Baylor prof’s award-winning films offer BU students real-world experience
If you’ve spent time in Waco over the summer, there’s a chance you’ve seen a feature film being shot in restaurants, homes and even downtown alleys. That’s because when the weather gets warmer, Chris Hansen makes movies — in the process, providing his Baylor Film & Digital Media (FDM) students with unique hands-on opportunities.
Hansen, a Baylor professor and FDM chair since 2015, is also an award-winning filmmaker. This summer, he’s directing his fifth feature film, Seven Short Films About (Our) Marriage. The movie utilizes seven episodes to highlight the challenges most marriages face and the ways that couples approach them. (You can see behind-the-scenes photos and follow progress of Seven Short Films via Facebook and Twitter.)
Seven Short Films, like Hansen’s previous four movies (The Proper Care and Feeding of an American Messiah, Endings, Where We Started, and Blur Circle), is being created from start to finish with the help of his Baylor students and colleagues. Students gain experience in nearly every part of the filmmaking process, from setting up locations each day to recording professional sound and more. FDM professors play key roles: Brian Elliott, BA ’84, MA ’90, serves as producer and line producer; Dan Beard, BA ’14, MA ’16, works as producer and first assistant director; and Dave Garcia handles the editing.
Today marks the 19th day of 25 days of shooting — a schedule that underscores the professionalism with which the Baylor student filmmakers have to approach the process. They may be students, but the experience is a professional one. With professional actors and other industry filmmakers hired and on the clock for the shoot, the pressure to do the job right is real. Students receive class credit, but the experience goes far beyond their transcript. Many of Hansen’s past student filmmakers are now in the industry, serving on tv shows and movies like The Flash, Gone Girl, The Highwaymen and more.
Their work has earned positive attention and awards at film festivals and throughout the industry, but Hansen says the biggest reward is watching students thrive. “It’s immensely satisfying as an educator to watch students really start to take to these roles and understand what they’re doing,” he says. “We’re in a real-world environment that matters to a number of people, and it’s great to see them thriving.”
Sic ’em, Chris Hansen and Baylor filmmakers!
You might also like:
* Bears in Hollywood: What films and TV shows should be in a Bear’s media library? (May 2017)
* Baylor FDM professor honored for innovative teaching methods (Sept. 2016)
* Baylor alums and students standing out from NBC to Hollywood to SXSW (March 2014)