Dinner with Leatherface: Michael Kallio’s saga to honor Gunnar Hansen

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Michael Kallio – Hatred of a Minute – Courtesy of Michael Kallio and Kim Simms

Dinner with Leatherface

1428 Elm: Was Hatred of a Minute the genesis of Dinner with Leatherface? How did you get Gunnar on board?

MK: Hatred of a Minute and my friendship with Gunnar had a lot to do with Dinner with Leatherface. Gunnar was very supportive from the very beginning and was always a guy I could confide in or talk movie ideas with. We became fast friends and he had my back as a filmmaker.

I always thought Gunnar was one of the greatest people I’d ever met… Down to Earth, funny, kind, sincere, brilliant, humble but, most importantly, for me, was that he believed in me. I’ve been VERY lucky to have a number of people believe in me, whether things were firing on all cylinders and going well or if I was completely down on myself and ready to throw in the towel.

Gunnar really, truly and sincerely believed in me. He was one of the first along with Bruce and it stuck, even when the original project I wanted to do with him stalled and then when it fell apart, he still believed in me. That was the kind of person he was.

So, when he passed, I felt as if I needed to honor him. He was someone who deserved to be honored more than he was. In turn, Hatred WAS the genesis of Dinner with Leatherface. Prior to that, it was my first attempt making a movie with “Southern Hospitality.”

light. Related Story. R.I.P. Gunnar Hansen: Genre Loses Another Legend

Unfortunately, the REAL catalyst of the documentary was his passing. The day I had heard he passed away; I had just spent 6 hours cobbling together an ad slick for “Hatred of a Minute” as my friend Jeff was going to take to American Film Market to see if he could get any interest in a re-release of the film.

I had been combing over old pictures and reminiscing about making that flick and working with Gunnar. As soon as I turned over the sales material Jeff asked for, I found out Gunnar had passed via a Facebook message. At first, I didn’t believe it but soon found out it wasn’t just an Internet rumor.

Gunnar had succumbed to cancer. Not only did I not know he was sick but no one else did either. So, Gunnar really wasn’t “on board” per say but, his passing and his friendship was the real reason I started making the doc. Gunnar’s deserving to be honored as a performer, a colleague and a true friend, gentleman and jokester. GUNNAR was the genesis of the doc.