By: Jessie Archambault


After producing films for over a decade, Kolin Casagrande joins Algonquin's scriptwriting program.
After producing films for over a decade, Kolin Casagrande joins Algonquin’s scriptwriting program.


An Ottawa-based short film producer and director joined Algonquin’s screenwriting program this fall to enlarge his career opportunities.

“This is the most logical thing to do next,” said Kolin Casagrande, 35.

After three short films, one feature-length film and a four year break from the film world, Casagrande is ready to take on a new challenge: writing his own scripts.

“I’m a giant dialogue junkie,” he said.

Casagrande took some film-making courses at Algonquin in 1999 as part of his general arts program.

“I became hungry for it and wanted to do it on my own,” he said.

His first film, Parkwood Hills, was originally released on Jan.18, 2002, at the National Archives of Canada. The 35-minute horror film was produced in the Glebe neighbourhood in Ottawa.

But, six months after its release, Casagrande realized the music for his movie had been stolen from another film, which had its soundtrack originally stolen from a website. He stopped making copies, he said.

Since, Casagrande re-edited the film and changed the soundtrack.

“It’s my movie,” he said. “I own the rights to it.”

The film is scheduled to be re-released this year but no dates have been announced yet.

The new version includes a commentary track, said Justin Braganza. He worked on the production, script, editing and special features of Parkwood Hills with Casagrande, the lead actress and lead actor.

“There was a lot of late, late nights,” he said. “I was an extra in a scene too.”

Braganza, 35, and Casagrande have known each other for almost 20 years. “I know how proud Kolin was of Parkwood Hills,” said Braganza.

After being on 30 different film and production sets, Casagrande took a step back from the film-making world. The ambition to keep going was lost, he said.

“I didn’t feel in control anymore,” he said. “I wasn’t feeling like I was doing what I was good at.”

This period lasted four years, during which he worked for the federal government of Canada at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Following budget cuts, his department was shut down.

“We all lost our jobs,” he said.

The government offered to pay for his return to school.

“I’m looking forward to go to classes,” he said.

Casagrande wants to prove to himself, his wife and his friends that he is taking this seriously.

“I’m working on the written part now,” he said.

How things go from a written document to a film has always been of interest to Casagrande. He wants to stay in the field as long as he can keep writing, he said.

“He’s doing something he’s very passionate about,” said Braganza.