Promoting positive change
By Evan Wood
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – A trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of the book “Wanders Pass,” was shown at McMillan Memorial Library on Aug. 7.
Leah Brown, the author of the book and director of the film, is hoping that the film and book promote positive change.
Brown moved to Wisconsin Rapids with her family when she was one year old and now lives in Nekoosa.
“I really loved living in a smaller town. I like the tight-knit community. I like that it’s one of those places where you can walk down the street and people say hello to each other,” Brown said.
Leah started writing the story 10 years ago when the story idea popped into her head. She finished it in February 2020.
“When I was 19, I decided I wanted to write a real novel. The past two years I got more serious about it and I wrote over half of my book in the last two years. It was very off and on,” Brown explained.
At the event, Leah talked about the filming process and their progress so far. She also explained her motivation behind adapting her book into a screenplay.
“After my book was finished, I got such great feedback from people who had read it. I thought this story would impact people on an even higher level if I combined the story with a film element,” she added. “In some ways, the adaptation is more powerful. As the author of the book, I am entirely pleased with the screenplay. I’m really happy with how it turned out.”
Throughout her life, her experiences in Wisconsin Rapids directly influenced the setting of her book and shaped her writing.
“When I was in ninth grade, I thought with one of my best friends, ‘why don’t we write our own books?’ From ninth to 12th grade we would write novels. The past two years I got more serious about it,” she added. “When I wrote my novel, I knew I wanted my main character to live in a community like ours where people are really close to each other.”
Leah is writing a sequel that she hopes to have finished by the end of this year. Right now, she is focused on raising funds and completing little steps to her goal of finishing her film.
“The hardest part of any independent film is to find the funding. But I’m focusing on the little steps and victories that we complete as we try to be able to finish the movie by autumn of 2022,” she said.
Her dream is to start discussions about intense and difficult topics such as family problems and abuse that her book touches on.
“I want my audience to be emotionally moved, I want them to grow so that positive changes can be made,” she added.
Leah noted that all of this work couldn’t have been done without help from others, specifically her family.
“My mom and dad have been my biggest supporters; they have really believed in me and that means the world.”