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Lauren Grant – filmmaker extraordinaire — and now Genie winner

Editor's note: This is the second in a series of stories about people who were raised on the Sunshine Coast who are making a successful mark in the world in their chosen vocations.

Editor's note: This is the second in a series of stories about people who were raised on the Sunshine Coast who are making a successful mark in the world in their chosen vocations. Some are still residents of the Coast while others have left to pursue their dreams.

By the time you read this article, Gibsons' Lauren Grant will know if Savage, the short film she produced, is a recipient of a Genie for Best Short Drama. Check our website for the answer. (Grant did win the Genie in the awards announced Thursday night, March 10).

An incredible young woman, Grant is no stranger to accolades. Over the past seven years she's been awarded several kudos in her field. Beginning with a people's choice award for a 17-minute film she made for a graduation project at the University of B.C., Grant has been a force to be reckoned with.

In the past two years she has received a CTV Fellowship to attend the Banff Television Festival, won a CBC Digital Development Lab and was selected to attend the 2011 Rotterdam Lab, one of three Canadians chosen, and the 2011 Berlinale Talent Campus. Grant was one of 350 people chosen for Berlinale out of 3,900 applicants.

Grant said both the latter experiences were incredible.

"Berlin was especially amazing, as there were filmmakers there from Egypt and Tunisia. The medium and the desire to tell stories connects people in a very interesting way. It was one of the most amazing moments when they introduced themselves and the other 348 Talents erupted in applause," Grant related in an email.

Lest anyone think the opportunities Grant has had fell into her lap, she's quick to explain that the most important thing filmmaking requires is persistence.

"I had applied to these programs before but had not been accepted This year a lot of my work over the past few years has really paid off. The Genie nomination is icing on the cake," she said.

In 2010, Savage was screened at Berlinale Forum Expanded, SXSW and BFI London Film Festival, and the film won Best Multicultural Film at the Golden Sheaf Awards. Savage is a film that deals with Canada's residential schools in utterly unpredictable manner, one of a long list of eclectic productions Grant is becoming famous for. Her company, Clique Pictures Inc., focuses on developing new talent in feature film and television drama. She's been a part of such disparate projects as the Food Network's Glutton For Punishment and the television documentary Reservation Soldiers, produced for CTV, APTN, Knowledge and SCN.

Not bad for a young woman who excelled in science and math throughout her high school career (she earned the highest mark in calculus 12 in her graduating year) and enrolled at UBC with every intention of becoming a scientist. One month in Grant knew that decision was not the right one.

Fortunately for the young woman, her parents supported her about-face. Her mom, local special education teacher Barb Cochran, wasn't surprised by her daughter's change of heart. She recalled Lauren writing plays and playing director with her friends.

A week-long intensive camp in the Gulf Islands helped secure a place in the UBC film program, a stellar feat considering only 15 people are accepted annually.

No slouch in the arts department, Grant graduated with a double major in film production and history. And from there, her career was launched.

She interned with well-known documentary filmmaker, Canadian John Zaritsky, and in 2006 she established her company. Right now she's in Toronto working a new film, Parkdale.

Grant credits her growing up in northwestern B.C. and Gibsons with dictating the kinds of projects she wants to produce, and to her there's still no place like home.

"I also love the opportunity to travel to other places to make films, but there is a great feeling to coming home after a trip," she shared.

For young people hoping to emulate her success, Grant has some succinct advice: work on set or at a company and learn the smaller jobs so when you are producer or director you know what everyone else is doing. And we add, it doesn't hurt to have an enormous talent to begin with. Watch for her on the red carpet.