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“FROZEN RIVER” writer-director, Courtney Hunt

Ten percent more money wouldn’t have made that big a difference, but 10 percent more preproduction time would have helped. Our funding showed up so late in the game that nothing could be nailed down until two weeks before we started shooting. Casting and location scouting was last minute. Luckily my producers and crew were intrepid so we just marched on. Rehearsal with actors was minimal. I met most of the people in the smaller roles for the first time on the day they arrived on the set. The only thing that saved us was the script. The time spent on making the story clear saved time because everyone who read it really knew what we were doing, and my lead actress was generous with the first-time actors.

It’s tempting to overlook story, like somehow or other you can solve things on the set. But story and acting, in my opinion, are pretty hard to fake. Most other things will be forgiven. I’d pretty much weathered the long, painful journey to the heart of my story so when other things fell apart we still had that to fall back on.

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Friday, Jan. 18, 2:30 pm — Racquet Club, Park City]

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