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With "Endings" Made, Local Filmmaker Works To Get Movie In Front Of Audiences

July 6, 2010

The finished product of the movie "Endings" represents two years of shooting, editing, tweaking, and marketing after it was written. For the writer, Chris Hansen of Baylor's Film and Digital Media Department, it was another creative step in releasing a film on a small budget. He used students in production. He and others worked on it in post-production around their full-time jobs. And he doesn't have big bucks to advertise or rent theatres, or a big name to attract attention. So he sends "Endings" to dozens of film festivals, beginning the process of acceptance or rejection that comes with the territory.

It used to be that filmmakers had to send out individual applications, freshly filled out, to every festival they want to enter. Now, a website serves as a clearinghouse for most film festivals, meaning much of the work doesn't have to be replicated. But even that comes with a cost.

That competition means hearing "no" is part of life for an independent filmmaker. But, having already in many cases had to scrounge for money and resources, they can be a resilient bunch. Thick skin and the ability to turn negatives into positives are almost mandatory to make it in the independent film world.

But thankfully, Hansen has heard "yes" for "Endings." His film debuted last month in Seattle, and audiences will soon see it in Atlanta. Last week, Toronto came calling to screen his film. But of course, getting accepted doesn't represent a finish line in the city where it will be screened. Hansen then goes about the business of promoting the film.

The internet has opened up a number of avenues to specifically target independent film lovers, so Chris searches for alternative papers like Creative Loafing in Atlanta, and has found friends who like his work on web sites highlighting the work of people like him. Because even though his world of combining film and education isn't as cutthroat as the power hallways in Hollywood, getting his film in front of viewers and making money can get a distributor to pick up the film, and make his next project that much more plausible.

So it's a pivotal summer for "Endings," and maybe the right set of eyes at the right time will result in distribution and an even wider audience seeing his craft. It might even mean a breakthrough for one of the students who worked for him, who have their names in the credits of a film being seen nationwide. But for Hansen, life goes on, and the next project is in the works. He's not ready to reveal what it's about just yet, but maybe a couple of summers from now, he'll be beginning this same process again. You can find a link to the "Endings" website and hear yesterday's story online at kwbu.org. For KWBU news, I'm Derek Smith.

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