Former background story becomes focus of local director’s new movie
BY JENNIFFER WARDELL
Clipper Staff Writer
LAYTON — Some characters just aren’t meant to be supporting cast.
Local filmmaker T.C. Christensen trimmed real-life hero Ephraim Hanks from the script of his 2011 movie, “17 Miracles,” because he felt that the man deserved an entire movie of his own. He’s spent the last several months putting the finishing touches on the resulting movie, “Ephraim’s Rescue,” which is set to be released May 31.
“Ephraim had a small part in ‘17 Miracles,’ and we actually shot two scenes with the character,” said Christensen, “but I kept looking at it and said ‘This isn’t right.’ Later, I researched him and realized that his story should be its own film.”
As a result, Hanks’ scenes in the first movie were cut down to an unnamed appearance where he helped dig a grave. The new movie, on the other hand, includes everything from Hanks’ conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the miraculous healings that made him well known among Utah’s early pioneer community.
“He had the gift of healing, and would be called on to go hundreds of miles to give blessings to people,” said Christensen. “He was more in demand than a doctor.”
He also helped save the members of the Willie and Martin Handcart Company, which was the moment that almost caused him to make an appearance in “17 Miracles.”
“Like most of us, he started out not knowing what he was doing,” said Christensen. “But he kind of found his path, and turned out to be an amazing individual. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but he had this attitude that he had to just keep hanging in there.”
That same attitude has been helpful during the final cleanup on the film, which includes everything from adjusting the coloring on shots to improving the sound effects.
“When you record the sound of an actual door shutting, it’s just nothing,” said Christensen. “We’ll go back and make it into more of a boom.”
Christensen and others are also using computers to eliminate any traces of the modern world from the movie.
“We shot way high up in the Uintahs, but we still had fence lines and wires we have to get rid of,” he said, then laughed. “It’s amazing how much work goes into making a little film.”