Published on April 5th, 2019 | by Biz Books
The Biz Interview: Peter Harvey
Canadian producer Peter Harvey has amassed over 25 credits in film and television. His newest project is Acquainted which is now playing in Canadian cinemas.
In this interview, Peter Harvey talks to us about the film and his career thus far.
Can you start by telling us about Acquainted and your involvement in it?
Acquainted is a beautiful film that I was very fortunate enough to help produce, with a lot of amazing people behind it. The film is by writer and director Natty Zavitz starring Giacomo Gianniotti (Grey’s Anatomy) and Laysla De Oliveira (Locke & Key, In The Tall Grass, Guest of Honour). It is an unconventional romance about when and how a person chooses partnership. Emma and Drew are both in committed relationships when they meet. As their chemistry grows, both are faced with decisions about whether to pursue the love they’re in, or the love that could grow. Acquainted also stars Rachel Skarsten, Raymond Ablack, Jonathan Keltz, Adelaide Kane, and Parveen Kaur and features a soundtrack filled with Torontonian artists like DVSN, Daniel Caesar and Charlotte Day Wilson.
What were the main day to day tasks that you were responsible for on this project?
Mainly, just getting the coffee so that the cast and crew just kept rolling, ya know? In seriousness, I was apart of an amazing group of producers on the project, including Stephanie Sonny Hooker, Jonathan Keltz, Giacomo Gianniotti, James O’Donnell, Aidan Kahn and Adelaide Kane. We all worked hard and shared the work load to make this film as beautiful and great as it is. We’re all very proud of it!
What can audiences expect from the film?
I think a lot of people will relate to the characters in this film. The feedback has been amazing thus far and a lot of people speak to one character or another. A lot of real life moments in the film that really make people question their own relationships. It’s deep and people are connecting with it, which as filmmakers, we love to see! Definitely a conversation starter about where society is at currently.
You’ve produced both film and television projects. What do you enjoy about each of these mediums?
To be honest, I really love both. It’s a changing game out there with Netflix, Amazon, and the rest of the streaming companies producing amazing content. I will always love making indie films, but the streaming services are changing the game and allowing filmmakers to create these projects that would have never been funded by traditional TV models. For example, Letterkenny here in Canada and Stranger Things down in the US. Those projects would have never been funded through the regular TV methods and look how wildly successful they are! Love them both, but find they are different creatures. Indie films will always have my heart.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Tough question for sure, I have a lot of favourite and memorable moments making films. I love when the director calls “Action” for the first time on a project or when a film premieres at a film festival. I would have to say the most memorable moment was when our film, Mobile Homes, had it’s World Premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. That was a wild experience. Will remember that forever!
What would your advice be to aspiring producers?
Chase your dreams! Never stop that. I would say keep making films with your friends, not matter what. That has always been my goal! I made a short film years ago at Capilano University, which premiered at TIFF. They flew me out to Toronto and that’s when I realized that I needed to be in Toronto to really be plugged into the Canadian film industry. Don’t be afraid of change when you’re chasing your dream.
What film and television-related books have been helpful for you in your career?
I really loved reading Norman Jewison’s autobiography This Terrible Business Has Been Good to Me, which I read when I was in film school at Capilano. Robert Rodriguez’s Rebel Without a Crew is a great way to help push yourself to make your first film. Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot is a must read by Jane K. Cleland. Plus scripts! Read as many as you can. You’ll find a lot of the big scripts online, read those. Read your friend’s scripts. Just read script! It will help.
What other projects do you have coming up?
A couple of exciting new projects in the works with amazing directors, so definitely keep an eye out for them. One is Harpoon by Rob Grant that is playing film festivals around the world right now. I’m also in development with another script with Rob. Have an exciting new film that I’m developing with Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux called Rules for Werewolves. Excited to be making that! Plus, keep an eye out for the theatrical release of Marshall Axani’s The Cannon.
Thanks to Peter Harvey for speaking with us!
You can see Acquainted now in select theatres in Canada.