Young filmmaker returns to Semiahmoo Peninsula – Peace Arch News
South Surrey-raised screenwriter and filmmaker Grayson Lang had no plans to become a director – but people might find it hard to discourage him now.
A graduate of Earl Marriott, 21, who traces his passion for cinema to watching a favorite movie, The social network, at 15 – recently completed filming of a first short film, made from a self-written script.
“The move to directing was something I hadn’t anticipated – but I absolutely loved it,” Lang said, in an interview with News from the Ark of Peace.
“It’s something I could see myself doing again in the future.”
Called Have a nice trip home, the 10-minute short is set to be cut by editor Fergus Coyle – working with Lang – and the plan is to post the finished product on social media and YouTube by the end of this. year.
It is designed as a “calling card” for professional work in the industry, explained Lang – a graduate of the Vancouver Film School’s film, television and games writing program.
A GoFundMe campaign, which has so far raised nearly half of its $ 1,500 goal, and a quarter-page advertisement for the film have helped fund the project. PANSurrey’s sister newspaper Now-Leader, successfully bid, in a silent charity auction, by Lang’s father, Brent.
“We used it to direct people to the GoFundMe campaign,” Lang said.
Lang’s mother Sherry, a former actress in White Rock Players Club productions, also supported the project, including The wild party.
A showcase segment of a feature film Lang has been working on since the age of 16, Have a nice trip home is a drama of the kind that some parents – especially those who deny teenage socialization rituals – might find disturbing.
The storyline, which features Lang’s keen observation and straightforward, authentic dialogue, tells the story of four school-aged friends on one fateful night, when partying late at night on a beach with other teens take a tragic turn.
Lang’s lucid vision doesn’t blink at some of the harshest realities of adolescent and young adult life – including underage drinking, the gatherings that the police would likely want to break up if they were. knew, the confused social clues and the aspirations that are inevitably expressed. in sexual experimentation.
But, above all, it is obvious that the filmmaker views the characters with compassion – they are not “bad kids”, you can tell, they are everyone’s children.
And, yes, much of what it contains is inspired by real life – especially life as Lang lived it growing up in White Rock and South Surrey.
That’s why Lang – now a New Westminster resident – returned to the Semiahmoo Peninsula to film Have a nice trip home, following strict COVID-19 protocols, earlier this month, another reason the filmmaker is keen to place the finished short film on highly accessible media.
“I would love for the people I grew up with and attended school with to see it, to see if it resonates with them,” Lang said.
“I wrote a lot of scripts but this one is my favorite – the one that struck me the most. I definitely see myself in it. I resonate with the character of Brie – I wrote it with me in mind. “
Described as an 18-year-old who “wears round glasses and loose clothes”, Brie (Kira Thiphavong) bought alcohol for her friends Vincent (Adam Parenteau), her skate buddy Dean (James Louvris), who is extremely proud of his up-car, and Dean’s girlfriend Gabbie (Jordana Summer), who are all planning to attend an unsupervised nightlife party for youngsters at the beach.
It becomes clear that Dean is this teenager who is responsible enough to take on the role of “designated driver” – and attentive enough to pay the price of the cab when he has to leave, while the party is still in full swing, as he must get up. early for work.
But, as Lang establishes with a few skillful storytelling strokes, “there’s a lot going on with these characters.”
Brie is in love with Vincent, but he is in love with another boy, Dante (Trenten Mowat), whom he meets at the party. And Gabbie, despite Dean’s jealous “protection”, is hyper aware of Tyler Beck’s presence (played by Oscar Chark).
“This is what we call in screenwriting a ‘vicious cycle’,” Lang said. “Brie wants Vincent, Vincent wants Dante, everyone wants something they don’t have.”
Lang said earlier versions of the script took a more generic approach to characters and setting, but that changed after it was submitted as a potential production for the CBC. YA Digital Originals program.
“Have a nice trip home was not on the program, but Melanie Le Phan, who is the production manager, took the time to sit down with me and gave me the best advice I have ever received as a writer, ”Lang remembers.
“She said it should be more specific to how I felt growing up in White Rock and South Surrey – which seems counterintuitive – but she said audiences would be more likely to respond to it.”
“As soon as I heard that, something clicked in my head. I went back and made another draft and tried to make it much more precise; pulling on the strings of the heart.
Lang also received crucial advice from fellow screenwriter Roy Garza, a collaborator of Victoria, a short subject based on his family background in Mexico in the 1930s, which he eventually directed.
“He said I should direct Welcome back home because it was so close to my heart, ”Lang noted.
The production came together surprisingly easily – there are plenty of young film school graduates and aspiring actors keen to get involved in demo projects, Lang added.
VFS offered an extra year of work with school facilities to this year’s graduates to make up for last year’s classes being mostly online due to COVID-19 restrictions – and Lang, whose other concerts include working in a cinema room and as an assistant on film productions, takes full advantage of it.
But at the same time – ironically – a VFS policy doesn’t give students access to student projects they’ve worked on for two years after graduation, Lang said.
“It makes it difficult to build a portfolio,” Lang added – hence projects like Have a nice trip home.
Lang and producer Ella Bacchioni assembled a production team of around 18 people for the shoot – including core crew members like assistant director Ry Fry, cinematographer and cameraman Tyler Banich and the taker. of his William Bolwell – many of them doubling as extras during party scenes, Lang said.
One of the pleasures of the project, Lang noted, was finding cast members who matched the characters so closely and having the chance to lead them in the readings during Zoom callbacks.
And while Lang admits being a little intimidated into exercising directorial authority at the start of filming, that quickly faded.
“After probably an hour of starting the first day of filming, I felt totally in the know – I was completely comfortable with it,” the filmmaker said.
To contribute to the Have a nice trip home GoFundMe campaign, visit gofund.me/13B43DF3