Screen Time: Behind the scenes of ‘Days of Daisy’

“Surrender to your story,” says actor and producer Jency Griffin Hogan. That is how her first full-length feature, Days of Daisy, came to be. After showcasing her talent with several short films and two Louisiana Film Prize winners, a friend encouraged her to share her own story by putting it into production.

“I was 40 and married and we were not having children,” she explains. Husband Aaron chimes in, “I always said ‘no kids; we are not having children.’” After eight years of marriage and with an unflinching resolve and mutual understanding, Jency knew she needed to grieve the inevitable truth: children would not become a reality. “Out of the pain, I bullet-pointed my story—Daisy’s story—and hired writers to create the script.”

Jency’s bright smile touches her eyes as she talks of how the film project took flight. “The moment I put my energy into producing, I felt the wind at my back and all this support and momentum came rushing behind me.”

Six months after the film’s debut at the Dances with Films festival in Los Angeles, Days with Daisy’s red carpet Louisiana premiere will take place December 4 at Manship Theatre. While the 6 p.m. showing is sold out, tickets to the 2 p.m. showing are available. Filmmakers Jency and Aaron Hogan (pictured here) will conduct a question-and-answer session with the audience after the showing. Photo courtesy of Jency Griffin Hogan

The main character, Daisy, is played by Jency: a single librarian pushing 40 with no romantic prospects in sight. Bryan Langlitz plays her opposite, “Jack,” in this lighthearted romantic comedy that Jency calls a “Baton Rouge darling that celebrates the arts and takes a different look at parenting.” Shooting around the city, Jency and Aaron worked together in several capacities: raising money, finding investors, locating and securing film sites, and determining who to hire for filmography, cinematography, direction and acting. Separately, Aaron did all of the still photography for the project while Jency acted. Those darling locations moviegoers will recognize include City Roots, City Park, Highland Coffees, Ann Connelly Fine Art and McKinley Senior High School. 

The moviemaking process came with its own obstacles. The team began filming in 2020—until the COVID shutdown. After eight months of waiting and rescheduling locations and actors, they had to reshoot twice. “We were mid-scene prior to COVID, and the next shot the actor looked a lot different after months of quarantine; we couldn’t make it work,” Aaron says.

Eighteen months later, the couple will soon enjoy the fruit of their labor. December will be Daisy’s Louisiana premiere, but only after the film first earned a June premiere at the Dances with Films independent film festival in Los Angeles and a subsequent screening at the Heartland International Film Festival in Indianapolis.

Days of Daisy parallels the Hogans’ story in many ways. “Through making Daisy, I made peace and grieved through the process and was able to release the pain that I was never going to be a mother,” Jency says.

But Daisy is only a snapshot of the couple’s story. It’s also the beginning of a new tale. Aaron says that after watching the film, he hated the male lead character, Jack. “Looking at my mirror, all I could think was ‘Jack is such a jerk,’” he recalls. After a time of introspection, prayer, and wise counsel, Aaron says he reconsidered his decision to not have children and started looking at “the self-centeredness and selfishness that was there,” he says. “God was telling me through the movie I made that I needed to be a father.”

“The movie was a gift, and God wanted me to enjoy every stage of this,” Jency adds. “Every stage, I had to trust God.” And trust she did, demonstrating the power of what can happen when one is willing to “surrender to your story.”