In The Public Interest

Local Student Lana Taylor Directs Documentary Film

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Jacksonville, Fla. –October 1, 2018

Astronaut Starbright is about a Young Woman Advocating for Girls in STEM Program

Lana Taylor is the key filmmaker for a locally produced documentary that uplifts and supports young women and their love of all things in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). It also encourages other students to explore the world and universe around them. Lana is a tenth-grade student at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Cinematic Arts program in Jacksonville. She has already written and produced theater productions in the region. 

Filmmaker Lana Taylor

According to Tamara Taylor, Lana’s mother and the documentary’s producer, the importance of STEM education and jobs is a popular topic among students. Even with a presidential priority, too few high school and college students are pursuing degrees in these academic concentrations. The U.S. Department of Labor expects that there will be 1.2 million job openings in STEM related fields by 2018, but there won’t be enough qualified graduates to fill them. 

“Many people would agree that STEM is the key to innovation and job creation in the United States,” she said. “Former President Obama continually references the importance of STEM education in making the United States more competitive in the global economy.” 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has a dedicated program, Study in the States, that includes supporting STEM in schools.

To answer the call for more STEM students and programs, Lana is working with Taylor Richardson, a renowned STEM spokesperson and local student at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla. to create more awareness about the recently created film, Astronaut Starbright. 

Taylor Richardson uses the moniker, Astronaut Starbright, to promote awareness about the film which was produced to support and inspire U.S. students interested in studying STEM related fields. The film also focuses on educating the best and brightest young women in the science fields. Lana and Taylor have learned that some of the most noteworthy American companies like Intel, Google, Yahoo and eBay are helping the U.S. to become a leader in the high-tech industry by supporting the focused education.

Taylor Richardson is among the most promising U.S. students seeking a STEM education and career in space technology and is planning to become an astronaut chosen for Mars travel. 

The documentary film cannot be released to the public until it is shown in October at the prestigious Austin Film Festival with Lana and Taylor speaking at the festival’s Young Filmmakers Panel discussion. The film will also be shown in October at the All American High School Film Festival and in December at the Los Angeles International Children’s Film Festival.

“It’s a film about a young lady’s quest to promote science, technology, engineering and math education among women of color,” said Lana. “While I directed and edited the documentary Astronaut Starbright, it’s inspiring to talk about the film. It tells the story of local student Taylor Richardson’s aspirations to become an engineer and astronaut, and one day to be one of the first African American women to step onto Mars, the red planet,” she said.

Promotional Poster for the film.

In preparation for the film festivals and additional exposure for the 12-minute documentary, the Taylor and Richardson families have created a GoFundMe page to support expenses involved in further promoting the film.  Although Taylor holds many national sponsorships and is supported by numerous film and theater stars and sports celebrities, along with business and political leaders, the work still falls on the young women and their families and friends to get the word out.

Lana is a reader of books and an avid playwright. She first wrote Spoiled Milk and Burnt Cookies, a Christmas play, by hand with copious notes and extreme details. Complete with drawings of costumes and the set design. Then, she typed the production into her computer with hours of effort on her own. The play ran last holiday season at Coastal Baptist Church in Jacksonville with plans for further production locations this year. 

Lana’s parents, Eric and Tamara Taylor are professionals in the business and technology sectors and have supported their daughter’s talents since she was very young. Tamara Taylor works with her daughter Lana on transportation, logistics, film screenings, and marketing the cause-related documentary along with Taylor Richardson and her mother Latonja. For more information, contact Tamara Taylor at 404.405.1334 or email [email protected].

About the author

Bonnie Hayflick

For more than 35 years, Bonnie Hayflick has served as a professional in public relations, media relations, event planning, TV and radio production, and works with social media teams. Bonnie also serves as a spokesperson for her clients. She has worked with non-profits, and for-profit organizations in a variety of specializations throughout the U.S. and Canada. She has written and placed major news stories in domestic and international news outlets and maintains an extensive list of media contacts. She also provides PR counsel for high-profile individuals and public figures. Bonnie graduated from Wolfson High School in Jacksonville and the University of South Florida in Tampa. She lives and works from her home office in historic downtown St. Augustine.

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