Lori Fischer may be primarily best known as a playwright, screenwriter, actress, songwriter and writing professor in New York City, but her roots run deep in Nashville. Raised in Music City, she is the daughter of multi-platinum country songwriter Bobby Fischer (Reba, George Jones, many dozens more) and the cousin of singer Margo Price. And she still teaches screenwriting, playwriting and screen acting at Nashville’s Lipscomb University.
Fischer has been spending a lot of time back home in Nashville of late, where one of her current projects is a short film with longtime family friend Phil Vassar, i only miss you when i’m breathing. The project was inspired by the true-life story of country and pop music legend (and Bobby Fischer collaborator) Freddy Weller and his wife, Pippy, whose son, Brandon, tragically died in 2004. The script was written by Fischer, who plays the lead female role and co-produced with Vassar, who portrays her character’s husband and composed the music for the movie. This is the second film of Fischer’s he’s been a part of.
The film was actually completed in 2020, but, like so many things these days, hasn’t been released to the public yet because of Covid-19. “We’ve had a good run so far,” Fischer said by phone from her childhood home in Green Hills. “It played at the Nashville Film Festival, the Vancouver Film Festival, the Long Island Film Festival, and the Fort Myers Film Festival. Phil won a best actor award at one of them, and it won best set design at one. We’re going to do an actual release once we find out about the final film festivals we’ve been trying to get into.”
While i only miss you when i’m breathing isn’t about the Weller family specifically, “I really wrote it as an homage to Freddy and Pippy Weller,” Fischer said. “No parent ever gets over the loss of a child, and they’ve just struggled so deeply, and it really moved me. So I wrote this piece. It’s about a couple grieving the loss of a child that was killed during a school shooting. Their son Brandon’s death was a violent death, but he didn’t die in a school shooting, someone robbed him and beat him up. It affected everything for them, and I wanted to put a story out there. The son in the story is named Brandon, just as a homage to their son.”
In addition to several plays, Fischer has had success with off-Broadway musicals like Barbara’s Blue Kitchen and The Sparkley Clean Funeral Singers, which she scored with Nashville’s Don Chaffer (Third Day, Indigo Girls). She’s also acted extensively in the theatre, and even once sang the National Anthem for a New York Yankees game.
i only miss you when i’m breathing also features Freddy Weller’s original composition about his late son, “Brandon’s Song,” which plays over the movie’s closing credits. “Freddy and Pippy came to see it at the Nashville Film Festival,” Fischer said. “I just think every day is still difficult for them.”
To keep up on the film’s progress and Fischer’s latest projects, go to ionlymissyouwhenimbreathing.com and lorifischer.net.