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The Diarist Key Personnel

Lorenzo DeStefano


Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Lorenzo DeStefano is a playwright, screenwriter, producer, director and photographer. A member of the Directors Guild of America and past member of the Motion Picture Editor’s Guild, DeStefano has worked in U.S. and U.K. Theater, written fiction & non-fiction, original screenplays and adaptations, and produced and directed documentary and narrative films.

DOCUMENTARIES include the 2018 Humanitas Prize-nominated “Hearing is Believing”, about the Young musician and composer, Rachel Flowers. DeStefano produced and directed “Los Zafiros – Music From The Edge Of Time”, a multi award-winning film about the Beatles of 1960s Cuba. He produced, directed and edited the acclaimed PBS documentary “Talmage Farlow”, a portrait of the American jazz guitarist.

NARRATIVE FILM PROJECTS as writer/producer include “The Diarist”, a 5-Part Limited Series inspired by the true story of Boston eccentric Arthur Crew Inman and his 17 million word “Inman Diary”, published by Harvard University Press. DeStefano is also writer/producer of the 3-Part Limited Series “House Boy”, a fact-based urban thriller set in London and South India, adapted from his novel. He is producer/writer/director of “Shipment Day”, a filmed adaptation of his prize-winning play about his cousin, Olivia Robello Breitha, a teenage girl diagnosed with leprosy in 1930s Honolulu. He is also producer/writer/director of “Stairway to the Stars”, a short film based on his One-Act play.

SCREENPLAYS include “The Diarist”, “Shipment Day”, “Stairway to the Stars”, “House Boy”, “Lads”, “Deep Inside”, “Cropper’s Cabin” (from the novel by Jim Thompson), “Appointment in Samarra” (co-writer, from the novel by John O’Hara), “Waiting for Nothing”, based on the novel by Tom Kromer, and “Creeps” (from the play by David E. Freeman).

PLAYS include the one-acts “Stairway to the Stars” & “Shipment Day”. DeStefano’s full-length plays include “Shipment Day”, which had its World Premiere in Nov/Dec. 2018 at the Hawaii Performing Arts Company/Manoa Valley Theatre in Honolulu. “Camera Obscura” is a dramatization of The Inman Diary. Developed at Seattle Repertory Theatre, the play received its world premiere at the Almeida Theatre in London, both productions helmed by the celebrated English director Jonathan Miller. “The Inman Diaries”, a chamber opera based on DeStefano’s play, received its world premiere in September 2007 at the Intermezzo Opera Company, Boston. “House Boy”, based on DeStefano’s novel, tells the true story of a young Dalit man from India held captive in an upper caste Brahmin household in North London. “Providence” is DeStefano’s stage adaptation of the screenplay by the late English dramatist David Mercer.

FICTION includes the novel “House Boy” and the short story “The Shakespearean”. NON-FICTION includes the short story “Hitchhike”, the memoir “Visitations–Finding A Secret Relative In Modern-Day Hawai’i”, “Callé Cero–An Encounter with Cuban Film Director Tomas Gutierrez Alea” (Cuba Update), “Diary of a Nobody” (The Guardian), and the photographic memoir “Cubanos – Island Portraits” (Museum of Latin American Art).

THEATER DIRECTING includes “Stairway to the Stars”, “Shipment Day”, “Providence”, the world premiere of Robert Schenkkan’s “Conversations with the Spanish Lady”, the 25th anniversary Los Angeles production of William Inge’s “Natural Affection”, Horton Foote’s “The One-Armed Man”, “Jitters” by David French, and the world premiere of “Twisted Twain”, the one-man show by Bill Erwin.

FILM EDITING includes “Dreamscape,” “That Championship Season,” “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” “Winners Take All”, “Body Rock”, “Thrashin”, “The Killing Time” and “Gingerale Afternoon.” DeStefano was Supervising Film Editor and a Producer and Director for the four-season run of “Life Goes On,” the ABC/Warner Brothers drama series starring Patti Lupone, Bill Smitrovich, Christopher Burke and Kelli Martin.

PHOTOGRAPHY – As a teenage street photographer in Honolulu, DeStefano chronicled the diverse multi-cultural island life where he grew up. His early black & white thematic work included “Rest Homes Hawai’i” and “Leahi Hospital – Children’s Ward”. He continued to freelance in California before turning his attention from still photography to film. He credits his journeys to Cuba starting in 1993 with reawakening the photographer in him. His traveling exhibition, “La Hora Magica / The Magic Hour – Portraits of a Vanishing Cuba”, has been shown extensively in Cuba as well as in New York, Chicago, London, Havana, Los Angeles, and Vancouver. The entire photographic archive of DeStefano’s work in Cuba, “Cubanos - Island Portraits”, was acquired in 2016 by The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California, and is now in their Permanent Collection. Many of Lorenzo’s photographs have been licensed for print, CDs, TV & Film, including for HBO’s “Six Feet Under” and for the Warner Brothers film, “Queen of the Damned”.

DeStefano is founder of the Ventura Film Society, a California-based cinema cooperative bringing people together in the dark since 2008. He is the Executive Director of the NAMBA Performing Arts Space / NAMBA TV in Historic Downtown Ventura, California.

Daniel Aaron

Literary Advisor

Daniel Aaron (1912-2016) was the Victor S. Thomas Professor of English and American History, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He spent eight years (1977-1985) as editor of “THE INMAN DIARY-A PUBLIC & PRIVATE CONFESSION”, published by Harvard University Press, and is the author of many varied works including “EDGAR ALLEN POE”, “MARK TWAIN: A BIOGRAPHY”, “THE BOSTONIANS”, “STUDIES IN BIOGRAPHY”, “WRITERS ON THE LEFT”, “THE UNWRITTEN WAR - AMERICAN WRITERS & THE CIVIL WAR”, and “AMERICA IN CRISIS - FOURTEEN CRITICAL EPISODES IN AMERICAN HISTORY.” His memoir, “THE AMERICANIST”, was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2007.

Professor Aaron was a longtime advisor to Lorenzo DeStefano from the inception of both the theatre and film projects based on THE INMAN DIARY and continued to provide solid historical guidance and personal support for many years. He attended the Seattle Repertory Theatre workshop production of DeStefano’s stage adaptation of the diary and participated in post-performance discussions with the audience on the editorial process. He read every draft of DeStefano’s play and screenplay and served as a consultant to “The Inman Diaries”, an opera based on DeStefano’s play that was produced in Boston in September 2007. Aaron is also on-camera interviewee and narrator of the documentary-in-progress, “FROM A DARKENED ROOM-THE STRANGE LIFE & TIMES OF ARTHUR CREW INMAN”. He also filmed a 2009 segment of “CHRONICLE”, an evening magazine series from Boston’s WCVB Channel 5, covering his ten years of work on The Inman Diary.

Professor Aaron lived to be 103 and was a vital link in the chain that connects himself, Arthur Inman and Lorenzo DeStefano in the ongoing legacy that is The Inman Diary.

DEC 2, 2010
"Scholars Venerable"
Harvard's emeritus faculty operate, in many ways, as the University’s living memory"
By Corydon Ireland

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