At film festivals this season, Damien Chazelle’s First Man isn’t the only film exploring space, and the people dead set on conquering it—to their own detriment. Premiering in Toronto, Ryerson University grad Akash Sherman’s Clara examines an unlikely bond between an obsessive astronomer (Suits’ Patrick J. Adams) and an insightful young artist (Adams’ wife, Troian Bellisario), bridging the art/science divide at the heart of cinema itself.
Meeting Sherman at a TV conference when the director was still in high school, producer Ari Lantos immediately recognized a visionary talent he needed to support—an artist whose background in editing and visual effects has been a boon to his storytelling in the sci-fi genre.
Approached for Sherman’s latest film by Lantos, Adams initially assumed that Sherman had to be in his 30s, with a number of films under his belt, with the vision and artistic command he demonstrated. Learning that the burgeoning filmmaker was only 21, Adams had a lot to consider. “You’re scared to get on board with somebody so young; you think they’re not going to have the skill set yet to pull off some of the stuff. He had the dream, I just didn’t know if he had the knowledge of how to do it,” the actor admitted, sitting down with Sherman and Lantos today at Deadline’s Toronto Studio. “But after talking to him for a very short period of time, I understood that he was wise beyond his years.”
Reflecting on his experience making Clara, Lantos says Sherman has upped the bar, as far as what young filmmakers need to bring to the table, setting out to get their films made. “With his background in visual effects, which I’m pretty sure is all self-taught, we were able to accomplish a lot more on screen than we would have otherwise been able to afford,” the producer said.
To hear more from the team behind the sci-fi drama, take a look above.