by Sarah Lord on Monday June 13 2022
Like many, the pandemic affected Jeremy Grant’s career, and he spent much time at home with his three kids.
"I did a year, almost two of stay-at-home dad, homeschooling," says Grant. "The pandemic was so particularly slow that filmmaking in general, especially adventure travel filmmaking, was the furthest thing from an essential service. The whole industry slowed down, and nothing happened."
With the Covid slowdown, his filmmaking focus shifted, and he started doing scripted work and shot short narrative pieces locally.
"It was super fun," says Grant.
"I teamed up with Lisel Forst, a theatre director in Nelson. It was the first time I worked with an all-Nelson crew; we shot it in Nelson. It shone a spotlight on just how incredible Nelson's filmmaking community is and what world-class talent exists in such a small town."
Fast forward to today, Grant and Forst’s just-released short film, The First Dance, has been recognized internationally by numerous film festival selections and awards, most notably Cannes International Film Festival and the Paris International Short Film Festival. Grant is modest about his accolades.
"I've been making films for like 20 years, so I've got an Emmy and a bunch of other fun awards."
While he loves the adventure travel side of his work, any opportunity to stay home and work is appealing. But filmmaking funding opportunities for scripted work are hard to come by in Canada, Grant explains, especially in rural British Columbia.
Grant got his start in a very local way: filming his friends doing adventure sports.
"When I started mountain biking and skiing and filming, my friends would take turns holding the camera. Then eventually, my friends started doing crazier and crazier drops, so I started offering to hold the camera a lot more. So it wasn't courage that got me into it but rather not wanting to do the big drops."
Grant worked from 16 to his early 20s with Bill Heath, whom Grant describes as "An incredible filmmaker out of Nelson." Grant carried his tripod or edited for him, and it was a tremendous learning experience.
Grant completed Selkirk College's Multimedia Program, now called Digital Arts.
Grant came into the career the moment that filmmaking was undergoing a significant transformation.
"It was right when film was transitioning to digital,” says Grant. “These incredible filmmakers weren't as versed with photoshop or making websites. I was able to barter my skills and help the generation before me with the technical part of it and in exchange, they taught me an unbelievable amount about filmmaking."
Grant's favourite aspect of filmmaking is the team approach.
"Filmmaking is such a team sport, and I get to work with these incredible people, actors, and athletes. There is a real nucleus of passion that I am just addicted to."
Looking forward to the future, Grant hopes to keep doing the things he does best while also challenging himself with unique projects.
"I'd like to do a certain percentage of things that I'm known for and have won lots of awards for, and then I like to throw myself in the deep end."
He plans to do more work in Nelson.
"Both of the short films I've shot have been in Nelson. It's such an incredibly visually beautiful place; there are so many passionate people of every craft. I was blown away. Completely, I'd love to do more stuff around Nelson.”
Bill Heath, a multiple award-winning film director from the Heritage City, calls Grant "An incredible filmmaker out of Nelson."