VIFF 2013 notes: Leap 4 Your Life bounces onto the screen

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      That big, purple contusion on Christine Chatelain’s face in Leap 4 Your Life? It ain’t make-up. The actor took a metal lighting stand right in the kisser during the shooting of the buoyant, Vancouver-lensed comedy, which screens tonight (September 30) and October 10 at VIFF.

      “Even when it went wrong, it went right,” director Gary Hawes told the Straight, explaining that he and his creative partners simply improvised an onscreen reason for the impossible-to-conceal injury. In the process, they came up with one of the biggest laughs in the picture.

      According to the film’s producer and screenwriter, Vancouverite Taylor Hill, this was all part of the “tunnel of good energy” that floated the project from its conception two years ago. Already an industry vet at 22-years-old, Hill was finishing up her degree when mom and co-producer Barbara urged her to write the script she’d been talking about for years.

      Set in the world of competitive dance, the Christopher Guest-style mockumentary is premiering at VIFF a mere 24 months later, featuring an impressive cast of locals that includes April Telek, John Cassini, Allie Bertram, and Peter Benson, along with Hill herself as an awkwardly hilarious try-hard in braces called Molly. It’s a remarkable achievement.

      “I think everyone’s a little in shock at Taylor’s talent,” said first-time director Hawes. "I like to call her a young, Canadian version of Tina Fey. I think everyone just went, ‘Wow, she’s really doing this?’” Hill, meanwhile, puts her success down to something a little more concrete. “I just didn’t take no for an answer from anyone, basically,” she said.

      Leap 4 Your Life screens tonight (September 30) at the Rio (6:30 p.m.) and October 10 at the Cinematheque