Officially Selected Alumni Interviews

Tim Shaughnessy Hansen: Lift-Off Short Listed Season Awards Filmmaker Interview

Tim Shaughnessy Hansen is a Writer and Director from Denmark, currently studying at KBH Film & Fotoskole, Copenhagen. 90 Hours is Tim’s debut short film, and follows troubled teen, David, whose life takes an unexpected turn when he crosses paths with an unassuming priest.

After a gas station heist, David is sentenced to 90 hours of community service in a local church. There he meets Paul, a patient Priest, initiating an unlikely mentorship that propels David’s journey of self-discovery. Through Paul’s guidance, David confronts not only his insecurities but also his toxic friend group, as he learns the profound meaning of strength in vulnerability.

As their bond deepens, the film reveals the impactful nature of compassion, exploring the significance of men embracing authenticity, opening up, and forging genuine connections. This is a story where a boy’s misguided path intersects with a priest’s wisdom, fostering an unexpected transformation that resonates with universal significance.

90 Hours screened at the New York Lift-Off Film Festival. We interviewed Writer/Director Tim Shaughnessy Hansen to hear more about his intentions behind the story, his filmmaking inspirations, as well as his plans for some more experimental projects in the future.

90 Hours has been short-listed for Best Acting Ensemble for the 2023 Lift-Off Season Awards.

Interview by Ollie Baines

What is your film about? And why did you want to make it?

“The film is about the struggle to define one’s identity, expressed through the young boy, David, who is struggling to find his place in the world. He is on a self-destructive path, involving himself in petty crimes with his exploitative friends. A path that is the result of an inner conflict within David, caused partly by an absent father figure, that he is both unable to understand and resolve by himself. When he is sentenced to community service in the local church he is forced to acquaint himself with the church’s priest, Paul, and suddenly finds himself at a crossroads between the path he is currently on or one that is built on trust and allowing himself to listen to the wisdom of his new mentor.

“I made the film because I wanted to tell a story that showed the dangers of suppressing one’s inner pains, particularly in young men, but also present a resolution in the story to show how these dangers can be averted ultimately through understanding, compassion and support. The film is therefore, also a conversation about what it means to be a boy/man in today’s world and how we define our own character and identity.”

Who are your 3 biggest filmmaking inspirations and why?

“Which filmmakers serve as inspiration changes all the time. One that stands out, however, is Wes Anderson. Not that I want to or will make films anything like his films, but because I admire his uncompromising personal stylisation and expression both aesthetically and in terms of narrative. He is a rare modern day auteur.

“There are few directors who contain the range in tone and emotions that Steven Spielberg does. I’m inspired by his reluctance to settle for one ‘type’ of film or genre. He has proved that he is able to both make films that are awe-inspiring and speak to the inner child of his audience members such as with E.T. and Jurassic Park, and also make deeply personal and incredibly artful dramas such as Schindler’s List. I aspire to develop such a wide artistic spectrum as he has mastered.

“What Denis Villeneuve has done in the last decade has captivated and inspired me; his extraordinary talent for audiovisual storytelling and world-building has consistently delivered some of the finest films in their respective genres and immersed me in his visually stunning and emotionally resonant worlds. What sets him apart is his remarkable ability to balance intricate world-building with compelling characters and narratives, ensuring that the viewer remains deeply engaged in what could otherwise easily become overwhelming settings. I aspire to make a movie as beautiful and captivating as his.”

What is next for you as a filmmaker?

“Me and my team have just recently finished another film which premiered about a month ago in Copenhagen, so since then I’ve been developing new ideas. Next, I would like to experiment more with the film medium and I would like the next project to be drastically more daring than the films I’ve previously made. For this project I would like to explore a further stylised expression and be significantly more playful with storytelling devices. In a sense, I want the next film to be a counter reaction to the last film I made. Simply go in the polar opposite direction. I think that is the beauty of short films, that you feel more free to be adventurous and try different styles and techniques out.

“At the same time I’m also working on a few ideas for a longer project to be shot in the
summer next year.”

Don’t forget to view the complete Winners and Special Mentions and Shortlisted Season Awards Filmmakers list from New York Lift-Off Film Festival.