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An Interview with Michael Grant, Stephanie Katherine Grant, the Directors of Kepley

Director's Statement:

Founded in 2015 by brother-sister duo Michael and Stephanie Katherine Grant, HarisGrant Productions is a production company where creativity comes first. We are filmmakers who work to produce innovative and creative new cinema in the changing media landscape. HarisGrant is a home for creators of film and those who believe in the power of film as a vehicle for love and truth. We continuously strive to grow our catalog with meaningful content and spread our joy of filmmaking in the entertainment industry.

Plot Summary:

A neo-noir thriller centered around veteran detective Gillian Kepley. During Kepley's investigation of a troubling missing persons case, hidden truths from her past are uncovered. The case pushes her beyond her limits and forces her to confront mistakes from her burdened life.


Please tell us what inspired you to enter into the world of films? -

We have long had a passion for films and the craft of filmmaking. Having gotten our start both as actors in the industry, we experienced what it was like to work on numerous sets across the television, film, and commercial landscape. We have been so fortunate to work consistently across our careers as actors and wanted to use our experiences to branch out into more creative work behind the camera several years ago. In 2015, we founded our production company, HarisGrant Productions, in Los Angeles with a focus on telling honest stories that can serve as a vehicle for love and truth.

Filmmaking is a laborious job, so what keeps you motivated?

For us, it’s really a labor of love and passion for the craft of filmmaking. The business of filmmaking can often be overwhelming but our dedication to the work really keeps us going.

Do you think taking an audition is the best way to cast for a movie or documentary?

The casting process really depends on the individual project, because it can differ in many ways. But auditioning is one of the best ways to discover new talent that we otherwise would not have known or considered for the part. We love the auditioning process because we get to really work one-on-one with the actors and play with the audition sides in a way that we could not do by just reviewing self-tapes.

Do you agree many filmmakers fail to understand the importance of editing?

Editing is often overlooked as a job that happens once a film is in post-production, but editing is really where a film is made. We approach editing as if we were filming the project all over again and really try and focus on what shots and takes most further the story and character development.

Also, we try to have a firm sense of what the flow of the sequences and shots will be during the script writing process. In this way, we start the editing process beginning in the writer’s room, long before we ever get to post production.

Who are your filmmaking influences?

We are influenced by so many incredible directors, but we are especially inspired by the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Christopher Nolan, Terrence Malick, and Alejandro Iñárritu.

How do you choose a script that you are going to direct?

For us, it’s a pretty intuitive process. When we first read a script, we pretty much know if we are the right fit for the project or not and if it fits in our production company’s catalog of films.

What are your goals when you make a film?

Our goal when writing or directing a film is to first and foremost create the best product we can given the budget and time constraints. We also approach every film with an outlook of service to the project and hope that the film has a lasting effect on the audience in some way.

What role does music play in a movie?

Music/score and sound design in general are one of the most important elements of a film. Score is the unspoken dialogue of a film and can oftentimes communicate more in one note than an entire page of dialogue. Sound design fills in the world of the characters and creates an atmosphere that transports the audience to another world. What we love about music and sound design is the flexibility and creativity that comes through filling in all the imperceptible nuances in a film.

Our partnership as directors is also beneficial in this way as our co-director, Michael Grant, scores all our projects. We often have a good idea between the two of us about the sound, score, and design of the audio component of our projects long before reaching post production and the traditional scoring process. Throughout filming, we are always thinking about the sound design and score and how it would add more color and depth to the scenes we are shooting.

How do you ensure that production is on schedule?

This is a difficult question to answer because sometimes despite a production’s best attempts it still goes overtime! However, to give a production the best chance of staying on schedule, a lot of time needs to be spent in pre-production location scouting, fine tuning the schedule, and rehearsing. It’s important that when the actors show up on set that everyone from the cinematographer to the wardrobe stylist knows the exact shots needed, position of the camera, and action of the actors in that scene.

Please tell us about your upcoming projects.

We are currently in the middle of a great festival run for our short film, KEPLEY, starring Emmy-nominee Elizabeth Mitchell and Aaron Stanford. We recently won Best Director at the Tokyo International Short Film Festival, Best Short and Cinematography at the Montreal Independent Film Festival, and Best Short at the New Wave Film Festival in Munich, Germany. Additionally, KEPLEY has been nominated for Best Short Film at the Orlando and Burbank Film Festivals.

KEPLEY will next be screening at the end of February at the upcoming Beaufort International Film Festival in South Carolina.

We are working on a feature length script for KEPLEY and continuing to direct commercial projects for our production company, HarisGrant Productions.


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