Director Vanessa Parise had barely graduated from Harvard when she wrote and helmed her first feature, MGM’s 2002 rom-com “Kiss the Bride.”
In a sign of the times for helmers, Parise (pictured) in recent years has segued to telepics, where she’s found opportunities to direct projects for Lifetime and Hallmark Channel. Her latest Lifetime entry, the thriller “#PopFan,” bows on Aug. 23, toplined by Chelsea Kane, star of ABC Family’s “Baby Daddy.”
Parise found her passion for directing at the crossroads of acting and attending medical school, ultimately deferring the latter to attend New York City’s Circle in the Square Acting Conservatory. With her acting background, Parise focuses on working closely with talent to help find the tone of the film that works best.
“I feel like part of my responsibility as a director is to determine how each actor works – everyone has a different technique,” Parise said. “I think the best performances come when the audience doesn’t know what the actor is going to do next because the actor doesn’t even know – it’s that real,” she said.
With “#PopFan,” Parise saw the potential to create something new that also raises a cautionary flag about the dangers of social media. Kane plays a young pop star who becomes the victim of a mentally unstable obsessed fan.
“Now fans can tweet their favorite celebrities, so they feel like they have a connection,” said Parise. “This familiarity can lead to situations like in ‘#PopFan,’ where the psychotic fan feels he has a relationship with the star.”
Next up for Parise is a telepic, “Demo Girl,” for cabler Up starring Luke Perry. She also recently sold a pilot script to ABC Family.