Catherine Cyran, Emmy-Nominated Director, Dies at 59

Catherine Cyran, an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, producer and writer who began her career working under Roger Corman, died Dec. 24, 2022 in Vancouver, B.C. following a battle with cancer. She was 59 years old.

Before emerging as director in the 1990s, Cyran established herself as a screenwriter, with credits on films such as 1990’s “Slumber Party Massacre III” and “A Cry in the Wind,” the 1990 adaptation of Gary Paulsen’s novel “Hatchet.” She made her feature film directorial debut with the 1993 sequel “White Wolves: A Cry in the Wind II,” for which she earned an Emmy nomination.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Cyran became the first person in her family to attend college, graduating from Harvard in 1985. She then spent two years in London, working for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Cyran found her footing in the entertainment industry working as an executive assistant under the seminal, prolific producer and director Roger Corman, whose tutelage touched other filmmakers such as Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme and Peter Bogdonavich. Under Corman, Cyran wrote and produced titles such as “Dead Space,” starring Bryan Cranston; “Uncaged,” starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan; “Fire on the Amazon,” starring Sandra Bullock and “Kiss Me a Killer,” which earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination. Cyran also served as a ghost writer behind “Frankenstein Unbound,” Corman’s final feature as a director.

After working with Corman, Cyran began a fruitful relationship with Fox Family Television Studios, writing and directing the thrillers “Dangerous Waters” and “Hostile Intensions.” She then took to helming television movies at ABC Family, directing Christmas films such as “Christmas Do-Over,” “Homecoming for the Holidays,” “Christmas Duet” and “Cross Country Christmas.”

Cyran also developed the martial arts series “Bloodfist” and served as a writer on Universal productions such as “Werewolf” and “The Beast Among Us.” Other notable directorial credits include three of the four entries in “The Prince & Me” series, “Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter” and “True Heart.”

Cyran published one novel, “The Island of the Last Great Auk.” Additionally, her screenplay, titled “The Last Story,” received the Canadian International Film Festival Award for excellence in writing. Her final film, “Our Italian Christmas Memories” starring Beau Bridges, aired on Hallmark only a few weeks before her death.

Last year, Cyran decided to take the SAT test “just for fun.” At the age of 58, she score a perfect score of 1600.

Cyran was a longtime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of Canada and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. As she put it, she strove “to tell good stories to broad audiences” through her work.

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