Indie film created by Baylor film chair purchased for distribution

Still from "Seven Short Films About (Our) Marriage." Photo courtesy of Chris Hansen

By Clay Thompson | Intern

A Baylor professor-made film is now available to watch on most digital platforms. The movie “Seven Short Films About (Our) Marriage,” written and produced by Chris Hansen, Baylor film and digital media chair, was purchased for distribution by the Nacelle Company.

The film revolves around a couple, Noah and Madison, who throughout the seven vignettes covering moments in their relationship, try to navigate issues such as racism and infertility. Hansen said he made the film to represent the emotional ride of a marriage.

“Best case scenario, I want the audience to experience the emotion that the characters are experiencing and feel for them and cry with them,” Hansen said. “From a message standpoint, I think the message is probably related to communicating that marriages can be difficult. People are individuals and they have to learn how to live together. But ultimately, I would say what I learned in my marriage is that marriage is a choice that you’ve made to commit to another person and once you’ve made that commitment, that is more important than the emotional roller coaster that you are going to have.”

Drez Ryan, who plays Noah in the film, said he wanted audiences to see through his character in the film to not take themselves too seriously. He said his main character’s dream is to change the world through his art, but it didn’t work out like he thought it would.

“Dream as big as you possibly can, but remember that you’re human, you’re flawed and that it might not work out exactly how you want it to, but it will work out in its own way,” Ryan said.

When the film was acquired for distribution by the Nacelle Company, which has production ties to several shows such as “The Toys That Made Us” and “Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History,” Hansen and Ryan had similar but unique reactions to the news.

“It was so cool to be able to tell my family that, ‘Hey family, I know I’ve been telling you for years I’m an actor and you didn’t believe me, but here’s the proof!’” Ryan said. “When I heard the news, I was initially in a state of disbelief, so to have this, to be able to share it with my family, was great.”

Hansen said he hopes the Nacelle Company will be able to further the viewership of the film.

“I’ve been doing this long enough that when I make something, I just want people to see it and of course to appreciate it,” Hansen said. “The Nacelle Company has some connections and they have a following, so I’m hoping through their distribution more people will have the opportunity to see it than they otherwise would have.”

Due to it being filmed in the summer of 2019, the movie was mostly able to avoid the obstacle of the COVID-19 pandemic, which plagued the film industry in 2020. Hansen said other than the regular creative differences and exhaustion that comes with filming in the summer, the movie faced no major obstacles. However, initial showings of the film at local film festivals were lacking, as many film festivals were canceled or went online during the pandemic.

“We released it right as the pandemic started for film festivals and so the festival run was almost all virtual,” Hansen said. “I’ve made a bunch of movies and they’re all available on Amazon or iTunes, but you just never know how many people are seeing them.”

Hansen said the film was locally produced, with a few scenes even filmed on Baylor University’s campus.

“The scene that involved the biggest Baylor location was the garden outside of the Armstrong Browning Library,” Hansen said. “I like shooting scenes on Baylor’s campus whenever possible because I feel like we have a beautiful campus and the people at Baylor tend to really want to work with you in situations like this.”

Ryan said he worked with a lot of college-level students filming at Baylor locations and while that was a new experience in his acting career, he said he enjoyed working with them as well as Hansen.

“Being surrounded by that energy and those various perspectives of life, since going to college is a new life experience for a kid, it was refreshing and entertaining,” Ryan said.

Through the distribution deal with the Nacelle Company and with more opportunities for people to see the film, Hansen said he hopes more people will find it and like it.

“It’s hard for independent cinema because I’ll flip past an independent film with actors I’ve never heard of, and so I imagine that people will flip past my film,” Hansen said. “Getting it out there is hard enough and getting eyeballs on it is really challenging. So anybody who watches the movie and takes a minute to review it and say something nice about it, it’s just a really gratifying thing.”