Wigan director becomes big hit on Netflix
and live on Freeview channel 276
Zara Hayes’s production POMS -starring Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver and Pam Grier – appeared on the streaming service over the weekend.
POMS follows a group of women from a retirement community who decide to start a cheerleading squad.
The idea for the film stemmed from Zara reading a newspaper piece in 2016.
She said: “It was amazing to make.
"It was idea I had because I come from a documentary background, I seen this article one weekend about senior citizens in America who were setting up a cheerleading team and I was like this is amazing.
"So I was thinking about it and looking into it and got in touch with them (the cheerleading team).
"Something in me said this should be a drama and would really resonate with people if you can make it as a film.
"I’m really interested in telling stories about older women, as I think they are not often represented in film and tv, especially not female friendships.
"I set about trying to make it a fictional thing and partnered up with a writer.
"It was a crazy set of circumstances whereby the first producers I got involved were actually based on the Wirral.
"They got the studios from New York involved as we knew we needed American money with it being an American story.
"Once we got the script, we managed to get it fully financed.”
The film actually came out in 2019.
It had a big release over in the States however it has only recently made it onto British soil.
Since its release on Netflix, Zara has been inundated with messages.
Zara said: “It was incredible to work with Diane Keaton and Jacki Weaver.
They’re just pros and have been doing this for decades, they were really nice to work with.
"I’ve had so many messages.
"It got cinema released everywhere else in the world and had a massive release in America.
"It’s taken a little while to find its way here.
"I’ve made so many things in between and was completely surprised this weekend when I started getting messages and emails from people on how it moved them.”
Zara’s love for drama and documentary began back when she attended the Willpower Youth Theatre as a child.
Some of her more recent work includes Showtrial, which is a five part series which aired on BBC OneShe has also completed a drama adaptation of the book The Killing Kind for Paramount
While her work has taken her across the world, Zara has returned to her hometown to produce more films telling the stories of people in the North West.
She said: “I’ve recently based myself back in Wigan and I’m really passionate about telling stories about the North West and things that happen here.
"So if anyone has any thoughts and wants to get in touch with me please do, I’d love to collaborate with people.”