February 24, 2016 · 0 Comments
Photo by Raymond Deluse
By Mark Pavilons
Our entire history is built on telling stories.
A King native makes his living at telling tales and has received some recognition from his peers.
Matt Hansen, who’s worked in the film industry for many years, was recently nominated for Canadian screen award for original screenplay for “Zoom.”
He explained he was hired a few years ago to write a film for Rhombus Media, a Canadian production company (responsible for films like Hyena Road, Blindness, or TV shows like Sensitive Skin) to write a film based on an idea of a Brazilian director Pedro Morelli. This led to a co-production between Rhombus and 02, a Brazilian production company. Half the film was shot here, half there. The film stars Gael Garcia Bernal (who recently won a Golden Globe for another role), Alison Pill, Jason Priestley and Tyler Iabine, among others.
The film is about a director who is making a movie about a novelist, and the novelist is writing a book about a comic book artist. The comic book artist, in turn, is making a comic about the director.
“So it’s a bit of a head-trip, the film. But a funny one,” he said.
The film was shot in 2014, and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall.
They say art imitates life and in Hansen’s case this may really be the case.
Before his work in the film industry, he was immersed in the comic book world, working with companies like Marvel Comics, The Transformers, and “lots of other cool stuff.” Hansen worked as an editor for Dreamwave Productions, publishers of several comic titles including The Transformers, before moving onto Marvel/Dabel Brothers Productions.
His journey was not a typical one.
Hansen was a competitive cyclist for many years but was sidelined by an injury. At the time it really “sucked” he admitted. He began his publishing career as a cycling journalist.
His departure from racing gave him time to focus on more creative endeavors and this led to “a lot of cool opportunities, first in the comic book world, then the film world.”
Hansen adapted R.A. Salvatore’s novel The Highwayman as well as Ted Dekker’s Circle Trilogy of novels into graphic novels.
Telling stories is what it’s all about.
“It’s fun telling stories. I think everyone would agree to that. The hardest part is conveying them the way you want to. I think everyone is a Picasso or Stephen King in their mind. It’s that distance down the arm to the pencil or pen which is so difficult. I think the true masters see it in their head the same way that it appears on the page. It’s the rest of us who strive to do that–and that’s the biggest challenge.”
Apart from enjoying what he does, sunshine, a good cup of java and good health make him get up every morning with a smile on his face. He said he’s also blessed with an amazing supportive family and incredible wife.
Success in the industry doesn’t happen over night. It all takes a long time.
“You’re always worried things will go south and screw up, so patience and vigilance are key.”
Hansen said Canada is pretty supportive with their film and arts industry. There are more chances for newcomers to get their films made through Telefilm Canada or the OMDC, or Sodec in Quebec.
“There are a lot of chances here as well, given the stimulus to film and create here due to tax credits,” he observed.
The future does look bright for the Canadian film industry, but it’s a constant challenge.
“I think the ongoing arguments about public or private money supporting the arts will always be a challenge. Thing is, when the government supports film, they aren’t doing it as a charity – it’s also massive job creation.”
And with the relatively weak Canadian dollar, our talent and locations are extremely attractive for U.S. productions.
Telling stories is not only his passion, it inspires him. Amazing stories, told by “much better storytellers” keeps the flame alive, he admitted.
He currently has another film in development, the which will be released this summer in Canada, the U.S. and other countries around the world. He’s busy working on a few other films and a television pilot.
Hansen’s parents live in King City, and he attended King City Secondary School. He currently lives in Toronto, but tries to venture up to King as often as he can.
“It’s home. I love the country and fresh air and our beautiful little town.”
An expert in fiction, Hansen’s own story is very down to earth.