Chris Hansen, a film professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, has combined his love of storytelling and digital media into a film career.
Hansen's latest film "Endings," released on June 11, is a feature-length drama that tells the story of three strangers who meet and discover they are all dying on the same day.
"I wanted to tell a story about people from different walks of life whose lives intersect with each other," Hansen said.
Hansen, the director of the film and digital media program in the Communication Studies department, has made two other films-- a documentary called "Clean Freak" and a mock documentary called "The Proper Care and Feeding of an American Messiah." The latter was screened at 20 festivals and took home several best feature awards.
"I started out thinking I knew exactly what I was doing, but now I realize that film is a learning process," Hansen said.
"Endings" had more than 30 speaking roles. Hansen wrote the script with the male and female leads in mind. Another female lead was played by his 12-year-old daughter, Emma Hansen.
"I really wanted to work with actors I had worked with before; you develop a rapport with them," Hansen said.
The film was shot in six locations on a tight budget. To help keep costs low, Hansen found free help from his film students.
"We do have to sacrifice speed for enthusiasm," Hansen said. "But it is worth it because the students learn so much and are not as jaded as most film professionals."
Hansen also uses film professionals, but he makes sure they are comfortable with helping film students on set before hiring them.
"Endings" was shot during the summer of 2008. Students who worked on the film were registered for the film work class. Shooting took place over the course of five weeks, six days a week, 10 hours a day.
"Endings" is playing in small film festivals and its official premiere was at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival on June 11.
"I know there were strong ticket sales, so I'm hoping for good feedback," Hansen said. "I have also had a few distributors email me about presenting the film to their bosses, so that is promising."
Hansen focuses on distributing his film primarily through film festivals and online vehicles such as iTunes and Hulu.
"It is much harder to promote and distribute the film than it is to actually make it," Hansen said.
Hansen hopes to one day have a full theatrical distribution for one of his films.
"Film is changing, and it is hard to get a movie in theaters unless it is from a Hollywood production company, but theatrical distribution is still a goal of mine," he said.