Lake Oswego alum's feature film now streaming on Disney+
Kari Granlund didn't know she wanted to write screenplays when she was a student at Lake Oswego High School, but she knew she loved watching them.
She said many teachers over the years encouraged her love for film and writing, including Scott Buchanan, Nancy Brown, Tim Gillespie, Aletia Cochran and Amy Blauer.
Cochran told the Review that, even as an eighth grader, Granlund was intrinsically motivated to achieve at a high level.
Granlund even got approval to take a film class at Lakeridge High School her senior year. Every day at lunch she'd drive to the other side of the lake during lunch to take the class there. She said that class affirmed her desire to go to film school.
Now, that path has led to Granlund's original screenplay, "Godmothered," becoming a feature film released on Disney+.
"It's surreal, honestly. I've been writing full time for probably four years now, which is kind of a long time, (and) kind of a short time, but I've never had something that's my original idea come out," she said.
Granlund, who graduated from LOHS in 2006, went to Chapman University to study film and has been writing professionally for four years.
"I am thrilled that Kari is pursuing her long-held passion of screenwriting and finding success. I also hope she is finding joy and purpose," Cochran said. "I feel like I am just here to help each student build their own wings, and so often teachers have no idea how a student was impacted by the shared experience of a school year spent together."
"Godmothered" is about a young and ambitious fairy godmother who ventures off to find the girl whose request was ignored.
"I had always thought fairy godmothers were funny characters — these little old ladies who were master magicians — and I wondered if there was a story about a young one who wasn't fully trained yet. Someone overeager who was like, 'I'm ready, put me in the game, coach!' and then was, of course, not ready," Granlund said.
She said what started out as a desire to poke fun at fairy tales turned into a bigger story about family.
The film industry has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus. Granlund said "Godmothered" was just days away from wrapping production when the shutdown began in March.
The film was able to be completed, just not in the way it was originally imagined.
"They made it work and that's no credit to me there; that's all the director and the producer and that whole crew," Granlund said.
Granlund also worked on Disney's live action remake of "Lady and the Tramp" that came out in 2019, and most recently was hired to write the remake of Disney's adaptation of "Robin Hood."
She said it's a surreal experience to write the remakes of movies she grew up watching.
"I've obviously seen 'Lady and the Tramp' and liked it, but it wasn't one that I wore the tape out as a kid," she said. "But 'Robin Hood' was."
"Godmothered" is streaming now on Disney+.
"I'll watch "Godmothered" over winter break ... and I am sure I will be smiling the whole time," Cochran said.
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