Amélie Demay, Michélé Chen and Romina Chen from a GOP-Variete-Theatre performance in Germany

Director John Vasey’s (lecturer at Dodge College and producer for Skyhill Productions) documentary film “Growing Up Circus” has recently been selected to screen at this year’s San Antonio Film Festival. This documentary short focuses on the unique life story of an international award-winning circus couple (Michélé Chen and Amélie Demay), who specialize in the art of hand balancing — and how they meet the challenges of raising their teenage daughter (Romina Chen) in the unique environment of circus culture. This is an inside look at circus life, but with a larger more important focus on their parenting skills — and how they are giving their daughter the “right to choose” — finding the freedom to determine her own direction in life.

Director John Vasey

Vasey has worked in scripted narrative, documentary, and promotional videos. He was also a production executive for over two decades with the pay cable network, Showtime, supervising movies and series — and he has taught at the USC film school and currently teaches film students at Chapman University.

John first met Amélie Demay when she was a teenage circus performer with Cirque du Soleil in 1987. He later followed her transformation as she grew into an adult, met her husband, Michélé, and tracked the progress of their talented daughter, Romina. And because Amélié and Michélé are now middle aged performers, they faced special challenges in raising a teen in the unique environment of the circus — and it seemed like the right time to film their path of self discovery as parents/performers and to share their insights with a larger audience.

About the Premiere

This block will be screened on Wednesday, 7/31, at 9PM at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in the McLaughlin Rotunda. Also a repeat screening on Saturday, 8/3, at 1PM in the same location. Schedule permitting, there will be a Q&A with the filmmakers after the screenings.

GROWING UP CIRCUS running time 27:22
High Definition 1080p
Producer/Director/Editor: John Vasey