Hansi Oppenheimer: Finding her groove with the Popcorn King

Photo: All Hail the Popcorn King - Courtesy of Chuck Wiser
Photo: All Hail the Popcorn King - Courtesy of Chuck Wiser /
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Hansi Oppenheimer
Photo: All Hail the Popcorn King – Director Hansi Oppenheimer with actress Kasey Lansdale – Courtesy of Kasey Lansdale /

Finding the Groove

1428 Elm: You have an impressive list of names in the credits. Some of these individuals are not easy to get a hold of. Did you encounter any obstacles trying to wrangle the talent together? Was it difficult coordinating schedules?

HO: It’s always difficult wrangling talent and scheduling interviews. It’s part of the gig. Asking other busy creative people to take time to talk with you is challenging but Joe was very helpful and reached out to some of the bigger names for me.

He also kept suggesting folks that I hadn’t heard of because he wanted to help them to get some recognition. Editing was the most difficult. It took about two weeks working remotely with my Editor, Brian Harrison Mack in LA while I’m based in NYC to figure out what the story was.

There were a lot of false starts until we found our groove. We have over 100 hours of interviews and a lot of them are only audio so we had to find a way to make those soundbites work visually.

Hansi Oppenheimer
Photo: All Hail the Popcorn King – Courtesy of Chuck Wiser /

Filmmaking Is Not Pretty

1428 Elm: You did a very nice job weaving everything together, in our estimation. Looking back on your experience, what was your proudest moment in this film and what did you find to be the most challenging aspect?

HO: Generally, a low budget film documentary runs about $75,000 – $100,000 and I was working with about $3000 -$5000 and not making any money for the hours of work that I have put into the film. I work a day job and then come home and spend another six to eight hours every day on the film.

We were very lucky with some of the artists that contributed to the projects for free. I could never have afforded the animation from Yoshi Vu & Daniel Quiles or Mike Yakutis or the music from Kasey Lansdale if they had asked for fair compensation to use their work. I think that people should be aware that this is a no budget film.

I raised some money on GoFundMe and on merch but overall the costs of this project came from working a minimum wage day job. It limited the amount of time I was able to shoot and what I could afford for post-production, audio mixing, traveling to shoot and the amount of time I could take off from my job plus advertising, renting the venue, paying for subscriptions to stock footage sites, Vimeo, Dropbox and all the little costs that crop up.

Under the circumstances, I’m very proud that we made a film that people enjoyed but hey, I’m proud that we even made a film at all.

1428 Elm: Do you have any advice for up and coming filmmakers on how to ensure that their vision is realized?

HO: It’s hard and it’s every day and you have to keep at it. I think you need to be that driven because ultimately no one is going to hand it to you. You need to want it so bad that you’re willing to do the work however hard it is or how long it takes. Obsession is my inspiration.

dark. Next. Joe Lansdale interview: Holding court with the Popcorn King

Thanks, so much to Hansi Oppenheimer for giving us her time and her wisdom on the reality of independent filmmaking. If you are in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area, you can catch All Hail the Popcorn King at the Jean Cocteau Cinema on Oct. 5. There will also be a Q & A session with her and Joe Lansdale.

Are you a fan of Joe Lansdale’s work? Let us know in the comments.