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Nevada Union High School graduates collaborate on ‘The Story of Diana’ for ABC

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WHAT: “The Story of Diana”

WHEN: Aug. 9 and 10 at 9 p.m.

WHERE: ABC (Channel 10), http://www.abc.go.com

There is something to be said of true friends.

People tend to come and go throughout life, but when you find a true friend it’s rare.

And being able to work with your best friend? Even more rare.

Two local filmmakers have found such luck.

“We’ve been across the country from each other for the majority of our careers, so it meant a lot to me personally that I could finally tell a story with one of my best friends, and one of the best storytellers I know.”Chris Iversen

Curtis Grout and Chris Iversen have been friends since high school. Graduating from Nevada Union High School in 2002. Both attended San Francisco State to study filmmaking, specifically film editing.

Their career paths led different directions, but they have finally collaborated on a project. One that will premiere during primetime on ABC Aug. 9 and 10 called “The Story of Diana.”

“This is the first big project we have been able to work on together and its pretty amazing. We’re shocked that it’s taken us this long to work together but it’s been really awesome to finally do it,” said Grout.

Iversen has been in New York City for the past 10 years, while Grout has bounced back and forth between New York and his home here in Grass Valley.

Iversen has worked on several shows and documentaries including: Emmy-award winning “We Could Be Kings,” “Keepers of the Game,” and “One and Done.” He is currently working on multiple projects in New York.

Grout has worked on several projects ranging from scripted comedies to documentaries including: “Codependant Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Fame” and “The Foxy Murkins,” both comedies of which he’s proud that screened at the Sundance Film Festival. He’s also worked on many documentary films. Currently, Grout is working on a few pieces with Bloomberg News. Bouncing back and forth between projects gives him a variety he enjoys, but he is more interested in the documentaries.

“It’s more or less real life,” he said. “You’re taking someone’s life and trying to tell it truthfully. It’s like reading a good biography.”

Growing up

Both Grout and Iversen have been thick as thieves since high school. They both had a passion for film at an early age. For Iversen that passion was born while working at “All the Best Video” in Penn Valley, and the perks of free rentals as an employee gave him access to countless hours of film. From there, he got his own camera and began to film everything.

Grout’s passion started similarly. In high school he took a media class which required him to do weekly newscasts. From there, he also got a hold of a camera and began filming. The passion for film in high school only grew stronger when Grout went to college. It was the history and the evolution of film that captivated him and turned his passion into a career.

The two roomed together in college and hoped to someday work together somewhere down the line.

Ten years later an opportunity presented itself.

“It was amazing to do this movie with Curtis because we both grew up in Nevada County together, and he’s been my kindred spirit professionally for the last 10 years,” Iversen said. “We’ve been across the country from each other for the majority of our careers, so it meant a lot to me personally that I could finally tell a story with one of my best friends, and one of the best storytellers I know.”

The Story of Diana

Iversen had been working for Maggie Vision Productions and actively tried to recruit Grout to work alongside him. He had an opportunity to pitch Grout to his boss and land him an interview to work on “The Story of Diana.” Iversen said Grout crushed the interview and the two began working together for the past four months in New York City.

“I have been trying to get him out here for a while now. He used to live here for a short time but I have been trying to get him to stay and work here with me, and this was the project that finally got us to work together,” said Iversen.

Iversen’s hour of “The Story of Diana” focuses mainly on the media coverage of Princess Diana.

“We tried to zoom out further than the paparazzi — like who was paying for the paparazzi as well as the public fascination of her, which was sort of the main thrust of my hour,” said Iversen.

It’s more of an overall look into the media, while Grout’s hour was all about what Diana had done leading up to her death. He focused on how Diana wanted to spend time with people and change their lives for the better, from the charity work she performed to the world’s reaction to how she died.

“We also took a look on how she transformed the media. She would use the media and in turn the media used her. It’s kind of a bummer that she wasn’t able to turn it off,” said Grout.

Both Grout and Iversen said they are proud of the project and enjoy the doc genre.

“In general I like to give documentaries a more narrative feel to them,” said Iversen. “In documentary editing, you have a lot more creativity in telling the story. You kind of get to write the movie in the edit versus having something scripted.”

“We both are very proud of how this doc turned out,” said Grout. “It was nice that Chris’s hour ended up going right into mine.”

“The Story of Diana” premieres part one of a two-part special, 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9, and the second part on at 9 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 10, on ABC.

Prospector Editor Sean Jordan can be reached at sjordan@theunion.com or 530-477-4219.


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