by Kierston Drier
We live in the era of reboots, resurgences, and remakes- and while they promise excitement and nostalgia, the hidden gems of our industry are waiting to be discovered. A few weeks ago, I found one.
In a gorgeous cafe hidden at the back of Lavish and Squalor on Toronto’s trendy Queen Street, I met with Diane Carol Harder, an up-and-coming writer, and director, to talk about her new short film Penny Foster. Harder has a strong and well-earned eye when it comes to cinema. After graduating with a B.A from Columbia in film studies and creative writing, she obtained her M.F.A in writing for stage and screen from Northwestern. Harder wrote and directed several shorts throughout her studies, and when she made the decision to direct a short film after graduating, she sent out a request for shorts scripts. Former classmate and friend America Michele Palacios responded with her piece Penny Foster, a piece that Harder liked immediately.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Harder about the piece and how it came to be. In preparation for a future in writing and directing features, Harder and producer Sarah Senior set out to put together a team for Penny Foster, a dramatic piece with comic elements about a young girl with OCD who slowly discovers her mother is having a very bad day.
Anyone who has taken on the seemingly monumental task of producing a short film has doubtlessly faced several hurdles: gathering a team, funding, casting, funding, tech and rental equipment- did I mention funding? Harrowingly, Harder and Senior decided to do their piece as economically as possible without sacrificing production quality. They accomplished this goal. Harder expressed enormous credit for her Director of Photography, Jordan Kennington, who did incredible work in getting beautiful shots. Harder also speaks highly of the talents of their films’ protagonist, ten-year-old Elisa Campanella. Expressive, perceptive and professional, Harder remarks fondly that Elisa was sad to be wrapped on the shoot day and wished she could stay to film longer.
Harder and Senior launched a Kickstarter early in June to help fund the piece. What is amazing about this Kickstarter campaign is that the piece is already fully shot. Unlike many Kickstarters that created in order to raise funds to begin filming, Harder and her team have already put the work in. This Kickstarter is raising funds to finish final editing and prepare for the cost of festival submissions. The Kickstarter, which you can find Here boasts some excellent rewards, from a personalized thank-you tweets and digital downloads to personalized consultations with industry professionals, coverage of your own work from the films’ producers and IMBD credits. The Penny Foster’s Kickstarter will run until June 26th.
But why should you check out Harder and her projects? Because the cinematic scene is hungry for fresh ideas, new voices, and dynamic content creators- and that is exactly what Harder and her team represent. They have already put their resources into their work, a clear indication of the commitment they have in their project, as well as the dedication they have made to their team. This type of grit, determination and work ethic is much needed in an entertainment world that needs a jumpstart of new and innovative storytelling.
We must support the films we want to see more of. Supporting productions like Harders’ makes a world of impact. It directly affects the driven and talented team behind the film. It also indirectly affects the whole industry: It shines a spotlight on the stories we care about and creates changing cinematic trends. Take a peak below at the talented team! and check out Penny Foster and keep your eye on Harder and her team for their upcoming work. You can check Penny Foster at #PennyFosterFilm, or at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/PennyFosterFilm, and you can follow Harder on Twitter @DianeCHarder and on Instagram at dianecarolharder .