Posted on October 2, 2008 by Tia Lalani

Former Armena area resident and Augustana alumni Hans Olson unveiled his new film Baby Boots at this year’s Edmonton International Film Festiv

By Dan Jensen, Camrose Booster

Former Armena area resident and Augustana alumni Hans Olson unveiled his new film Baby Boots at this year’s Edmonton International Film Festival. The film premiered at the Metro Cinema, Sunday, September 28.

A fifteen-minute fictional short, Baby Boots is the story of a father and son whose lives are interrupted by a young woman who shows up at their country home asking to use the telephone.

"I just finished the last tweaks on the credits, so it is officially done after all these months," said Olson. "It was nice to get to the end of the whole process."

The film was shot using 16 mm film on a farm just north of Camrose over a period of five days in May. "We had about 10 people around the set at any given time," said Olson.

A scene from Hans Olson’s short film, Baby Boots.

Two of the actors are from Edmonton, while another, a former Augustana student, is from Nelson, B.C. "The star is the person for whom I was a crew member on a feature film in Edmonton," said Olson.

Baby Boots is the second short film Olson has directed. The first was a five-minute short called Bronwen’s Ark, which he shot as part of a film class a few years ago in Edmonton.

"I was working as a support person for people with disabilities at the time and attending all the film workshops that I could that were available in Edmonton," said Olson.

After Bronwen’s Ark, Olson completed an eight-month film school program in Vancouver, where the major focus was on screenwriting.

Olson has been interested in making films ever since his family began hosting a film fest on the Family Day long weekend. The fest is now coming up on its tenth anniversary. "It (film fest) exposed me to different kinds of movies and what is possible," said Olson.

The making of Baby Boots was assisted by a grant from Canada Council for the Arts and a film co-op in Edmonton. "Making films is an expensive thing to get into," said Olson. "Luckily I have had lots of support from family members and friends. When we were shooting Baby Boots my mother was out there cooking every day and people were lending me vehicles to get back and forth."

Olson hopes that showing Baby Boots at the Edmonton International Film Fest will help expose him to a wider audience than he has now so that he will be able to attract more funding for future projects. "There is not a lot of potential for short films to be shown on television so really, this is the only place to show your work," he said.

"Having your film play in film festival allows you to develop a portfolio and makes your next proposal to make a film a little more attractive to a funding agency."

Olson is currently starting to write another short film which he is hoping to shoot before Christmas, and editing a 20-minute documentary that Sahakarini (using funds from Canadian International Development Agency) hired him and one of his friends to make this past March. The film, which will be shown to school classes, service clubs or any other groups interested in seeing how they can help make a difference either at home or in another part of the world, focuses in part on three villages an hour outside Guatamala City, where Sahakarini is working with a partner called the Presbytery of Kaqchickel to make micro credit available to three groups of women so they can generate income for themselves and their families. One of the groups does handiwork, such as weaving and embroidery. Another makes aloe and medicinal shampoo, and the third does small scale farming.

"It was inspiring to see the commitment of the women in the microcredit groups and to get to hear their stories," said Olson. "It has really been a group effort to keep these projects on their feet."

Looking down the road, Olson is hopeful that he will one day be able to produce a full-length feature film. "It is a pretty big challenge but it is something I think about doing some day," he said. "Right now I am happy if whatever I do allows me to move on and do something else. I consider that to be a good path to be on."

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