Friday, April 27, 2007

Screening in Indy

Tonight, The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah will have the first of two screenings at the Indianapolis International Film Festival. I always hate missing festival screenings of my work -- it feels a little like I've orphaned the film, left it on its own to fend for itself.

Not that my being there would change the reaction to the film (nor should it). I just prefer to be there, to let festivals know that I appreciate the chance to screen there, to let audiences know that their attendance is valued by the filmmaker.

Of course, ideally, a film is screening in so many places that a filmmaker can't be at all the showings. But until I reach that point, I'll wish I was at every screening...

The fest is blogging at Indy Film Fest Interactive, if you want to check out photos and updates (I certainly will be!).

Thursday, April 26, 2007

End of Spring

I haven't been blogging that much lately for a number of reasons. First, I was in Vegas for a week at NAB (National Association of Broadcasters trade show). My department here at Baylor takes a number of students to work as interns there, and I was one of the faculty advisors on the trip this year. Second, the end of the semester is upon us, and I've been busy with end of semester "stuff." That includes the annual Black Glasses Student Film Festival, a departmental film festival that the Baylor Film and Digital Media division puts on every year. I've been coordinating and hosting the evening of screenings the last couple of years, and while it's not THAT much work, it seems like a lot all at once... so the past few days, it feels like I've been doing nothing but Black Glasses stuff.

But it's worth it to get a chance to screen the best student work that comes out of our department, and I look forward to doing it every year.

Counting down: one more class to go (on Monday afternoon), and then I shift into grading mode (and, if I can motivate myself, into Fall 2007 prep mode; it would be nice to get a lot of prep down now as we'll have a new baby in July, and that will make fall prep a little harder late in the summer).

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Video Interview

Clips of the interviews I did at AFI DALLAS are now showing up online. Check out this extended interview with me and lead actor Dustin Olson:


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Moving Pictures Magazine on AMERICAN MESSIAH

Elliot Kotek, editor-in-chief of Moving Pictures Magazine, caught The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah at AFI Dallas and had this to say:

Chris Hansen's long-titled mockumentary, The Proper Care and Feeding of a Messiah, is a ritualistic laugh riot. With a self-proclaimed “small 'm' messiah” as its anchor (just “a” messiah, a regional messiah, as opposed to “the” messiah), the first forty minutes of this film are as good as any "mock" being doled out by the Chris Guest gang. The fact this film was done in Waco, Texas, involving a teacher and many students of Baylor University is enlightening and encouraging. With Stranger Than Fiction/Arrested Development's Tony Hale contributing a cameo, this messiah's evangelical enthusiasm for antacids provides relief from religion's rhetoric.

Read his entire column on AFI Dallas for more on the festival.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Okay -- the post title is misleading. I'm not actually speaking of my recent film, The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah, which is still seeking distribution (and being considered for same by unnamed distribs).

I'm actually speaking about an indie film I wrote several years ago. Monsters Don't Get to Cry (IMDb) was shot in 2003, completed in 2004, and has been seeking distribution ever since. It tells the story of the aftermath of a school shooting, wherein a grieving father kidnaps and tortures the young high school student who killed his daughter.

It has achieved DVD distribution in Japan, and I'm told negotiations are underway with several US distributors.

I wrote the script, adapting it from a full-length play I wrote for my final MFA requirement. That in itself was an interesting process. The director, Kurando Mitsutake, wanted to, as he put it, put my "dialogue on a diet" to trim it down from its theatrical style. In truth, not only do I now agree with his assessment of the dialogue -- I think we could have (should have?) cut it down even more.

It was a very, very talky play, and that was intentional. I wanted to write something with a lot of speeches and monologues, and I wanted to just cut loose with dialogue. It was also my first full-length play -- I had wanted to write something that I could actually see produced, albeit on the stage. And, naturally, before it could ever get on the stage, a director read it and liked it, and it became a movie. Irony.

I've gotten the overly talky script out of my system, and I'm conflicted about the script now. It was written as a cathartic expression of my own anger -- as a young father at the time, with two young daughters -- in response to multiple school shootings around the country. I was trying to explore my own anger and evaluate the eventual endpoint of that anger. Perhaps it was my way of exorcising that response. I don't know. But I wonder now if it is too raw an expression of that grief and anger for it to connect with viewers.

It's weird -- I had sort of given up on this film getting distribution, and now it's finally getting out there. It makes you wonder how long these things really take to come to complete fruition. I was starting to feel like American Messiah was getting long in the tooth, but I just completed it in 2006, and it's still screening in film festivals!

Anyway, I'm not sure this will yield any money for me, the lowly writer on the project, but perhaps it will yield some other good things. And I'm pleased to see it getting off the shelf.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Astute Observation

So, the Indianapolis Int’l Film Festival people are posting the “summary pages” for each film, and they posted The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah’s page this weekend:

Indianapolis Film Festival's Summary Page for American Messiah

The reason I’m writing is that the woman who wrote the fest’s one-sentence “summary” really understood the film at a deeper level than most, and expressed it SO clearly in a single sentence.

To whit:

“Writer/director Chris Hansen’s mockumentary is an astute comic exploration of America’s preoccupation with religion that reveals the dubious results when marketing and capitalism become an indispensable part of spirituality. - Elisabeth Hegmann”

Elisabeth, you totally nailed it. Thanks.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Screening in Tampa

If you're in the Tampa area, you can see The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah tomorrow, at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club, at 3:30pm (DETAILS & TICKETS HERE). If you DO go, please drop me a line and let me know how it went (and how you liked it).

Bonus: it's screening in HD.

Something I just found out

On the IMDb page for a film, the "Release Dates" page includes film festivals. I had no idea. I just uploaded 15 updates for the page.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Cinematical Review of My Film

Well well well, so Kim Voynar of Cinematical saw The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah while she was at AFI Dallas (though she saw Messiah on a DVD screener because she missed the screenings)...

As a result, I've achieved a goal of sorts -- a positive review on Cinematical.

Cinematical's Review of The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah can be found here

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Panel Pictures from AFI DALLAS

I didn't have my camera when I was on that panel about filmmaking in Texas at AFI DALLAS, but one of the other filmmakers did, and he graciously sent me jpgs of his pictures. Special thanks to Tony Quinn, director of AFI Dallas-selected feature film The Lycanthrope, for these pictures.

That's Will Wallace on the left, Tony Quinn in the middle, and yours truly on the right (with water bottle in hand -- it was HOT under those lights!).

If you see Chris Hansen, it's trouble

This article is NOT referring to me -- but it's still kind of weird to read a headline like this when you share a name with a network news personality who targets sex offenders:

If you see Chris Hansen, it's trouble


Congrats to the AFI Dallas winners, which were announced today at a special awards brunch at the W Hotel in Dallas:

Click here to see the list: AFI DALLAS WINNERS.

And no, The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah was not among the winners, but we had a blast being a part of this great fest, so that's okay!