If you’ve been in Edmonton’s film industry for a while, chances are you’ve heard of Katrina Beatty. With many years of experience in the industry, Katrina has built a reputation for telling underrepresented stories to the world.
We had the opportunity to engage in an insightful conversation with her, delving deeper into her journey, her company, and how this multi-talented individual became a voice to be reckoned with.
Who is Katrina Beatty?
Katrina Beatty has built a successful career through her company, Loud Whisper Productions, along with being a board member of Women in Film & TV Alberta (WIFTA). She is the winner of the 2022 Edmonton Film Prize and the film she produced, Before I Change My Mind, was awarded three Rosie Awards at the 2022 Alberta Film and TV Awards, for Best Scripted Feature Film, Best Screenplay for a Feature Film, and Best Cinematography in Feature Film.
Katrina’s passion for storytelling, exploring human connections, and telling underdog stories is what drives her company’s vision for filmmaking. Through her projects, she sees tremendous value in crafting meaningful films that resonate with audiences.
When choosing projects, Katrina’s primary focus is on the story itself. She believes that each project should serve the story and the medium should be selected based on what resonates with the narrative. To this day, there are many social issues that are still overlooked and it’s nearly impossible to address all of them, but little by little she still tries to.
About Loud Whisper Productions
According to Katrina, the decision to establish the company stemmed from practical considerations. As they embarked on producing various projects, it became evident that a formal corporation was necessary to navigate financing and logistical requirements. Although it was required, it was also an opportunity to fully define the company’s purpose and the values it represents.
How it started
Katrina’s love for filmmaking started in sixth grade when she would use her grandfather’s old hi-8 video camera to make music videos with her friends. Her love for filmmaking continued to grow and she pursued it at Victoria School of the Arts by taking video production classes, which solidified her desire to pursue a career in filmmaking.
Her short film, Lift, was dedicated to her late grandfather. Despite never seeing the impact he had on her, Katrina continues to shoot with his 35mm SLR to this day.
How it’s going
Katrina reflects on her journey, admitting that she was not naturally patient and initially expected quicker results. She soon realized that success involved taking many small steps that eventually accumulated to create a greater impact. She spoke about how she’s learned to be more selective in the projects she takes on, realizing the importance of understanding her worth and what she hopes to gain from each one.
The creative process from ideation to execution
Katrina’s journey started with a do-it-yourself approach, where she had to learn how to produce and develop various skills out of necessity. At an early stage, she recognized that if she wanted to direct, she needed to create those opportunities for herself instead of waiting for someone to hand them to her. As she progressed, her standards for quality also rose and she knew that she needed to develop collaborative relationships to take her work to the next level. By partnering with the right creatives, she was able to elevate her game and find joy in the collaborative process.
Before I Changed My Mind
Katrina’s award-winning film, Before I Change My Mind. tells the story of Robin, someone who might be described as non-binary by today’s terms, growing up in small town Alberta, in the 1980s. The film explores the journey of Robin’s classmates and the audience in trying to figure out what kind of person Robin is when confronted with school bullying and a love triangle. In the beginning of the film, the first thing that a classmate says to Robin is “Are you a boy or girl?” and that question is never answered in the film.
Katrina hopes that the audience realizes that it’s not important whether someone labels themselves as a boy or a girl but rather what kind of person they choose to be. Despite challenges in funding and delays due to COVID-19, Katrina and her team persevered and finished the film with the help of their passionate cast and crew and the generosity of the Edmonton filmmaking community.
The film’s completion is a testament to the strength of support from the Edmonton community.
“Filmmakers are driven by the desire to do better on everything they do”
Katrina admits that she is terrible for always finding flaws in her work and even if a project goes seemingly well, she can still see everything wrong with it.
Filmmakers must look at what they make within the context of resources they had and the time they made it and then learn from it to do better next time. This is what keeps filmmaking exciting; however, it also means that there will always be new challenges to overcome and she doesn’t think that she will ever walk away from a project feeling like it’s perfect.
Nonetheless, the film was a valuable experience for her to understand what she is capable of as there was so much to be done with limited resources. Katrina subscribes to Nina Jacobson’s take on producing:
“Every project wants to fall apart and every project wants to be bad. They have two instincts that you’re always fighting against. Make it better, hold it together. That’s the job. Unlike a sports game where there is a clear winner or loser, this is a completely subjective medium.”
Even if you believe you’ve made the best thing, someone else may think it’s terrible. It’s not necessarily about feeling good about oneself, but rather about the passion for the craft.
There are always a number of projects going on at once.
Nearing completion is Suitable, a short dramatic film made in partnership with Inuk filmmaker Lindsay McIntyre. Suitable tells the story of Lindsay’s grandmother coming south to settle in Edmonton from the Baker’s Lake region.
Katrina is also working on Friendos, a documentary following Lora Brovold as she comes to terms with a 25-year journey to obtain a diagnosis and receive excision surgery to treat endometriosis, a disease that robbed her of her fertility. Lora has been incredibly open and vulnerable in sharing her journey in a desire to bring awareness to this overlooked women’s health issue.
She is also partnering with Cree filmmaker Kelton Stepanowich, to produce a web series that is essentially an allegory for greed. Currently in pre-production, it will shoot later this summer.
A word for new talents…
“Consider your own goals when choosing projects, whether it be a new relationship, a paycheck, education or experience.”
As you gain more experience and control over your time, you can become more selective in your work.