SHORT BIO: Peter Hanson is the screenwriter of upcoming projects including Fists, the director of films including the documentary Tales from the Script, and the author of three books about cinema. He is also a film instructor at Pepperdine University and UCLA Extension. He earned his MFA in screenwriting at UCLA.
LONG BIO: A native of East Lansing, Michigan, Peter Hanson studied film and screenwriting as an undergraduate at New York University. After college, he spent a decade as a writer/editor for various publications in upstate New York. His first book, Dalton Trumbo, Hollywood Rebel, explored the title subject’s screenwriting oeuvre (Roman Holiday, Spartacus, etc.). Originally published in 2001, the book was a finalist for the National Theatre Library Association Award.
In 2007, Dalton Trumbo was reissued as a paperback in the U.S. and republished, as a translated edition, in Japan. Hanson’s follow-up book, The Cinema of Generation X, appraised the early work of filmmakers, including Sofia Coppola, Steven Soderbergh, and Quentin Tarantino, through the prism of generational identity. Generation X was published in 2002.
Hanson’s professional filmmaking debut was a 2002 documentary short about the interaction between high school students in Columbia County, New York, and their filmmaking advisor Courtney Hunt (later an Oscar nominee for Frozen River). That same year, Hanson made the feature-length documentary Every Pixel Tells a Story, exploring the impact of digital-cinema technology on local filmmakers in and around Albany, New York. Every Pixel screened at regional festivals and was broadcast on PBS affiliate WMHT.
In 2003, Hanson relocated to Los Angeles, soon completing numerous freelance screenwriting assignments, such as cowriting (with Dan and Joe Masucci) the indie feature The Last Round; cowriting (with Tom Curley) the horror script Savage, which sold to production company Picture Road; and writing and directing the dramedy short Stagehand. Other endeavors in Hanson’s early LA years included analyzing scripts for Film Independent’s Filmmaker Labs, line-producing promotional shorts for Mini Movie Channel, and serving on the producing team for the Saturn Awards. Journalistic work in the 2000s and 2010s included creating and writing the columns “Beyond the Page” (for Script magazine) and “The Write Moves” (for Final Draft’s blog); writing about movies for Yahoo! Voices (earning a Yahoo! Contributor Award); and joining the roster at Written By, the official magazine of the WGA, eventually becoming a contributing editor during the publication’s final years.
In 2010, Hanson completed a major book/movie project about screenwriting. The book, titled Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories, was issued by HarperCollins Publishers. The accompanying documentary, simply titled Tales from the Script, was released by First Run Features. Later the same year, Hanson launched the daily blog Every ’70s Movie, featuring original reviews of films released from 1970 to 1979. To date, the blog has earned more than 6 million views. Other projects in the 2010s included writing and directing the comedy shorts Closure and The Pre-Interview, plus writing (for director J.D. Funari) the award-winning dramatic short Exposure. During this period, Hanson earned his MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, then began teaching film and screenwriting at Pepperdine University and UCLA Extension.
The 2020s find Hanson focused on feature screenwriting, with projects including Fists in active development.
Hanson lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Leslie.