• By Kirk Gaw

John D. Hancock Making Movies At Film Acres To Pass On All That He Knows

An accomplished, Academy Award nominated, Critics Choice winning AFI moviemaker. John D. Hancock, has directed, staged, produced, and written many pronounced American stories. He is most remembered for the acclaimed sports film "Bang The Drum Slowly" starring, Robert DeNiro. Vincent Gardenia was nominated for "Best Supporting Actor" by the Film Academy for his role. Quoted as one of the best baseball films of all time.

Local acclaimed film director John D. Hancock working on a script at his LaPorte County home.

John Hancock got a Critics Choice Award for his short film “Sticky my Fingers Fleet My Feet.” It is one of his favorite creations and deals with midlife crisis.

Young director John D. Hancock won an "Obie" award for "Sticky My Fingers Fleet My Feet" a short film from 1970.

He was first director of "Jaws2" and second director of the 1981 cult classic "Wolfen." John Hancock loves making movies! He said he is not in it for the money. His roots go back to the stage of course where he debuted at age 22 with the Off-Broadway hit production of Bertolt Brecht's "Man Equals Man." This was followed by Robert Lowell's "Endicott and the Red Cross."

In 1968, Hancock directed Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which won him the Obie Award for Distinguished Director for the 1967–68 season. Cue Magazine noted, "This brutal, vulgar and erotic production of Shakespeare's sex fantasy is the most original and arresting I've ever witnessed. This is the best of all the Dreams and an important pioneering effort in re-interpreting the play."

Hancock's success on the New York stage led to his appointment as Artistic Director of the famed San Francisco Actor's Workshop in 1965. He later was appointed Artistic Director of the Pittsburgh Playhouse and The New Repertory Theatre in New York City.

He once, worked closely on several occasions with playwright and author Tennessee Williams, who stated in his book "Memoirs" that Hancock was "the only director who has ever suggested to me transpositions of material that were artistically effective." Hancock directed on stage both classic and contemporary plays, from Shakespeare to Saul Bellow.

During a recent casting call in LaPorte for a new production "The Town That Made A Movie."

More recently, here, he filmed "The Town That Made A Movie" using local talent from the LaPorte County region. Hancock held auditions and classes for his productions at the LaPorte County Library in LaPorte. His "Film Acres" "family" hopes to rally the surrounding communities finding talent and drawing skills from Walkerton, LaPorte, Valparaiso, Michigan City, and South Bend.

Award Winning Director John D. Hancock and wife Actress, Dorothy Tristan, open their LaPorte County home for local photographer Tony Martin.

Raised mostly in our area up on 850 N at the old Hancock Orchards ranch, John, is originally from Kansas City, Missouri. His Dad moved the family close to Chicago while he was a musician for the NBC Symphony Orchestra. John spent much of his youth between Chicago and the LaPorte County orchards.

Today, you will find that the 81 year old filmmaker with his wife, actress Dorothy Tristan are devoted to the region. Since 1998 the old Hancock Orchards was converted into their home and the rest of the ranch is the "Film Acres" production facility. As incognito as can be, no one would ever know what has happened there since, "Prancer" was made in 1989.

John is an independent filmmaker so he has plenty of choices for his material. You may have been inspired by "Weeds" written by both wife Dorothy Tristan and John, starring actor Nick Nolte. It was mainstream about in 1987. Or you may have enjoyed "A piece of Eden" starring Tyne Daly and Rebbeca Harrell.

Nurturing talents of LaPortean Grace Turnow while preparing for "The Town That Made A Movie."

Culling local talent of South Bend resident Anthony Panzica while staging area locations for Hancock.

Lately, "Film Acres" has been working on "The Looking Glass," and "The Girls Of Summer." John Hancock is a great director and shows off his best talents through his production family. He continues to recruit some of the most talented youth in the area since, LaPortean Grace Tarnow, Jeff Puckett, Griffin Carlson, Vickie K. Cash, and South Bend's Anthony Panzica.

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