Baylor faculty wins audience award for best feature drama

 

By Julia Vergara | Staff Writer

Two Baylor film and digital media faculty members won the Audience Award for Best Feature Drama at the 2017 Woods Hole Film Festival.

The film, “Blur Circle,” was directed by Chris Hansen, a chairman of and professor for the film department, and written and produced by Brian Elliot, a senior lecturer.

According to Hansen’s website, the film “Blur Circle” is about a single mother who is unable to face the possibility that her son, who disappeared two years prior, could be gone forever. As she continues her search, she meets a man with a shrouded past who forces her to look at her life in a completely new way.

“We wanted to talk about the idea of a person who’s stuck and doesn’t know how to move on from there and how we sometimes need an interruption in our lives to shake us out of where we are,” Hansen said.

Hansen said the story resonates with people who have children, because they can understand the grief and pain the main character is going through.

Hansen said while he came up with the main character and the dilemma that she was facing, it was Elliot who put the words on paper and created the story out of the vague ideas that he had.

“One of the things when you write a film—you’re always trying to think how do I give them an experience that will lead them to emotion rather than just explaining or talking about an emotion,” Elliot said.

The Q&A portion of the film festival is where they found that the audience was engaged in their film. It was humbling to see people genuinely and unanimously saying that their film was great, Elliot said.

“You hope it’s good, but you’re never completely sure until you let other people see it,” Elliot said.

This is the fourth time the two film and digital media faculty members worked on a film together. Every summer, the film and digital media department hosts a workshop where some students have the opportunity to be a part of the crew and learn from professionals, Elliot said.

The professionals that are hired know that they’re not just there to do their job but also to provide mentorship to the students, Elliot said.

Most students who participate in this workshop have not worked on a set this size with as many moving parts, and it’s exciting for them to have the opportunity to do something that’s much bigger than anything they have done in the classroom, Hansen said.

“When they come back in the fall and start doing their own projects, the quality tends to elevate because they start to realize what it takes to get the lighting just right or to worry about sound or to fight for the actor to get the performance we need them to,” Elliot said.

As for the future, Hansen said that he and Elliot are already in the writing phase for their next film and if everything goes well they will be shooting it next summer.

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