Hansi Oppenheimer, is a fangirl, her geekdom passions have been the driving force in allowing her to become a producer, director, editor and all around film maker. Her film, “Color Me Obsessed,” has been featured on the film festival circuit and her current labor of love, an untitled FanFic documentary is currently being filmed. Oppenheimer, took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for FanboyNation.
1. What was your inspiration for the FanFic Project?
It all started because I am a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BTVS) geek and I started reading Fanfic and articles on Slayage.com to fill in the time waiting for new weekly episodes.
Over time I became more interested in Fanfic as a unique subculture.
Since indie docs take so long to produce, it had to be interesting enough for me to spend a few years thinking about and FanFic is so rich and varied, I knew I wouldn’t’t get bored after a year or two.
Also, as an artist I am always struggling with putting my work out there, you know the dreaded “ is it good enough ” or “oh god, i suck” type of thing and the Fanfic communities dedication and bravery touches me deeply. I mean, they really inspire me. They make art without concern for commerce, they participate in community, are politically active, concerned with education and most of all, they bravely create. All this is worth documenting and celebrating.
2. How did this differ from your most recent film, “Color Me Obsessed” which in itself seems like a labor of love for any true fan?
Color Me Obsessed (CMO) is more of a history of The Replacements as told by their fans and The FanFic Project is more of a study about creativity and participatory culture.
It’s similar in that certain ideas like CMO and The Fanfic doc just seem to take off on their own. Since I have to live with the project everyday for years, it has to be something I really, really love.
CMO, for me, was all about the people, the fans. I loved meeting and speaking with them, drinking with them (hey it WAS a Replacements doc) and have remained good friends with many of them to this day.
And like the Mat’s fans, The FanFic Community has been wonderfully welcoming. They’ve extended invitations to come to their conventions, in fact, I’m raising funds so I can shoot at Ascendio in July.
Author, Cecilia Tan allowed me to turn her house into a studio up in Boston last weekend so I could shoot interviews with local Fanfic writers last weekend and we had a great turnout of writers showing up to discuss their work in Fanfic by way of theology, history, ethics and tons of others stuff.
All my films (Riding The Broom, CMO and The FanFic Doc) are basically explorations of cultures, I guess you could call them “tribes.”
I just make films about things I find interesting. Obviously, I am a huge fangirl geek. I have Paul Westerberg’s autograph tattooed on my waist and I just got a TKT for The Supernatural con this summer (yes, I even bought photo op passes so I can meet Misha Collins and Jim Beaver) I have a shirt signed by Bruce Campbell that says, “Stay Groovy, love Ash,” and if I ever meet Herzog and can get him to sign me, it might be worth a new tattoo. Am I a Pop culture Geek? Totally.
3. Can you share with us what you favorite fan fiction story for your documentary has been thus far?
I was really touched by a story Tea-Berry Blue told about how the FanFic community got together to help a young student who hated writing for school but LOVED Fanfic. Ah, there are so many…(insert generic “please support the project” here).
4. Tell us about Troubled Girl Films, why the name and how you decided to venture out on your own.
The name was kind of given to me by the folks I worked with at Playboy TV. Um…let’s just say it’s fitting and leave it at that…
Why work on my own? Sure, I’d love to have a crew, a cameraman, a sound guy and especially an editor but it’s more important to actually make the film then to wait until everything is perfect.
Honestly, if I had the budget, I would just travel and talk with the people I meet on the road. When I’m not shooting I spend a lot of time listening to stories in bars and in random encounters.
Bottom line, I just love hearing stories. I feel like sharing our experiences with each other is one of the most meaningful things in life. I’m just trying to capture that moment with another person that makes life worth living. That unique moment of human connection, that celebration of every person and their voice.
5. You worked for Playboy TV, was it an easy transition to move from a polished, glossy production to the more raw documentary style of films?
Ha! Let me make it clear, in no way was what I did for Playboy TV “glossy or polished”. Most people don’t know that Playboy TV (at the time) owned all the triple X stuff that runs in hotels on demand channels. I was the Ingest Operator and Media Trafficker, so I digitized all the footage for the On Air Promo editors. Since they had to cut X, XX, and XXX versions, I digitized the XXX titles. Yes, I watched XXX porn all day, everyday. Pretty great gig for a day job!
And, yes,there were some pretty entertaining moments, like the time my adult daughter and her dad visited me at work. Since I worked with the content all day, I didn’t even think twice when standing in the dub room in front of 20 monitors all screening various and extremely graphic sex acts until my daughter groaned and said “Oh God, I’m watching porn with my PARENTS!”
And you know, CMO wouldn’t exist if I hadnt been working at Playboy TV. It was a very creative environment and I got a lot of help from the editors. The original trailer that helped me get the deal with What We Were Thinking (films) was cut by then Spice editor Devon Halley
If you would like to help fund Oppenheimer’s FanFic Project visit http://www.indiegogo.com/p/104624