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Film about dreams becoming a reality

West Linn resident works to see his senior project come to fruition
by:  VERN UYETAKE Devin Hand, 23, is asking for $3,000 to help fund traveling expenses, feeding and paying his cast and crew for work on his final film project before graduation – “Chimera.” The film about dreams is titled after an item wished for that may be impossible to achieve.

Have you ever had a dream you thought was real? A dream that blurs reality and fantasy, and convinces you of the former? So has Phillip, the protagonist of the film 'Chimera,' the brainchild of 23-year-old Devin Hand of West Linn.

The senior at the Art Institute of Portland hopes to raise enough money to fund the film, which is his final project before graduation. He is asking for $3,000, which will go toward traveling expenses, feeding and paying the cast and crew and renting equipment and locations.

The film follows Phillip, a 20-something-year-old, irresponsible asthmatic who has no sense of societal responsibility. One night he dreams of an archaic wheat field, which he is convinced is utopia. However, his father makes Phillip's search for his perfect world challenging by forcing him to face reality.

'It's really a story about the human condition and the little mannerisms that make us human,' Hand said.

There are a number of sources Hand lists that have influenced the story and ambiance of this film. Among them are the films of Wong Kar Wai such as 'Chunking Express' and 'In the Mood for Love,' Chuck Jones cartoons and the cinematography of Christopher Doyle.

Music also affects the film's mood. Hand will often write a particular scene multiple times while listening to different music to get it right. Most influential for this project are Andrew Bird, Brandi Carlile and Mumford and Sons.

'The emotional tone of the music piece contributes to whatever I'm writing,' he said.

So far he has done all the pre-production planning, working with his producer to cast the entire movie, using all local Portland actors.

Now, in the production phase, Hand hopes to complete shooting in three weeks. However, the biggest problem has been finding a location to shoot the wheat field scenes. Hand and his crew have searched all over Oregon for the perfect spot - one where the owners will allow them to use their property.

'We've visited many places, but the owners aren't willing to let us on their property because that's how they make their money,' he said.

Hand said he is uncompromising in his vision and demanding of his actors while on set. Though off set, he is soft-spoken, yet passionate about filmmaking with a wild imagination, which he admits was a basis for Phillip in the movie.

'I think when you write, it should be something that you are familiar with,' Hand said.

One could say that Hand was interested in film from an early age even though he might not have realized it. As a kid, he would imitate actors on TV and imagine stories of characters he dreamt up, he said.

Then one day while in eighth grade, he and his friend were hanging out at a house when they found a camera. His friend said, 'let's film something.' Soon they were telling simple stories, which became longer and more complex with each new project.

If this project has taught Hand anything, it's that he does not want to be a producer.

'I can't believe how much time I spend on the phone,' he said.

Besides, he'd rather focus on motion graphics because he thinks it's more organic, and that it's fun to build something from nothing.

'I like to get my hands on everything - except production - but I'm leaning toward motion graphics,' he said.

The film has already attracted the attention of the Oregon Media Production Association which awarded him a $300 scholarship and an invitation to its annual banquet, where he will brush shoulders with the high and mighty of the Oregon film circuit.

After the filming and editing of 'Chimera' is finished, Hand plans to premiere the film at the Hollywood Theater in December and submit it to various film festivals. But there is still a long way to go.

'If I am putting this much time and effort into it, I want it to be the best it can be,' he said.

For more information, or to make a pledge, visit 'Chimera's' website at www.chimerathefilm.com.