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Born in Transcarpathia (a place that her website describes as “a little known land of nomadic ghosts, barley mush and apricot brandy”) and now travelling all over the world making movies, Anita Doron is set to become one of Canada’s favourite film talents. A filmmaker since the age of 12, when she produced an environmental protest piece, Doron is about to celebrate the theatrical release of The Lesser Blessed , her latest feature.

TFS spoke to Doron in advance of the May 31st release of the film.

Describe your film in 10 words or less:

A teenage headbanger in the remote Northwest must face his dark past to liberate his romantic heart.

How did the film come about?

Sometime in 2006, I was handed the book by my friend Shelley Niro. I read it in one sitting and fell in love with the main character and his inner life.

What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about your film?

It will make you feel alive.

What was the best thing about production? What was the most challenging?

The best thing was being able to take Richard Van Camp story and see it come to life with the help of a brilliant crew and a dream cast. And that would also be the most challenging. Every moment of this film was challenging, from raising funding to finding the cast and then setting them on fire, immersing them in water, making them stand before hungry wolves, punch each other out and fall in love. But I’m not so interested in what’s easy.

You’ve been making films since you were 12, what inspired you to first pick up a camera?

It was a dirty river in my home town. My friend’s dad had a super 8 camera and I wanted to investigate why factories were dumping waste into the river and how the people of the town felt abut not being able to swim in it any more. Only the drunks would talk to us and we got called into the deputy mayor’s office and asked to stop filming. That was wild for two 12-year-olds, realizing that our little project frightened the local bureaucracy. There was no turning back for me after that.

What’s your favourite thing about being part of the Toronto film community?

It is a very vibrant and supportive community. We’re all making films, we’re all learning and helping each other, in it together. There is a lot of love.

What are you working on next?

I’m attached to direct a Markham Street feature film adaptation of Sailor Girl , based on the novel by Sheree-Lee Olson, about 19-year-old Kate who signs on to a Great Lakes freighter one summer and sails off into an unexpected world of sexual adventure with unruly men and tough women. The script has been adapted for the screen by Johanna Schneller and I’ve been a huge fan of her journalism for years. My partner Adam Huggins and I are co-organizing a TEDx conference in Brazil, which I’m very excited about, especially because of our yet announced theme. I’m also in early stages of development on a feature film adaptation of Sharon McKay’s gut-wrenching, beautiful Thunder Over Kandahar , about two teenage girls in Afghanistan. Also working hard on our garden in Wolfe Island, just today the corn and watermelon sprouted!

The Lesser Blessed opens on Friday, May 31, 2013 at Cineplex Yonge & Dundas.

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