, often forcing me to take time away from my daytime playtime. And what did I play when I was not in filmmaking mode? I gathered my friends and assigned them parts in production I wrote (in my head,) or I would have them play characters from tv shows that I recreated in the fields across the street from our house. Sometimes my friends’ lack of focus forced me to play several roles at once, and that was just fine by me.

It was many decades before I was able to return to my first love and no matter what I did nothing seemed to fill that void, and I vowed to myself that someday, somehow I would make my own film, for real. Unfortunately, that opportunity did not come till I was well into my 40’s but thankfully, come it did.

I had planned on taking classes in filmmaking, but time went by, life happened and it seemed like every time I took a class in this or that something would happen and I had to quit. I was waiting to meet the right person, to save some money, to take a course but sadly that never happened and the years were going by. At some point, I realized that if I didn’t “go for it,” it would never happen, so “go for it” I did.

I had taken an adult screenwriting class and my professor liked my script. I then met a super smart guy by the pool who like the story and offered to help me cast and produce it, he, in fact, became my associate producer and most trusted friend, (an absolute must when setting on such a monumental task.)

I had no knowledge no experience and no contacts. What I had was an undying, unyielding desire, a strong passion and an unceasing faith that somehow, someway I was going to make my film, and it was going to be good.

I got lucky when the very talented and experienced John Honore came on board as our Director of Photography.

A super and dedicated cast followed and serendipity provided us with excellent shooting locations and resources.

It took a little over two years to write and direct “The Sparkle,” (I also ended up performing in it when the actress designated for the role did not show up,) but that was nothing compared to what came later, something I now know as “post.”

In total it took six editors and a total of seven years to see the film from creation to completion and maintaining faith and momentum during that time was no easy task, in fact, during that time I found Jesus, and that was the greatest gifts of all, in making this film I found my salvation.

So it is in His name and in His glory that I dedicated this film and every other thing I do in my life.

By Lana Lekarinou.

My love of film started on the Aegean Islands…by Lana Lekarinou