Lisa Hansell was the first filmmaker to submit to the first Trailer Film Festival and has agreed to be the festival’s first featured filmmaker to be interviewed.


 Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in film.

A: I started out in entertainment in 2006 as an FX makeup artist and transitioned into producing episodic content about 6 years ago. When the Train Stops is the first project I’ve produced “from scratch” and I have to say that I’m pretty proud of the work my team and I did! I still enjoy making monsters and aliens as often as I can, make no mistake, but producing is my passion because it expands my ability to help shape the direction of the entire production vs one slice of it. Collaborating with creative professionals to make audiences feel – it feeds my soul!

Q: How did you get the opportunity to produce this film? 

A: I became involved with When the Train Stops as a result of making lifelong friendships on another project, as is often the case. The story was written for veteran actor and terrific human being, Michael Forest (Marshall Preston Booth), by his sister-in-law, Bernadette Hale. Over cocktails one evening, I was asked by Bernadette and her sister, Diana Hale (Mrs. Michael Forest) to produce the film. I happily agreed to take the helm. It was Mike and Diana I’d met several years prior on another set. We’ve remained close ever since, visiting often and enjoying the aforementioned cocktails. Left to right: Darren Jacobs (actor, ‘Clive Emerson’), Lisa Hansell (producer), Thomas Buettner (VFX supervisor)Photo Credit: Alexander Vesely, on-set still photographer.

Q: What is the inspiration behind the story or the characters?

A: When asked about her inspiration for the story, Bernadette said, ” I’ve always been fascinated by trains and train stories and wanted to do one of my own with a beginning, middle and surprise ending. I actually wrote the lead role for Michael Forest, (Apollo on Star Trek & numerous roles on westerns) a perfect choice for Marshal Booth. Setting the short in the Southwest also felt right as well.” 
I got to work filling out the cast and crew with the very best industry professionals I knew. I called in SO MANY favors to add production value way beyond our budget. The upscale office in the final scene, for example, belongs to a dear friend who works in downtown Los Angeles on the 43rd floor. He donated the set free of charge!  Another friend is a horse trainer who supplied the horses and tack for just the cost of trailering them to set. There are many such examples of the serendipity that blessed me at every turn.

Left to right: Michael Forest (actor, ‘Marshal Preston Booth), Lisa Hansell (producer), Darren Jacobs (actor, ‘Clive Emerson’)Photo Credit: Alexander Vesely, on-set still photographer.

Q: Were they any challenges in producing the film?

A: Of course, the journey was not free from challenges. Finding a train set within the 30-mile zone that wouldn’t break the budget was a monumental task! The location for the opening was scouted in late winter and, by the time we shot the scene in April, the area had completely changed due to rain and overgrowth, and our director had to re-plan his shots on the fly.  Thanks to the professionalism and resilience of everyone involved, each challenge was met with a ‘Let’s DO this!!” attitude. 
The experience overall has been an incredible one that challenged me beyond my perceived limits and for that, I am so grateful. The fact that our short has gone on to win multiple festival awards is incredibly rewarding personally, confirming that I have indeed found my calling.

The Trailer Film Festival will be releasing more features on filmmakers who have submitted to the festival, keep an eye out for more! 
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Written By Carla Buckingham

Twitter: Sisterhoodfilms1

Linkedin: Carla Buckingham

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