Weirdo, the upcoming short film starring Windsor youth Spencer Hanson, will be making its way around the festivals this season. And it’s already got him a nod for Best Actor at the GenreBlast Film Festival which opened the first weekend of September.
“Well, it took me by surprise,” Spencer revealed about his nomination. “I was sitting on our front porch and then the director posted something about the festival. I looked and saw her name in the list of Best Directors and I was like, that’s cool. Then I looked at leading actors and I saw my name. I screamed, “Oh my god, I never knew this would happen!”
At only 14-years old, Spencer already has two IMDB credits to his name, including roles for Weirdo and another short film called The Silent Lay Steady, both from 2020.
He’s appeared on stage in productions for Windsor Light Music Theatre and Cardinal Music, and is scheduled for upcoming productions of Mamma Mia! and A Christmas Story.
Weirdo was produced and directed by Toronto filmmaker Ashlea Wessel and was filmed outside of Toronto over two days.
“We filmed 45 minutes out in Toronto near this forest in an abandoned school,” he added. “It was a two-day shoot. One was the bike school and everything that was required inside was filmed on the next day. It was all outside and cold.”
Spencer enjoyed working with Wessel.
“Ashley is a very nice person overall,” he said. “She’s very understanding and patient with people and she’s a really good director. “
Weirdo tells the story of an odd boy who is confronted by a bully in a conflict that leads to a grim conclusion.
“The film is about a kid who has been picked on most of his life. He’s a little bit deranged in his head and doesn’t really know it and becomes a bit of a psychopath by this one bully,” Spencer explained.
It’s not his first time being involved in a production to feature bullies. He appeared in a production for an online awareness anti-bullying campaign, where he was the bully. That production earned him more than two million views.
“Being the bully, you feel like you have more power over the scene and you can control what happens in the scene,” Spencer described. “When you’re not the bully but the kid being attacked, you don’t feel as powerful and you just have to go along with what the bully is doing. It was different and much easier being the one being attacked.”
Spencer has his first chance to see the film at its online screening at the GenreBlast Festival, but he’s not looking forward to the event.
“I’m one of those people that don’t want to see myself on screen,” he said. “It’s because every time I see myself on screen, I just feel like oh, I could have done that better. It’s a good way to push myself to do better next time, I just don’t like seeing myself on screen at all. I do enjoy being on the screen though.”
Spencer is hoping to continue making films and to eventually become a professional actor. To hone his skills, he’s investigating an education at UCLA or NYU.
Along with the GenreBlast Film Festival, Weirdo has also been scheduled as an Official Selection at the 2020 Horrible Imaginings Film Festival, also taking place the same weekend in Santa Ana, California.