This article was posted originally in the Sault Star on Published on February 21, 2019 by Brian Kelly reposted with permission.
Teens gave Keith Behrman and Allison Black a thumbs up when they readied Giant Little Ones for the big screen.
Behrman, the film’s director and screenwriter, shared his script with high school students in Vancouver. Heterosexual and LGBT adults were also consulted.
“We really worked so hard to get the script right,” Black told The Sault Star during a telephone interview from North Bay on Thursday. “Did this really feel real? Did this feel right?”
Reaction from a festival screening in South Korea helped answer those questions.
More than 40 young people thanked the filmmakers for the motion picture that is the gala screening at Shadows of the Mind on Saturday.
“More than one said ‘Thank you. I think this film is going to change my life,’” said Black. “One person even said, ‘Thank you. You’ve saved my life.’ These are young people who did not feel it was OK perhaps to have these feelings, to have an experience with someone of the same sex and to just be perhaps inquisitive and it’s all OK. We’re all human and it’s all OK. Love is love and that is the message of the film.”
The genesis of Giant Little Ones started with a dream Behrman had about a teenager and mother speaking. This was six years ago when there was “a tragic number” of suicides of LGBQT youth who were bullied, didn’t feel accepted or didn’t accept themselves.
“We wanted to do something,” said Black.
Giant Little Ones centres on two high school friends and how their relationship changes at a 17th birthday party.
The coming-of-age story was shot over five weeks in the summer of 2017 in Sault Ste. Marie. Locations include Bellevue Park, John Rhodes Community Centre, Superior Heights Collegiate and Vocational School and the former Cardinal Leger elementary school.
“What we really wanted to focus on was the energy and vitality and the aliveness of how teenagers feel,” said Black. “The gorgeous setting of the Sault provided that. Everything was in blossom. It just felt alive and vibrant … (Behrman) wanted it to feel beautiful and alive and a sense of growth.”
Behrman will introduce Saturday’s screening that launches the 20th annual festival. Screening is at 7 p.m. Film only is $20. Screening and party is $45. Tickets are on sale at the festival box office in the Dennis Street court at Station Mall.
Jennifer Mathewson, film, television and digital media coordinator for FutureSSM, will appear alongside Behrman.