Wikinews interviews Kristian Hanson, producer-director of indie horror film 'Sledge'

Thursday, October 23, 2014

File image of a sledge hammer.
Image: Markscheider.

Just days away from Halloween, Wikinews interviewed Kristian Hanson, producer-director of independent slasher film Sledge. The film has been a recent source of discussion in horror fan circles, primarily due to its production budget of only US$800. Sledge is Hanson's fourth film to direct, according to Internet Movie Database.


 ((WN )) How did you come up with the idea for Sledge?

Kristian Hanson: Sledge came to me while driving home from my brother's wedding with my wife. She told me that I know slashers better than most and I could come up with something fun and unique, and that is exactly what I did with Adam Lynch and the film Sledge.

 ((WN )) What kind of pre-production work did the film require?

KH: Pre-Production involved John putting in some ads in the local newspaper and seeing if anyone would be interested in auditioning for the film. Planning the death scenes and figuring out what we could do without a budget and without anyone skilled in the ways of Special Effects.

 ((WN )) How did you set up auditions? How many days did you spend auditioning people?

KH: Auditions were held a month before filming and that is where Stephanie Tupper came to be involved with the film. Everyone else was a friend of John's and Dustin (Alex in the film) showed up by reading about the movie in the local Potsdam Newspaper. Without him, Sledge wouldn't be what it is today.

 ((WN )) How many days went into filming?

KH: Four days went in to filming all of the Adam Lynch and camp site stuff. The Amish Paradise trailer and also the Couch girl [character] segments were also a different day, so a total of six. I could say that [the] Assly [character] was an extra day, but I literally threw up my green screen and hit record on both the intro and outro, so an extra five minutes doesn't count in my eyes.

 ((WN )) You've said elsewhere that the production budget was about $800. What were some of the items/services that required buying/payment?

KH: The foam prop Sledge hammer, fake intestines, fake knives, [character] Adam Lynch's clothes, teeth, contact lenses, the latex for the mask and creating the blood is where all of the money went to. Also buying hot dogs, hamburgers for the small crew. Again we didn't have a set budget, this was kind of us just throwing our money out there to make this movie happen. We didn't have a sheet with expenses etc.

 ((WN )) What else have you directed? (...and what about your co-director??)

KH: John and I both co-directed the film we made back in April 2012 (a few months before Sledge) titled F4L:Friends 4 Life, but that film has not been released and to be honest, I doubt it ever will be. It was a learning experience for us and has a lot of humor, but not knowing about copyrights etc, I doubt we would ever be able to release it. I would love to remake it in the future though where I could build up the original ending and keep the same script.

 ((WN )) How old are you?

KH: I am a whopping 30 years old.

 ((WN )) Did you study film in college or have any other formal film-related education?

KH: When I was in college I took a semester of improv classes but I never went to school for film, and neither has John. He is the camera man and director of photography and is all self taught. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and will have a Master's Degree in Global Terrorism this upcoming March. So when it comes to film, nope, I am self taught in regards to writing and directing.

 ((WN )) Who made the mask? [worn by the killer]

KH: My friend Monster Matt Patterson made the mask. I emailed him after writing the Sledge script and told him the basic idea and he just ran with it. He did an amazing job.

 ((WN )) Did you do any location scouting before shooting?

KH: John and Russ (Nash in the film) went around [scouting] but to be honest, Russ's dad owned the land where we filmed 90% of the movie. Adam's 'Stabbin Cabin' [belongs to] a friend of John's and that is where we ended up filming that area. We had the entire film figured out before we went to shoot thanks to the people that were there to allow us to use their land.

 ((WN )) Did the movie appear in any large-scale venues (cinemas, festivals etc.)?

KH: The film played at the Twisted Tails Film Festival in Dallas, Texas, The Action on Film Festival in Monrovia, California, along with the Indie Fest where it won an Award for Merit in film making. We also had a screening in Los Angeles for fans where we had two-hundred people turn up back in June of 2013, which was surprising and just plain awesome.

 ((WN )) How many days did you spend editing?

KH: Editing took a long time. John spent night after night in his basement cutting and editing Sledge. It took three to four months [...] I believe, and thankfully Eric Xton of ScarCrow and God in the Machine allowed us to use his music throughout Sledge. Without that music, the film would not be what it is today, so a huge thank you to them.

 ((WN )) Is the movie available via VOD [video on demand]?

KH: Yes, Sledge is available on iTunes, Google Play, Playstation Network, Xbox Network and a bunch of other VOD providers, but I do not have a solid list [apart] from the main ones I named.

 ((WN )) What's in store for the sequel?

KH: In the sequel the movie jumps off where the last one ended but two weeks later. We make fun of the fact that this is a small town and in horror films it seems like everyone is a super-model or extremely super good looking. Adam Lynch has a lot more fun and a lot more deaths are planned that we intend to show this time. SledgeD will be just as fun as the first, with another group of people sitting down to watch Assly and another funny trailer for a made-up movie. All in all, it will be a lot of fun, with plenty of blood, horrible jokes and Sledging to go around.


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