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Filmmaker Christopher Phelps on His Film, Hanging from Infinity, Premiering in Glens Falls

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Christopher Phelps on His Film Hanging from Infinity

By Monica Sirignano

Christopher Phelps on Hanging from InfinityBaggage–love it or hate it, we’ve all got it. In Glens Falls’ native’s Christopher Phelps‘ newest film, Hanging from Infinity, the lead character (dubbed The Hanging Man) embarks on a journey to overcome his baggage from a past relationship. Sound like a familiar tale? Not in this case. Phelps’ short film spins a unique approach on a familiar story, incorporating elements of the surreal into an experimental narrative, peering, as it does so, into the subconscious layers of The Hanging Man’s mind. (Did we mention the visuals are cool too?) Area natives, Lucas Van Scoy and Laura Hajek, star in the lead roles.

Phelps, a member and co-founder of the Upstate NY artistic collective, the Ravacon Collective, wrote, directed, and along with Maxim Van Scoy, produced the film under their production company, Ursidae Parade. The film will have its premiere this Saturday, November 26, with screenings at 8pm and 10pm, at Aimee’s Dinner and a Movie in Glens Falls. I recently had a chance to talk to Chris about Hanging from Infinity, and his plans for the film’s future.

Hanging from Infinity, courtesy of Ursidae ParadeThe Free George: Can you tell us a little bit about the film, Hanging from Infinity?

Christopher Phelps: Hanging from Infinity is an experimental narrative short film that follows a man on a journey through his mind. We follow him through fleeting thoughts, ideas, dreams, nightmares, and distant memories that all surround a relationship he once had with a mysterious girl.

TFG: What was the filming process like? Did a lot of the story come out of improvisation?

CP: The filming process started with just a few images and a vague concept. The story itself was built off of what we would come up with. From there I could see the story slowly start to form and I wrote a script. The freedom of where we could go with it was important, so I kept it open. We would rethink, reshoot, and cut scenes when we felt it necessary. The film’s evolution felt alive.

TFG:  Was not having a script as a basis to work with scary at all for you or the actors? Or did you feel like it actually g ave you more freedom in the process?

CP: It was never scary not having a script. At that point we didn’t really know what was going to come out of it, we were more or less just having fun with it.

Most of the heavier dialogue scenes were all scripted but I wanted to keep it as free and open as it was at the beginning, so I encouraged not sticking directly to the script.

Hanging from Infinity, Couretesy of Ursidae ParadeTFG: The lead actor, Lucas Van Scoy (a member of the band William Hale), did he write the score for the film as well?

CP: The main score is actually done by Stephen Phelps (my brother). Lucas wrote a song a few years back entitled “World Losing Pity” that is in it. He also recorded a new version which is a reprise to “World Losing Pity” that’s in it as well.

TFG: And Laura Hajek, who plays the female lead, she lives in NYC now? I also read that she’s a candidate for Miss NY USA?

CP: Yeah, Laura lives in NYC.  We’ve been friends for a while.  When I realized I wanted her to be in the film she was nothing but ecstatic and ready for it, so it was never a problem getting her to come upstate for a weekend of filming.

Her candidacy for Miss NY USA is exciting, her beauty and talent are destined for great things and I wish her the best of luck.

TFG: Was the film based on any personal experiences?

CP: The film is not based on any specific experience of mine. But that’s not to say it’s not personal to me. It’s about someone going through an extremely rough time and dealing with the weight of their baggage. It’s about trying to understand and move forward. I think we can all relate to that.

hanging from infinity, courtesy of ursidae paradeTFG: Absolutely. In regards to do the filming, was most of it done in Glens Falls?

CP: We filmed in many locations from the rural farmlands in Cambridge, NY to the cityscapes of Brooklyn, but most of the filming was done in Glens Falls. Many scenes were filmed in our studio at the Shirt Factory in Glens Falls, and we even shot a few scenes in my backyard.

TFG: The trailer is most definitely intriguing, and the visuals are great—you definitely get a sense of the surreal, and it has an almost theatrical feel to it as well.

Something I thought was interesting was that you mention that the film can only exist as a film, as oppose to other creative forms or being drawn from other creative/commercial forms, which is an interesting concept—can you elaborate more on what you mean by that and why that’s important.

CP: I actually can’t take credit for writing that, Maxim Van Scoy, one of the producers on the film wrote that up. I think what he means by that is Hanging from Infinity is trying something fresh. Not to say that there aren’t things like it, but these days nearly everything put to the screen is solidly based on some other material. I’m a visual director—this film’s concept is derived purely from those visuals that existed as moving pictures we created early on in the process.

TFG: You’re also one of the founders of both the Ravacon Collective and Ursidae Parade, can you tell us a little about those and how they came about?

CP: Maxim Van Scoy and I founded both these companies together. The Ravacon Collective is an art collective based in upstate New York consisting of fellow filmmakers, musicians, and other artists. At its core, it’s a group of friends, some residing upstate and some in New York City.

Ursidae Parade is a film production company headed by Maxim and I. Hanging from Infinity is the first official production by Ursidae Parade.

Hanging from Infinity, courtesy of Ursidae ParadeTFG: In terms of being an experimental filmmaker, what do you think some of the challenges are, in not only making your film accessible, but attempting to tell a relatable story within the context of a nonlinear structure?

CP: Well, with a story like this, I know that some people will get it, others won’t. Some people will really like it, and some won’t. That goes for anything really, depends on the person. Here it’s about understanding a feeling, maybe not being able to explain it, but connecting with it on some level.

TFG: So what are your plans for Hanging from Infinity after its premiere at Aimee’s Dinner & a Movie–have you submitted it to any film festivals?

CP: All the money we get from ticket sales, donations and merchandise (posters) at the premiere will go to submission fees for festivals in which we want to send Hanging from Infinity. Next month we’re going to have a television broadcast on the local television station Look TV, and the goal is to get it online in the near future.

For more info on Hanging from Infinity and its premiere at Aimee’s Dinner and a Movie, visit www.ravacon.com. Watch the film trailer here as well.

Monica Sirignano is Co-Publisher of The Free George.

(Photos courtesy of Christopher Phelps and Ursidae Parade.)

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

Short URL: http://thefreegeorge.com/thefreegeorge/?p=16008

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