SJ Chiro graduated from Bennington College with a degree in theater and French literature. She debuted as an actor and director in Seattle’s theater scene. Her 2006 debut short film LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD garnered awards in Seattle and San Francisco festivals. Her next films, THIRD DAY'S CHILD and HOWARD FROM OHIOwas presented in several festivals. Her short film THE EPIPHANY, based on a short story by Jonathan Lethem, was made for the Fly Film Challenge, SIFF 2011. LANE 1974, Chiro’s first feature film, draws on her own experience as a child of revolutionary thinkers who retreated to a communal life in Northern California in the 1970s.
“LANE 1974 is based on Clane Hayward’s memoir,The Hypocrisy of Disco, but also parallels my own life. I grew up on the communes of Northern California in the 1970s. I remember the ever present sense of danger, the extreme outsiderness of our lives, and I vividly recall the great fear that if I stayed in that world too long, I would never be able to function in the straight world. Yet, as a child, I was stuck with the choices of my parents. Although at the time I felt isolated and alone, I’ve come to realize “outsider” childhoods were not as uncommon as I had thought. The outpouring of support for this story has been overwhelming. Once we “outsider children” struck out on our own we tried our hardest to “pass” in the mainstream world, but we were carrying (what we thought was) a shameful secret. LANE 1974 is the outing of that secret, and the honouring of “outsider children”. Now, in adulthood, some choices my parents made seem bold, brave and even thoughtful. […] LANE 1974 addresses themes I can’t shake as a filmmaker: childhood, loneliness, and the struggle with the particularly American concept of independence. LANE 1974 shines a spotlight on an intense time in American history that has been swept under the carpet. […] We went back to the land I grew up on, for the specific light, the golden grass, the redwoods, the rolling hills, the fog and the vast ocean of my memory, to illuminate a hidden girl’s life during arguably the most turbulent, troubled year in recent American history, 1974”.