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Interview with a Fangirl: Hansi


I am continuing with my series of interviews with Fangirls that I have met through social media!

Today, it is a great pleasure to interview fellow Fangirl, Hansi.

I became aware of Hansi through her interactions with fellow Fangirls via Facebook and Twitter while she when she first started working on Squee!

Welcome Hansi to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl. It is an honor that you took the time to answer these questions about being a Fangirl.

When do you realize you were a Fangirl?

My Post Producer, Chinisha Scott cosplaying as our logo Troubled Girl and myself at NYCC.

Chinisha Scott cosplaying as our logo Troubled Girl and myself at NYCC.

I think I’ve always been a Fangirl, I remember getting a autographed Adam West Batman photo as a little kid but BTVS was the first TV fandom where I had to collect all the DVD sets, action figures, trading cards and trade paperbacks. It was the fandom that first led me to the message boards and I discovered I had a NEED to have that show and everything about that world as a part of my life.

Cecilia Tan describes that need to interact with a media property really well in our pilot episode. That need is not just about the media -it’s also about you -its a reciprocal thing, it speaks to a need you have and helps you become who you are.

How has social media helped or hindered you?

Social media has been a huge help. I’ve made so many close IRL friends via social media. There’s a great community of fans around all of the shows I love; Supernatural, Preacher, Penny Dreadful, Whedonverse, AHS, TWD. We are always in contact discussing our shows, or planning meet ups, organizing for activism or supporting each other’s projects or just being there for each other emotionally.

Initially, I planned on making Squee! a feature documentary but I think thats almost an outdated medium, especially for fandom. We realized that releasing it as a web series was a much more direct way of reaching our audience.

I wish I had thought of it sooner. I’ve been shooting since 2012 so we could have been a few years into the series now. It also really gives us the freedom to make short episodes on all different topics within fandom and get immediate feedback. You know, most no budget indie documentaries take many, many years to shoot, post produce and then start screening so it takes years before you can get any kind of feedback. We’re currently working on a series of shorts about fan works starting with cosplay, then fanfic, crafting, etc.

When did you first see ‪Star Wars‬ or other favorite fandom, such as ‪Star Trek‬, Lord of The Rings, etc. and did you love it right away or did this grow on you over time?

I fell into Buffy The Vampire Slayer because I was working as a satellite feed operator at a post house and they ran the feed for whatever Buffy was on -UPN or WB at the time so I saw it every week while I was working and somewhere along the line I remember thinking “Wait, what is going on here?” And I was hooked. It was already the start of the 5th season so I had to go back and start at the beginning of the series and watch them in order. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched them. For years whenever I was having a hard time in my life, I’d hibernate and watch a Buffy mini-marathon and cry my eyes out and then come out feeling better and stronger. That’s what Buffy gave me. And I’ve loved Joss Whedon ever since. In fact, I passed him on the street a few years ago in NYC. It wouldn’t have been appropriate to stop him but I did catch his eye and said “Joss, I love you!” and without missing a beat he said “I love you too. Huge squee moment!

What have you learned from the ‪Star Wars‬ fan community or other fan communities that has had a positive impact on your life?

I’ve made so many wonderful friends all over the world. I’ve gotten huge support for my Squee project. I’ve learned so much and been empowered and accepted. Fandom is an amazing community, but as my co-creator Lynn Zubernis says, it’s not perfect, we’re still human and there are shipping wars and rivalries but for the most part it’s the most welcoming community I’ve ever experienced.

What else do you Fangirl about?

I’m a huge horror geek, I’m an acafan and love meta, there are tons of shows, Archer, Bob’s Burgers, Sherlock, X-Files, Hannibal, and lots of creators; Bryan Fuller, Whedon, Tarantino, Coen Brothers, B-movies, podcasts. I’m a huge pop culture Fangirl. There are just so many things!

Anything else you want to say to others about being a Fangirl?

That being a Fangirl is one of the best things you can be. It’s empowering to be able to say I love these things. It makes you want to create. You take that passion and use to it for whatever, writing fanfic, crafting, interviewing, podcasting, research, memes-whatever. Fangirling is all about love and that’s a positive and beautiful thing.

Please share more about #TeamSquee and the Fangirl Web series, Squee! 

Presenting our panel at Emerald City Comic Con with (from Left) Tea-bery Blue, Myself, Julie Hegner from On Wednesdays We Wear Capes, Jessica Mason, contributing writer to The Mary Sue, my co-creator Lynn Zubernis author of Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls.

Presenting our panel at Emerald City Comic Con with (from Left) Tea-bery Blue, Myself, Julie Hegner from On Wednesdays We Wear Capes, Jessica Mason, contributing writer to The Mary Sue, my co-creator Lynn Zubernis author of Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls.

#TeamSquee is my crew and we are:

Hansi Oppenheimer (Producer/Director): I’m most well known as the Creator of the feature documentary Color Me Obsessed: A Film About The Replacements. The film is the history of the band as told by their fans. Prior to that I made a short documentary about love spells called Riding The Broom that was picked up by Universal’s online site, Hypnotic.

Dr. Lynn Zubernis (Co-Writer & Co-Producer): Lynn is well known in the Supernatural fan community for her excellent books on fandom and her coverage of conventions.

Chinisha Scott (Post Producer and Editor): Chinisha is a filmmaker and educator. She leads the Young Women of Cinema Program at DCTV in New York– a program that assists young women to digest and understand the gravity of representation in the media, as the participants create their own original projects.

Devon Halley (Bonus Episode Editor) A professional editor, he works at Jove.com. He helped me on the original presentation we did to get Color Me Obsessed made.

We’ve also had invaluable assistance along the way from the hundreds of fangirls who we have interviewed, helped us to transcribe hours & hours of footage, given us feedback on rough cuts, cosplayed as our logo Troubled Girl, bought t-shirts and mugs, and helped spread the word. Gingerhouse created our logo cosplay costume based on an original drawing by artist Jane Russell.

Where can other Fangirls learn more about Squee?

Episodes of Squee are available on Youtube at no cost and more episodes will be posted here when they are available.

We’re currently touring at conventions screening Squee and presenting panels about being a Fangirl. Our next appearance is at http://www.newenglandsupermegafest.com in Marlborough Mass ‪on Saturday 4/8 11am-12pm‬. You can also find out more by visiting our Patreon support page https://www.patreon.com/SqueeFanGirlProject, Twitter @troubledgirl, Facebook/ and Tumblr.

Thank you again so much Hansi I really appreciate it! Also good luck with your Fangirl project Squee!

Interview with Hansi Oppenheimer about Squee!

Today, this everyday fangirl is excited to welcome Hansi Oppenheimer from Troubled Girl Films about her latest creative endevor, Squee! The Fangirl Documentary Project. 

 

Thank you Hansi for visiting The Everyday Fangirl blog and for taking the time to answer these questions.

What does the title of this documentary signify? 

“Squee” is a sound some think fangirls make. At least that is how pop culture sees it. I chose it as the title since it’s the sound of joy and excitement and that’s one of the things I most love about fandom and fangirls in particular. Fandom is one place you can express your feelings – whatever they are – and show your passions and excitement. So I am calling the film ‘Squee’ because it’s all about Fangirls, their community, creativity and expressing joy.

What prompted you to create a documentary on this topic and who or what inspired you to?

I’m very involved in fandom & fan culture. My previous film, Color Me Obsessedis an oral history of the the band The Replacements as told by their fans. The Village Voice called this unique take “the Rashamon of rock-docs.”  After Color Me Obsessed, I struggled with a film about fanfic for a while, but then I realized that my interest in it was because fanfic is primarily written and read by women.  I’m very interested in the creation of fanworks and transmedia, fandom as community, especially how women bond on tumblr, LJ and other platforms.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a creator and how does your work reflect some of these attributes?

I think being an artist is all about accepting your own madness. Allen Ginsberg said Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” Funnily enough, I met Ginsberg back in the late 80’s. I was briefly in the lock up ward with Allen’s lover, Peter Orlovsky. When Allen visited him, I asked him to sign the book I was reading. He signed it “Dearest Hansi, So Happy To See You Here” (signed Allen Ginsberg)”  Insanity and a sense of humor are the things that allow me to continue to make art. 

I hope my work expresses my humor, a little craziness and my respect for freedom of thought. As JG Ballard said “In a completely sane world, madness is the only freedom.

What kind of research did you have to do for this documentary and how is this different from others you may have worked on before?  

First and foremost, I love listening to stories.
Mostly, I talk to people. I think everyone has a valid story to tell and I’m always happy to hear them.  When I’m not working, one of my favorite things is to sit in an “old man” dive bar and talk to the old regulars.  But I also do research all the time. My background prior to film was as a tape librarian. I’m a huge meta and aca-fan and I read tons of essays on everything pop culture related.

What are you a fan of and for how long?

Currently I’m an uber- fan of Supernatural and The Walking Dead, Doctor WhoSherlock, also-TorchwoodConstantine, Bates Motel, Bob’s Burgers, American Horror Story, Grimm, Gotham, Arrow, Flash, anything by Joss Whedon (BTVS is my #1 first fandom), Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me, Agent Carter, X-Files, The Tick, The Guild, Big Bang Theory, Star Wars Rebels, Twin Peaks, Robot Chicken

What makes you laugh?

I have a pretty dark sense of humor. 

What makes you cry? 

Buffy. Whenever I have a really bad day, I cue up a marathon and weep my eyes out and then I’m all better.

How would you describe yourself?

I’m an old punk rock chick. I worked on “zines’ back in the day and spent a lot of my youth at CBGB’s.
I’ve worked as a tape librarian, worked in the porn industry (in post production) been an actress in My Name is Earl, Blue Bloods, Nurse Jackie, Life on Mars, Californication, Law and Order, Brain Games, Dexter among other shows. I was the writer/creator/producer on Color Me Obsessed, I’ve taught kids how to make films at DCTV, work at the Tribeca Film Festival every year, worked with the Big Apple Circus, at Lincoln Center and The Daryl Roth Theater. I spend as much time at cons as possible and will be hosting a fangirl podcast on http://thesupernaughts.com/ in May.  

When will the project you are working be completed? 

Squee should be starting to “squeen” at festivals and cons in late 2015. 

  

Anything else you would like to share?

People can donate funds to help with our post production costs at gofund.me/squeefangirlfilm or help by liking and sharing our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fangirlproject or our Tumbler http://squeefangirlproject.tumblr.com/ or follow us on Twitter @troubledgirl.  

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