Monday, January 21, 2013

Road to Sundance 2013: "In Hanford' (short), directed by Chris Mars



Tell us about your film. What inspired you to make it?
It is an animated short film, 2- and 3-D augmented with live action called “In Hanford”.  It is inspired by the true story of nuclear contamination in the area of Hanford, Washington from a cold-war era munitions site, or rather is inspired by the true story of the residents of Hanford and the horrors they have had to - and still – endure.  While the plant is now closed, the grounds of the factory remain highly contaminated with radio active waste.  I was inspired to tell the story of this little known man-made disaster.

What do you love about your film?
I work primarily as a visual artist, and I feel my particular visual language of surrealism mixed with expressionism tells the tale effectively, emotionally. I created it from my heart, and am pleased the film has seen recognition that will get this story out there.   

How long did it take you to make your film?
I completed it over the course of about a year.

How did you finance your film?
I financed it myself. It was created on my fairly powerful home computer with various programs - and a lot of hours. 

What was the most challenging part of the filmmaking process and how did you overcome it?

It was also challenging researching the story, learning of all the suffering people were going through – their loss of loved ones, of health; of faith...their battle for retribution was fought with the government for years and years and years. They continue to fight a battle to clean up the area, to let others know what happened there. The other challenges were the technical ones - keeping track of over one hundred layers of information in After Effects, an Adobe Software program.    

Tell us about your experience getting into Sundance. 
I received a call on Thanksgiving Day from the festival - I was beside myself when I learned that "In Hanford" had made it in. I wasn’t sure if I had heard correctly. What a great holiday! I am very appreciative to have my work and this story recognized.  

If you had to make the film all over again, would you do anything different?
No, I believe it turned out the way I intended it to.  

What’s next for your film? Do you have distribution? If so, when and how can people see it and if not, what are your hopes for the film?

My hope is if the film can create awareness about the disaster that still persists - perhaps the light can stay on it, more can be done, and we as a culture can learn from it. It was also made in remembrance of all who suffered through the fallout, and those who still have to deal with the contamination and its perils. 

Can you provide any advice to other filmmakers who dream of getting their films made and into Sundance?

Keep creating and never ever give up whether you make it to Sundance or not. Express yourself with your unique voice. Art is its own reward.

Watch the trailer of "In Hanford" here:


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