Last year’s Short Term 12 was widely considered one of the best and most underrated films of 2013. Very much an indie, the movie tells the story of Grace, a 20-something supervising staff member at a foster care facility for at-risk teenagers. Written and directed by newcomer Destin Cretton, the film very quickly put his name on the map.
The story of Short Term 12 unfolds as Grace (Brie Larson) navigates the troubled waters of that world alongside her co-worker and longtime boyfriend. While that may sound simplistic, the result is a complex and honest look at those involved in that community that never shies away from both the good and bad of that career. That film releases today on DVD.
As a filmmaker Cretton has worked on everything from shorts to documentaries and his success with Short Term 12 has allowed him to pursue his next big venture, the movie The Glass Castle with Jennifer Lawrence, currently in production.
Earlier this week Press Pass LA had the chance to sit down with Cretton to discuss his filmmaking origins and what the future has in store for him.
PPLA: I understand much of Short Term 12 is based on your own experiences. What was it like bringing such an autobiographical subject to the screen?
Cretton: Personally it was a very good experience. The whole process of making it was very positive. Honestly when I first made the short I didn’t think anyone would connect with it but now, after the movie has been out I have had the chance to hear other people’s stories I am amazed how universal it really is and that has been very great.
PPLA: Short Term 12 is based on a short you did back in 2009, what was it like turning that into a feature film?
Cretton: The short was my thesis project while I was at university and I honestly didn’t think it would make a good feature until I saw how people reacted to it. I went around and I collected stories from people that had worked in the field as well as my own stories and started to create a story from there. The process seems endless and felt like it but it was well worth it.
PPLA: You’ve created shorts, documentaries and feature films which style do you like the most? Why?
Cretton: I like them all equally; I think they complement each other. For me, personally, short films are great places to take chances as filmmakers and to do things you couldn’t ordinarily do on someone else’s budget in a feature. Documentaries are a great place to interact with real people and to capture something surprising that would never happen again. I think my work on those documentaries allowed me to bring some of that to the movie.
PPLA: You’re currently working on a film called The Glass Castle with Jennifer Lawrence, what can you tell me about that? Cretton: It is a book that I really connected with, even though it isn’t my story it is a story I feel very personal about bringing to the screen.