Escapes: Almereyda’s Engaging Portrait of Hampton Fancher

In Escapes, the truly independent filmmaker Michael Almereyda presents a charming and engaging portrait of Hampton Fancher. A man of many talents and skills, he has left his mark as a flamenco dancer, actor and the unlikely producer and screenwriter of the landmark sci-fi classic Blade Runner.  Fancher also penned the story for its sequel, Blade Runner 2049, which Denis Villeneuve directed and will be released in October.

Escapes was executive produced by Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel). After screening as a work-in-progress at several festivals, Escapes had its world premiere at BAM Cinemafest and opens in New York at the IFC Center  today, followed by a national rollout.

A consummate raconteur, Fancher recounts episodes from his remarkable life — romantic misadventures with silver-screen stars, wayward acts of chivalry, jealousy and friendship — matched with a parallel world of film and television footage wherein Fancher plays cowboys, killers, fops, cads and the occasional hero. Escapes shows how one man’s personal journey can unexpectedly shape a medium’s future.

Anyone who has kicked around Hollywood as long as Hampton Fancher is bound to have some good stories. Director Michael Almereyda captures them in this marvelously discursive deep dive into the life and career of an entertainment industry journeyman.

Though best known for scripting Blade Runner, Fancher got his start as an actor in the late 1950s, appearing in numerous B-movies, TV westerns and cop shows throughout the 60s and 70s. Weaving together clips from Fancher’s work with the star’s own colorful anecdotes, Escapes is a retro-fantastic tour through mid-20th-century pop culture as related by a singularly engaging raconteur.”

About Almereyda

A former Harvard art history student who dropped out to pursue filmmaking, Almereyda has directed a variety of acclaimed features and shorts over the past 30 years. They include Nadja, a David Lynch-produced landmark of 1990s independent cinema, and Hamlet, Shakespeare’s play transplanted to contemporary Manhattan, which was released by Miramax in 2000.

Almereyda’s most recent Shakespeare adaptation, Cymbeline, premiered at the Venice Film Fest in 2014, and his last two features, Experimenter (2015) and Marjorie Prime (2016), premiered at the Sundance Film Fest.

Almereyda’s documentaries include portraits of two private and prolific American artists: Sam Shepard in This So-Called Disaster (2002) and William Eggleston in William Eggleston in the Real World (2005).

His film Skinningrove (2013), centering on the work of photographer Chris Killip, was awarded Best Non-Fiction Short at the Sundance Film Fest and Best Documentary at the Ann Arbor Film Fest.

(USA, 2017, 89 mins) Produced, Written and Directed by Michael Almereyda. Executive Producer: Wes Anderson. Consulting Producer: David Brendel. Editor: Piibe Kolka and Daryl Meador. Cinematography and Sound: Piibe Kolka. With: Hampton Fancher. A Survival Media Production and Grasshopper Film Release.