The Columns

From Banker to Filmmaker

— by on April 11th, 2012

Growing up in Houston, Damian Horan, of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2003, thought he wanted to be a filmmaker. Once he got to college, he majored in business administration and chose a safer path by becoming a banker.

Then, according to a feature story in the Houston Chronicle, he had a health scare and reversed field, leaving the world of corporate banking and heading to Los Angeles and film school at the University of Southern California.

For his master’s thesis at USC, Damian created a 20-minute film, “Children of the Air,” which has been winning awards on the film-festival circuit in recent months. It stars Katheryn Winnick (“Love and Other Drugs” & “Bones”) and Travis Van Winkle (“Friday the 13th” and “Transformers”). To see some of those awards and also to find out where the film will be screened next, go to the “Children of the Air” Facebook page.

Since getting his master’s, Damian has been working as a freelance filmmaker and photography director. He has done a number of commercials and music videos, including pieces for the Foo Fighters, Coca-Cola, Sony and Forever 21/Hello Kitty.

Damian is also the director of “Barbarian Days,” a full-length documentary that follows fans of the late writer Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian and other characters, on their annual pilgrimage to Cross Plains, Texas, for Howard Days. That film was produced by Grant Gish, a 2004 alumnus of W&L who is currently director of animation development at 20th Century Fox TV.

Talking to the Houston Chronicle back in December, Damian mused on the transition from banking to filmmaking: “I guess the biggest surprise has just been going from project to project. That weekly paycheck you always have to look for — that project that’s going to help pay the rent for the next month. When you are working, it’s not really work. So it’s hard to complain.”

Watch the trailer for “Children of the Air” below: