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High-octane documentary


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DON'T  BLAME Smadar Hanson for wanting to burn rubber when she’s stuck in traffic on I-680. The San Ramon–based filmmaker recently finished directing a film about the latest craze in fast-and-furious auto racing. Hanson’s documentary, Drift: the Sideways Craze, is playing regularly on Discovery HD Theater.

The film spotlights drifting, a type of race-car driving in which a track full of drivers oversteer their specially designed, rear-wheel-drive cars into sideways skids. “Drifting is huge in Japan, but it’s the best-kept secret in American racing,” says Hanson. Hanson’s film follows Alex Corstorphine of Alamo, an 18-year-old racer, as he takes lessons from the sport’s national champion, Samuel Hubinette, in Los Angeles.

Drift is a directorial debut for Hanson, an American Conservatory Theater–trained actress who has spent years appearing in small television and film roles. You can see her in the crime classic The Usual Suspects, playing Keyser Söze’s wife in a flashback scene. “I also played a thieving prostitute in Nash Bridges,” she says.

Hanson (pictured far right), a mother of a teenager and a five-year-old, is just as happy producing, directing, and writing as she is in front of the camera. Her agent is currently shopping her screenplay, called M.A.F.I.A., around Hollywood. Oddly, it’s not a crime movie.

“The title is an acronym for Mothers and Fathers in America,” says Hanson. “It’s a family comedy, in the spirit of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” 

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