Lance Kinsey, Director of All-Stars: 2014 Heartland Film Festival Interview

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Lance Kinsey has appeared in television, film, and theatre productions, but is probably best known to audiences as Proctor, the supercilious sidekick of Commandant Mauser and Captain Harris in the Police Academy film series. Kinsey also writes and produces for television and film. He met his wife, Nancy, when he was performing at Second City in Chicago and she was getting her masters degree in photography from the Chicago Art Institute. They have two children, Matt and Logan, and live in Los Angeles.

HFF: What is your film about, and how did the project come to be?

LK: All-Stars is a comedic commentary on the state of youth sports today. It follows a 10-and-under girls’ softball team, documenting a recreation league season and focusing on the adults – the coaches, umpires, board members, and parents – who have their own agenda and live vicariously through the little girls. The parents all have grand, and in some cases delusional, ambitions for their daughters; they imagine that their sprout deserves to be on the all-star team whether or not she has any true desire or in fact possesses one whit of actual athletic ability.

I got the idea for All-Stars having been intimately involved with the world of youth sports. I coached my daughter in softball beginning when she was five and moved with her from the rec league to club ball and then watched as she was ultimately recruited for college. I have witnessed the ridiculous behavior of the sports parent first-hand and, indeed, been guilty of an uncontrollable impulse or two myself. All-Stars is my story, and the characters are all real. And when someone says to me how comedy is an exaggeration of the truth, I just smile and know better.

HFF: What was your role in the production?

LK: I wrote, directed and produced All-Stars. I’m also in it. I wrote it almost seven years ago and then spent almost five years securing the financing.

HFF: Why did you submit to the Heartland Film Festival? Have you been to the Festival before?

LK: I have not been to the festival before. A friend of mine who had attended recommended it to me, saying that he thought it would be a great place to present All-Stars. I couldn’t be more thrilled!

HFF: This year’s tagline is “Shift Your Perspective” – what lasting effect will your film have on moviegoers?

LK: It’s a comedy, so I hope that All-Stars will be a film that sends the audience out of the theater laughing and happy but also thinking about how similar we all are. I think everyone will recognize the characters with their somewhat misguided hopes and dreams for their children and will be able to relate to the emotional rollercoaster that everyone has experienced when ambitions may not completely jive with reality.

HFF: What has inspired you to become a filmmaker?

LK: I’ve been an actor for many years, and always admired the writers and directors who started with an idea and then worked to realize their vision through imagination, perseverance and collaboration. Ultimately, I wanted to put my own stories on screen. I realized that no one was going to hand it to me, so I would have to make it happen myself.

HFF: What is something that you know about filmmaking now but you weren’t told when you started your career?

LK: It’s incredibly difficult, and there is no magic. Films come from hard work and the ability to withstand a myriad of setbacks and disappointments. It’s imperative that a filmmaker maintain the belief in her or his project no matter how many people try to discourage him or her throughout the process.

HFF: What are some of your favorite movies? What’s your favorite worst movie (you know it’s bad, but still love it)?

LK: The Godfather and Best in Show are two of my favorites. They probably don’t have a lot in common, but I love them both. Also This is Spinal Tap and the entire Christopher Guest oeuvre. (Once you see All-Stars, this probably won’t be a surprise.) Also, I love Midnight Run. To me, that’s a perfect movie. I love the comedy, the story… and the characters are perfect. It was perfectly cast. Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin, Joe Pantoliano, Dennis Farina, John Ashton, everyone – they all created indelible, unforgettable characters. A sublime script by George Gallo with Martin Brest expertly directing and pulling all the elements together into this fantastic experience of comedy, action and heart. Just perfect.

I hate calling something a bad movie, but I guess Cliffhanger didn’t win any Academy Awards. Doesn’t matter though; whenever it comes on cable my wife and I both sit on the edge of the couch or prop up the pillows on the bed if it’s the middle of the night and giddily wait for the scene where the girl, dangling over an abyss that would embarrass the Grand Canyon, slips from Stallone’s grasp and plummets into the void as the camera moves in on Sly’s horrified face. You just know he’s not going to take that well. Another one is Nighthawks, when a female victim turns around in a dress or housecoat or something, revealing that it’s not a female victim at all but rather Sylvester Stallone, beard and all, who proceeds to kick the snot out of Rutger Hauer. (Okay, I’m starting to see a pattern here. Maybe I have a fascination with Stallone films. In that case, put Rocky in the “my favorite” column.)

HFF: How many film festivals has your film been a part of? What do you like the most about the festival experience?

LK: I’m embarrassed to say that this is my first festival experience. Can’t wait though!

HFF: Heartland Film Festival moviegoers love filmmaker Q&As. Let’s say a Festival attendee wants to earn some brownie points—what is a question that you’d love to answer, but haven’t yet been asked?

LK: I wouldn’t mind someone asking me if it’s a burden to be so good looking. That’s something I’ve never been asked.


See All-Stars at the 2014 Heartland Film Festival:

  • Saturday, Oct. 18 – 2:45 pm at AMC Traders Point Showplace 12
  • Monday, Oct. 20 – 4:45 pm at AMC Traders Point Showplace 12
  • Tuesday, Oct. 21 – 5:15 pm at AMC Castleton Square 14
  • Saturday, Oct. 25 – 10:15 am at AMC Castleton Square 14
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