AMA: Christopher Mihm (Esperanto filmmaker)
Christopher R. Mihm is the writer, director, and producer of the films of the Mihmiverse, a series of award-winning, loosely interlinked feature-length films which pay homage to 1950s-era "drive-in cinema."
Mr. Mihm’s interest in the Esperanto language began with his sixth film, Attack of the Moon Zombies. Since the film is set on an international moon base in an alternate version of the 1970s (as seen through a 1950s lens), it made sense to include both English and Esperanto on all signage. Using the powers of the internet, he found a group of Esperantists and asked them to translate the signage used in the film. Very enthusiastic, they offered to translate the entire script and record Esperanto audio. Since the film’s release, the same group has translated and recorded audio for every subsequent film and has started working on Mr. Mihm’s “back catalog.”
Though busy with new film projects and extensive traveling to promote his work, Mr. Mihm continues to work at learning the language and plans on continuing to include Esperanto in his films! His next film, Weresquito: Nazi Hunter, is currently in production with a plan to release the film in early October 2016.
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How does having your films available in Esperanto help you to get them seen by audiences? That is, what percentage, would you say, of your audience is interested in Esperanto?
P.S. I played the voice of "Steve" in one film and "Gruff" in another. Thank you for the opportunity.
Having Esperanto audio and subtitle tracks has expanded the appeal of my films to a global audience. Before Esperanto, I could never have imagined sending my DVDs to places like Poland or Brazil! It adds a new level of appeal to an audience hungry for Esperanto content. I'm not sure the percentage but there was a noticeable uptick in sales (particularly globally) after "Attack of the Moon Zombies" (the first film of mine released with Esperanto added) was released.
P.S. DANKON! Your work was fantastic. And, strangely enough, you've done the Esperanto voices for two characters I personally played!
How have your fans reacted to seeing that some of your movies are subbed and dubbed into Esperanto?
Saluton! Most fans who aren't aware of what Esperanto is are sometimes confused. Once I explain it to them, they're usually, at a very minimum, intrigued. I know for a fact there are a handful who discovered the language through my films and pursued it as a result! Esperantists, on the other hand, tend to be overjoyed!
How has it been in the Esperanto film business? Is there any competition?
So far it's been going very well. Once I started adding Esperanto audio and subtitle tracks to my films, sales WORLDWIDE expanded almost immediately. As for competition, I sadly haven't met any other filmmakers working with the language. Whenever I do meet other filmmakers, I tell them about my experiences with the language and the community and encourage them to pursue it!
What made you choose to make 50s-style horror movies? Was there a particular movie in particular that inspired you?
I grew up watching them with my late father. He grew up seeing them as a kid and once the VCR came around, he could revisit a lot of them and share them with his children. After my father passed away and I decided to make my first film, "The Monster of Phantom Lake," I wanted to create something that was as much a tribute to him as anything. I had so much fun making and releasing it that I decided that was all I wanted to make!
The "genre" as a whole inspires me BUT I have a few favorites, namely "Them!," "This Island Earth" and "The Creature from the Black Lagoon."
Hi ! How many films did You create in Your life ? How many films will/can be translated and subtexted in Esperanto ? Where can we see them ? We desperately need as many films as possible, because there is a big demand among esperanto speakers. I would like to translate other films as well, where do You have any influence. Could You help the Esperanto community in this matter ?
To date, I have finished 10 features and am in the process of completing the 11th. Of the 10, 6 are available in Esperanto: "The Monster of Phantom Lake," "Attack of the Moon Zombies," "House of Ghosts," "The Giant Spider," "The Late Night Double Feature" and "Danny Johnson Saves The World." The only way to see them in Esperanto is to purchase the DVDs of these films @ sainteuphoria.com/merch.html or from Amazon.com.
As for translation of other films, I have been encouraging other filmmakers to pursue the addition of Esperanto to their projects but, so far, haven't gotten through to most of them! If you would like to become involved with the Esperanto aspects of my films, I encourage you to contact the Esperanto "manager" of my films, George Baker @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for the answer. Question: How many DVD movie examples did You sell in esperanto ?
I don't know if I have exact figures in terms of how many were sold specifically to Esperantists but, I did notice a real spike in sales worldwide after adding the language to my DVDs!
I would like to keep in touch with You about film translation and subtexting in Esperanto . You have for sure connections to filmmakers etc. It is possible ?
How did you come up with the idea to translate your movies into Esperanto? What surprised you the most about it?
Since "Attack of the Moon Zombies" takes place on an international moon base in a 1970s, it made some sort of sense that from a 1950s perspective (and because of Famous Monsters of Filmland's Forrest J. Ackerman's advocacy of the language), everything on the base would be in English and Esperanto. I reached out to some local Esperantists about translating the signage and they took it all the way to the level of translating the entire script AND recording all of the Esperanto for the alternate soundtrack. I was most surprised by the reach of it all. Since the language doesn't get enough press, being outside of the community, I had no idea how far it extended or how many people learn and speak it. I was very happy to be welcomed into the community and have enjoyed my association with it ever since!
I don't know if I'M quite the person to make it—I don't think he confronted many radiation-mutated monsters in his life. However, I think SOMEONE should absolutely make a film about him!
Maybe Zamenhof killing monsters in a similar way as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter?
How do You create films, if You cannot writing in esperanto right now ?
I have been slowly picking up the language but, in all honesty, I'm NOT very good at it! I write and create my films in English and then have them translated by a fantastic group of people led by a fantastic man named George Baker. He's my authority on all things Esperanto and a very, very great guy!