Lauren Grant, film producer, was between two premieres of her films when Coast Reporter caught up with her during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
Picture Day, written and directed by Kate Melville, had just opened at a Friday event. Its leading role, actress Tatiana Maslany, plays a cheeky high school student with a sullied reputation and an ability to reinvent a dorky friend, played by DeGrassi’s Spencer Van Wyck. She’s been dubbed the next big thing by the critics and the audience.
“There are some amazing talented people in Picture Day,” said Grant, who decided to produce the film because she liked the script so much.
The film is set in high school and is aimed at the 18 to 30 crowd who can relate to the issues. However, it has earned a PG rating for drug use and swearing, although Grant points out that there’s no nudity or violence. The main character is a strong female figure, and Grant is drawn to this aspect of film-making.
Frost, a short piece, premiered later in the festival, a female warrior coming of age story set in the Arctic. A young Arctic hunter’s search for food takes her beyond sacred boundaries and leads to a terrifying and strange discovery.
“It could be the past or the present; it’s kind of mysterious,” Grant says of the 10-minute flick by director Jeremy Bull.
Grant is a rising star herself. She was a student at Elphinstone Secondary School in Gibsons from Grade 8 to graduation, taking drama and acting classes. She earned credentials from the University of British Columbia Film Centre in 2004 and the Canadian Film Centre in 2006. She won a Genie award in 2011 for her short film Savage, and more recently, she was one of only 16 chosen from 300 applications to work at the TIFF Producers’ Lab.
Frost’s director, who had worked with Grant at the Canadian Film Centre, came to her with a concept, not yet a script.
“One of my favourite parts of being a producer is script and talent development,” Grant said, and she had the chance to develop Frost from a single page to a final script.
Another producer’s role is that of financing, and that’s the tough one.
At Producers’ Lab Studio in Toronto, the topics of financing and finding partners for projects take over the agenda. Many a good project is lost for lack of funding.
Frost will move on to the Vancouver International Film Festival (Sept. 27 to Oct. 12) and Grant hopes to break away from her work in Toronto to fly to B.C. for its opening.
More about Picture Day is on picturedaythemovie.com and a summary of Frost can be found on facebook.com/FrostShortFilm.