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Interview With Robert Hensley Winner of Cinefern Film Award and Competition

Homewrecker a Film Written, Directed and Produced by Robert Hensley won Best Editor award at Cinefern Film Award and Competition's November 2018.

Homewrecker Poster

The Film is about Stan is a successful businessman. He has it all; nice house, fast car, and the trophy wife. However, he's not faithful. He's having an affair. When his wife finds out, she gives a whole new meaning to "til death do us part!"

Robert is a Los Angeles-based writer/director with over two decades of experience working in entertainment; first in theatre and then film. Robert began his career as a costume designer, later transitioning to makeup and special effects, and now filmmaking. Robert's first produced screenplay, the short film “Texas Toast,” was produced by Alyson Fouse and directed by Chane't Johnson. Over the past ten years, he has written, directed and produced a variety of scenes and short films, including the drama “A Mother's Love,” starring veteran character actress Veronica Alicino. His award-winning short film, “The Taste of Salt,” screened in five festivals in five months, winning five awards. His award-winning contemporary ghost story, “Homewrecker,” was inspired by the traditional fable of "La Llorona.”

Robert is currently in post-production on his first feature, the family drama “Family Affair.” He is also producing the weekly, short-form video show, “Truth Be Told Minuteman Report” on YouTube. He is set to direct the romantic comedy “Roasted,” which he also wrote, with Susan Bernhardt and Jillian Clare of Leonian Pictures.

Robert was recently nominated for a Best Makeup Emmy for his work on Season Four of Kit Williamson’s “Eastsiders.”

Interview With Robert Hensley

Q: What is the basic Idea Behind the film?

Robert Hensley: “Homewrecker” is inspired by the tale of La Llorona. In Latin-American folklore, La Llorona was a woman who drowns her children to spite a cheating husband and now roams the riverbanks, mourning what she’d done, andseeing this wailing woman in white is an omen of impending death or disaster. In my research, I discovered other regional variations of the story, and some Native American lore, which felt related. I based my screenplay and the imagery of the film on themes that ran through all the original source materials: the jilted wife, activities and places related to water, etc. I was also paying homage to the horror films from the early 80s that I loved growing up – still love, actually.

Q: How do you handle the Pre-Production, and Post Production?

Robert Hensley: I created a schedule for Preproduction, giving myself a month to get everything together: actors, sourcing locations, making sure travel and accommodations were in order, etc. It was a month of lists, of checking and re-checking, of tying to think of any possible issues that might arise and having a solution on hand. I feel being organized and being prepared in pre-production is paramount.

Post production was another 3-day plan. Our video and audio files were delivered to the editor, and then the cut went to the composer, and color correction and a final mix. Then, it was in the can!

Q: What do you do to stay calm during Production of the film?

Robert Hensley: I don’t know that you really “stay calm” during production. I think you exist in this place of anxious energy. You calm down once it’s finished. Staying organized and prepared, ready to make decisions and make changes on the fly, is what keeps it all on the rails. There are always going to be things that blindside you during the process, and you must be willing to adjust and make compromises that support your vision, yet still get the job done.

We all have that “blue sky” vision of what the film will be, but sometimes things happen to threaten that vision. We can fall apart and throw a fit or we can look at the issue and come up with solutions to do things differently. If you aren’t organized and prepared, you might not be in a place where you can really wrap your head around those kinds of quick changes.

Q: What sort of stories excites you?

Robert Hensley: I love character-driven stories. I like seeing moments – or the moment – how people change and evolve.

Q: Do you think all the good stories have already been made into a movie?

Robert Hensley: If I thought all the good stories had already been made into films, I wouldn’t be making films! Absolutely not. Until every story or every theme has been explored from every angle, there are still films to be made.

Q: While casting for your film you prefer to cast a well known face or any new face which fit the character?

Robert Hensley: Every filmmaker dreams of working with a well-known actor – even if just for the distribution angle – but budgets and union contracts, deposits and insurances all seem to be against the indie filmmaker when it comes to being able to work with name talent. Instead, I try to find the strongest talent for a role that is available to me at that moment. New faces tend to be hungry and want to work. They have something to prove. They bring a certain passion and drive to a project that is worth more than a semi-celebrity who might not be giving it their best.

Q: What is the most enjoyable thing about Production of the film?

Robert Hensley: “Homewrecker” was shot by Jason Lange, who has shot all my short projects. We have a great shorthand together, and he gets what I want. I had wanted to work with these actors for a while, and this project came together and gave me a fantastic opportunity to invite them to come on board. That’s the most enjoyable part for me – the work, the collaboration.

Q: What is the best possible way to promote your film when you are on a tight budget?

Robert Hensley: The best way to promote your film on a tight budget is to create a free website, build a Bitly link, throw it on a business card, and submit your film to festivals. Go to festivals and networking events. Give out those cards! Talk about your work on social media. Let people know what you’re doing. The best advertising of your skills and your finished projects is word of mouth. Take the time to do some good old-fashioned outreach.

Q: When your next film is coming and what is it about?

Robert Hensley: That is a very good question! I shot my first feature in 2019, but COVID did a number on us in post. It’s taken a little longer to get this one completed, but we are working on it! Hoping to get “Family Affair” submitted to festivals this Fall.

Q: What advice do you want to give to the new and upcoming filmmakers?

Robert Hensley: If you want to make a movie, do it. Don’t wait to raise a million dollars if you can do it for a thousand. You don’t need a RED when you can make a movie on your 5D – or even on your iPhone. Remember, an audience only sees the finished product. They don’t ever need to know how it all got put together. Look for production value where you can find it for free. Spend your money on sound and post. We are called creatives for a reason – get creative!


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