weather icon Clear

Local author ‘Dreams’ of better life

Picture a film where a 12-year-old girl is held captive as a domestic laborer by an affluent family in California.

Imagine this girl befriends a migrant worker named Emilio and through their mutual hardships the two young captives kindle a strong friendship that leads to their escape.

Now imagine that escape leads to their captors’ impending trial that allows them to live their lives freely for the first time.

The film that you are imagining is real and it was written by a Boulder City resident.

Lisa Savy’s “Dreams I Never Had” is a film based on a true story of a 12-year-old Middle Eastern girl named Layla, who was held captive as a domestic laborer by an affluent Middle Eastern family in Southern California.

Savy said the characters in her film really spoke to her.

“I think writing this movie was a really good experience for me because I have never worked with a character like Layla before,” Savy said, referring to the main character’s Middle Eastern origin. “I also like her because she is such a strong female lead — a person who goes through adversity and gets through it.”

The story focuses on the immoral nature of human trafficking.

“The story addresses the issue of human trafficking. An estimated 27 million people are trafficked across international borders each year with 20 percent of them being children,” according to the press release from Savy’s production company, Balancing Act Pictures.

Noted actor

The film is directed by Mahmoud Kamel, whose work has been shown at the Cannes, Venice and Berlin film festivals.

The film features Malcolm McDowell, who has starred in a number of films including “A Clockwork Orange” and “The Artist,” which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2011.

Savy said it was an incredible honor to have McDowell appear in her movie.

“It is so cool to have Malcolm McDowell play in a movie I wrote,” Savy said. “I was disappointed because I was not able to get to Los Angeles to meet him; but it is an honor to have him in my film.”

The fact that “Dreams I Never Had” was produced was a surprise to Savy since the film had been in a constant state of limbo since she wrote it eight years ago.

“I wrote the script eight years back, but the money to make it just kept falling through,” she said. “At one point we had a producer go as far as auditions, but the money wasn’t there. But they finally got the money and made my movie.”

Math professor

Savy is not a full-time screenwriter; most of her year is spent teaching math at the College of Southern Nevada. She spends much of her free time writing screenplays.

“I love to teach,” Savy said. “But if I am being honest, we have a lot of free time throughout the year. I probably have 20 weeks free each year so I spend that time writing movie scripts.”

Savy said her brain functions the same when she is writing a movie script or teaching math.

“Screenwriting is a lot like math in terms of the structure. There is a formula to writing a movie and things need to be structured a certain way to work,” Savy said. “I think that is why I like writing so much, because it works really well with my structure-oriented brain.”

This is not Savy’s first foray into screenwriting. In fact, it is not even the first time the Boulder City resident has seen one of her screenplays produced into a movie.

Her first screenplay, “Defying Gravity,” which Savy produced, was turned into a film that was shown at a number of film festivals, including the Fallbrook Film Festival and the Digital Video and High Def Festival in 2008.

Savy said she learned a lot about the realities of filmmaking from her first film.

“I really learned a lot about the process when I was making ‘Defying Gravity,’ ” Savy said. “I spent way too much money on that movie. If I made it today, I could have made a better movie at half the cost.”

Ideal for writing

Savy said she has thought about moving to Los Angeles where she could find a larger pool of actors, but she loves her home in Boulder City.

“I love Boulder City. I love the people. I love the bighorn sheep that visit me every morning,” Savy said. “The whole town is a great place for a writer; it is beautiful, quiet and secluded.”

Savy said she does not have much interest in moving now that she has made Boulder City her home.

There is no release date for “Dreams I Never Had” as the film is in post-production. A trailer for the movie can be viewed at http://bit.ly/2aWqWzH

While she waits for the release of her movie, Savy is not sitting idly. She is working on new projects, including writing a biopic about legendary salsa dancer Luis (Maquina) Flores called “Maquina.”

She also is working on an Indiana Jones-type adventure with a female lead called “The Amulet of Destiny.”

Contact reporter Max Lancaster at mlancaster @bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @MLancasterBCR.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Homeowners warned of increasing contractor, service scams

The Nevada State Contractors Board is warning homeowners, especially the more vulnerable, like senior citizens and non-English speaking residents, to be on the lookout for unsolicited “too good too be true” offers from door-to-door salesmen or inexpensive home services from sites like Craigslist.

Sorority recognizes women’s achievements

Members from three chapters of Beta Sigma Phi sorority in Boulder City gathered Monday, April 25, night to celebrate Founder’s Day. The celebration also included honoring Cokie Booth as the Community Lady of the Year, Julie Boyster as the Sorority Lady of the Year and Krishun Stanton, who was recognized for 25 years of membership through the silver circle ritual.

Spring celebrated at annual Jamboree

Boulder City’s annual Spring Jamboree is back next weekend, bringing with it many activities for residents and visitors.

Pepper trees drop leaves year-round

Q. I have a California pepper tree near my pool that’s constantly dropping leaves into it. I am wondering if I can lower its height so it will drop fewer leaves and stems. Anything else I should think about?

Veterans museum would be good addition to city

Several weeks ago a headline in this newspaper read, “City seeks help for ways to spend funds.” For some folks, this would be a humorous headline. After all, a government agency seeking advice on how to spend taxpayer money? The funds have been allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act and their actual purpose is to help the city recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The city seeks to gain input from residents and has even placed a small item in its utility mailer seeking spending ideas.

May’s passion for job recognized

A Garrett Junior High School teacher’s passion for her students was recently recognized when she was named the Nevada Association of School Councils’ Middle School Advisor of the Year.

Nevada’s Yesteryear: Camels hauled salt to Austin’s mills

The mining town of Austin, Nevada, didn’t really get firmly established until the early 1860s, on lots laid out by a man selling some of them for $10,000 each and getting his price, too.