Chris von Hoffmann is a filmmaker who has done it all. He has worked as a production assistant, cinematographer, editor, actor, producer, and short film director. He can be considered a “jack-of-all-trades”. Chris made his feature film directorial debut with the post-apocalyptic action-horror tale Drifter, coming to theaters from XLrator Media on February 24 followed by an iTunes and VOD release on February 28.
World Film Geek had the opportunity to speak with von Hoffmann about the film and his filmmaking career.
Thank you Chris for taking the time out of your schedule to talk about Drifter. I got to see the film and I have to admit, it was better than what I expected.
Absolutely! Well, I appreciate that, thank you!
You’ve done a lot in terms of filmmaking, doing virtually anything from working as a production assistant to of course directing. What inspired you to get into filmmaking?
Well, it’s a pretty short story. I’ve always wanted to be involved in filmmaking. I’ve always wanted to be involved in nothing but movies and the movie industry as far back as my memory remembers. I was about six years old. I was shooting a lot of stuff on my camera that my parents got me when I was nine years old.
I shot a lot of unfinished films. I never really did learn anything, just hot a lot of stuff. I just wanted to get into filmmaking and I segwayed into becoming an actor for about six years, when I was in high school. After high school, I started making short films and always putting myself in them. Kind of create my own opportunity to become an actor and all that stuff.
At a certain point, I got fed up with acting and I just switched over to just directing, and at the time I thought it was too late to go to film school. So I just started doing different jobs within the industry. I did PA work and learned how movies were made, understanding technicality of things. It gave me the opportunity to be more positive about filmmaking so I kept directing. I understood the medium of things.
Let’s talk about Drifter. How did the idea for the film come about?
I came up with the idea when I was sixteen. I had the name, the basic structure of the film. Originally, it wasn’t a town run by cannibals, but actually a town run by supernatural forces. A ghost town. However, ten years later, when we actually began to develop it as a first feature, I realized it was going to be too expensive with the special effects so I decided to make it about cannibals.
But it was the culmination of everything that I’ve wanted to do in filmmaking. A love letter of everything I’ve learned and throw everything in the mix. Have this great genre mashup movie and make it an ultimate genre movie, all these things I wanted to see in a movie. And just bring it in, shooting it, all that good stuff. It is pretty much a nuts and bolts experience.
What was the cast like on the set of the film because for me, they really pulled out all the stops in their performances?
Well, they’re all people that I know from their work. They all actually came out of an acting school in North Hollywood called Playhouse West. I’ve also seen them in a lot of short films and I honestly felt that they could bring their roles really well in a creepy genre movie. So they were pretty gung-ho and I told them that if they want to make it work, they would have to go all the way. They did and they never complained and yeah, they went all the way.
I totally agree. They pulled out all the stops on this.
If you had to choose a favorite scene of the film, what would it be? For me, it would be the dinner scene because it was reminiscent of my all-time favorite horror film, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Oh totally, I loved that scene. My personal favorite scene is the end of the first act, before the brothers go into town and they run into the blood-soaked woman. That’s the scene where I got to exercise my love of horror and I totally enjoy it.
Will you be doing another feature film in the future and would you consider Drifter your dream project?
I’m actually working on pre-production of a movie that we are shooting in the spring. I’m working on casting right now. It’s definitely a step up from everything I’ve worked on so far in terms of the filmmaking process.
As for Drifter being a dream project, it is definitely a great film for me. The passion of that film I may never get to realize it again only because it’s my first movie and it was everything I wanted to do. It was like fire on all cylinders and throw everything I learned into it so it’s personal for me.
There are other chunks of dream projects that I’ve been obsessing about for like three years now so I would like to get that done.
Finally, do you have a message for the fans out there?
If you love genre movies and you want to make them, go for it. Make those movies because the people who love genre movies are extremely loyal fans and there are even hardcore, diehard fans. Take those steps in making your films because there will be those who will truly love them. And I think as long as there are genre movies, there will be more fans!
Drifter comes to theaters on February 24 then on iTunes and VOD on February 28. Thank you Chris for taking the time to talk about the film. I hope the fans will enjoy it as much as I did.
Thank you so much! I appreciate it.
A special Thank You goes out to Katrina Wan PR and Chris von Hoffmann for making this interview possible. Check out Drifter this Friday.