The Stories Behind Leave No Trace: An Evening with Linda Reisman in Cinematheque

Linda Reisman answers students’ questions in BU Cinematheque

On February 28, Linda Reisman, a distinguished producer, screened her recent film Leave No Trace on campus, as part of the BU Cinemathèque series. Reisman shared her stories behind the production scenes and discussed her career as an independent producer. 

Leave No Trace premiered at Sundance and Cannes festivals. Directed and written by Debra Granik, the story is about an Iraqi War veteran (Ben Foster) who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and his teenage daughter (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie). Living in Oregon woods for years, they got caught one day and were placed for social service. Adapting to the new environment, the two yielded different results. The script was based on the novel My Abandonment by Peter Rock. 

Reisman had spent 10 years bringing the film on to the screen. The script revision phase was the most essential part of the whole process. Reisman’s team and Granik spent four years developing the script. Every time Granik made a change to the script, the team would regroup and discuss what they could do to execute the change. 

Besides adopting the novel into the film, the team did tremendous amounts of research work before shooting in Portland. They spent three weeks just meeting different kinds of local people, like beekeepers and seniors who dance in the church. The fact that all these local people showed up in the film brought dynamics in Leave No Trace

Talking about cultivating a good producer-director relationship, Reisman stressed that trust is the key. 

“We fight for the director and also fight with the director,” Reisman said. 

Reisman also highlighted the significance of the preproduction phase. “Being ready to allocate time talking to your teammates, whether it’s with the production designer or the cinematographer,” Reisman said. 

Cinematheque, hosted by the Department of Film and Television, is a series of screenings of outstanding films and television programs. Students are encouraged to have conversations with wonderful film and television makers. For information about more events in Cinematheque, please visit here.

Ruotian Bai, Staff Writer
Ruotian is a first-year public relation graduate student in COM. She received Bachelor of
Management from Communication University of China (CUC). Ruotian worked as an editor
for CUC’s school newspaper for two years and interned in China Central Television Business Channel. She enjoys dancing, traveling and watching movies.

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