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“GRACE” writer-director, Paul Solet

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Friday, Jan. 16, 11:59 pm — Egyptian Theatre, Park City]

The factor affecting cinema today most relevant to Grace is the prevalence of the filmmaking community’s faith in the shortcut. There’s an idea that we can make movies by checklist, that the way to write a successful script is by formula, and the way to make a successful film is by gimmickry or spectacle — that we just need to get in front of a camera and our computers will figure out the rest later.

With Grace, we resisted that and put total faith in footwork. We just tried to make the best film we could from an artistic standpoint at every step of the way. If we felt something could be better, it wasn’t done.

I wrote dozens of drafts of the script, storyboarded and re-storyboarded every set up in the film again and again, wrote extensive biographies for every character, and broke down every act, sequence, scene and beat every way I could come up with until I was sure they were not only as effective as I could make them, but that they were all there to contribute to the whole.

Cinematographer Zoran Popovic and I worked for months putting together the film’s look, pouring over references from film and fine art and still photography. When we cast, we cast for skill and bravery, not for safety or familiarity. And we crewed the film with people who loved their work and loved the script, not with people who were just looking to finish the day early.

I’m sure you can fail taking this approach, too, but I bet you sleep a hell of a lot better.

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