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Life Lessons: Local filmmakers

By Nancy Werteen, Anchor / Reporter, NWerteen@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 21 2014 04:00:00 AM CDT

Life Lessons: Local filmmakers

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

We all deal with difficult experiences in different ways.  One Allentown woman teamed up with a friend and made movie about a challenge in her life.

The film is about the one woman's journey taking care of her mother who has advanced dementia.

It was filmed at different locations around the Lehigh Valley and the filmmakers say they chose this topic for a very personal reason.

"I didn't realize my story was such a universal story and talking to everybody, they're just saying 'I feel exactly the same way. I'm really happy you're doing this because I struggle with the same thing,' " says Suzanne Doran.

The struggle for Doran came from losing a mother figure in her life to dementia. So she took her pain and put it on paper, writing an 87-minute film with her friend Jessica Pignataro.

"We'd written a lot of scripts before, a lot of short stories, but I just remember thinking this is the one we need to do, this is the one we need to pursue," explains Pignataro.

The women first met in a journalism class at Central Catholic High School in Allentown.

Now they have their own production company, Tinker Films, and have just finished the film, which is called, "Just Like We Used To Do."

It was shot in the Lehigh Valley using backdrops like Jordan Lanes in Whitehall and Yocco's in Allentown.

It features a young woman, Isadora, who must care for her aging mother who is suffering from Alzheimer's related dementia.

"We also really want to bring an awareness to the disease and that's partially why we did this project because it was such a heart-filled personal story," says Pignataro.

While the two wrote the film together, Doran is the director and Pignataro is the producer.

Doran got the idea for the project about a year and a half ago at 2 a.m. She reached out to Pignataro, who thought it was a great idea.

They wrote the script in about a month and shot the entire film in just 12 days.

"I hope that, for myself, it brings acceptance to other caregivers and other people and they realize that it's okay to move on and it's okay to feel guilty and shame," says Doran.

They hope to show the film at the Civic Theatre in Allentown in June.

Their next film will be a comedy, although they're not giving too many details about it just yet.