I am pleased to introduce to G-Na Casazza, a new and clearly talented fimmaker. When her grandmother died tragically in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, G-Na turned to her passion and started working on a documentary film to honor her grandma’s life and educate the public on this deadly problem.
One Fatal Mistake premiered this past November, on the 4th anniversary of her grandma’s death.
G-Na took her grief and channeled it to the living. What better way to handle a death than to use it improve a life. Here is an example of meaning and purpose at its best.
1. What has helped you carry on and move in a positive direction?
I was in film school at the time. I was taking a documentary class and at the end of the semester we had to come up our documentary topic and an outline of how we want to make the film. Most documentaries work well when it’s a topic that’s very personal to you and that you really believe in. Considering this tragedy that happened, I decided why not relive my grandma’s memory and let it live on; and hopefully because of her tragic loss, something good can come out of it. I can make this documentary in order to help people.
I knew this would be successful because drunk driving rates are so high. I knew I was able to take it to a whole different level. I was very driven to get this topic out there.
It’s about my family but it’s also a bigger picture. It brings you into one family to let you see the tragedy that struck so you can have some sympathy and hopefully think before you act.
I am very driven and when I want something and put my mind to it I end up doing it. I see this film as a lot bigger than it is now and it got pretty big on Long Island, but now I want to take it national and let everyone see it.
2. What were your day-to-day coping skills?
It’s very strange to see somebody one day and then never be able to see them again; talk to them one day and then never be able to talk to them again. One minute they’re there and the next minute they’re not. You don’t really believe it at first; you don’t really know what’s going on; everything is a blur. My grandma died in November 2007. Then we had Thanksgiving and she’s not there, and then we had Christmas and she’s not there. It’s things like that where it starts to become more real.
At first I wasn’t dealing with me and my feelings; I was dealing with everybody and their feelings, making sure they’re O.K. and getting through it with them, helping them. I was more of a comfort for everyone else. I’m the oldest grandchild out of 10.
My grandma passed away on a Sunday morning. To be honest, I went to school the next day.
Everyone deals with death differently. I noticed that all 10 of us grandchildren dealt with it very differently. For me it was more of an acceptance – “O.K. she’s gone, now what am I going to do, how am I going to turn this around?”
3. What propels you forward?
There’s not a day that goes by that my grandma doesn’t come into my mind. I had talked to her all the time. The day of the accident I talked to her for two hours on the phone. I was very close to her.
I’ve just always had that determination and will power to see my goal and go after it. That’s exactly what I do every day. I wake up and have a to-do list of all the things I have to do for the day and I just go and try to accomplish it. I live day by day.
4. What advice can you offer others going through their own difficult situation?
From my perspective, let yourself grieve. Give yourself that necessary time to grieve.
Don’t ever lose sight of your goal or whatever you want to do in life because tragedy hit. Don’t let a tragedy stop you. Keep on going.
I lost my grandma to this tragedy; I premiered my film and three weeks later I lost my grandpa. He passed away because he was sick.
People die, tragedy happens. Your tragedy isn’t going to affect anybody but you. People at first are sympathetic to you; days, weeks and months go by and others forget; but you never forget. You never forget about that day or any of it. You have to keep that to your heart and just keep on going.
You have to understand that you’re going to fail, tragedy is going to strike again but you can’t let that get you down. You never know when it’s going to be the last time to talk to somebody.
I’m 22 years old; I still think I’m invincible. When I turned 16 and I got my license, I never thought about death, about an accident. Even though you read about it, you don’t think that’s going to be you. You think you can’t die. There’s that sense that people need to snap out of and realize that life happens; you’re not immune to it.
For some additional information:
G-Na’s website is: www.onefatalmistakemovie.com
Link to film trailer: http://youtu.be/AxWAe5ctLb4
And of course Mothers Against Drunk Driving: http://www.madd.org/
Thank you for reading. Please pass this along and share – it’s too important not to.