6 questions with Life is Beautiful director, Ben Brand at the half-way mark.
Monday, May 8th, 2017
1Hi Ben! Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, what was the initial seed that inspired you to make Life is Beautiful? The thought of what life and death might be.
2This film goes into a very unexpected place. I was waiting for the man to learn how to fly or something like that, but that's not what happens. How have audiences reacted to your film and did you ever worry about the slightly darker direction the film goes? Well the fun thing was that it got a totally different reaction in each country it was shown. In Germany people were outraged. They said the film was a glorification of suicide. Were in South America people loved the film and thought it was a celebration of every one living on earth and them being a winner from birth!
3This film has a cool concept for the afterlife. How did you come up with that idea? I don't know, just one day it came into my head and it didn't leave any more. But i have to say that the matter of afterlife is one of the most interesting questions in life for me. The same go's for 'what is space like and what will we find there!?'
4What do you love about animation? What does animation do that live action can't? Everything. I wasn't a animation director before this film. I never did anything with animation! But then i wrote the story and i didn't see how this was going to ever be a live action film with the budgets we have here in Holland.. So then put the story away for a year or two and then the idea came back as an animation film and everything fell together. I could create a special world! More special than i could ever create with live action.
5How long did it take you to make this film and what was your biggest challenge? Pff i think three years.. For me the hardest part was that there was still not enough money to make it a high end looking animation short. So what 'normal animators' would do is put in all of their own time to make it. But i couldn't do anything because i wasn't an animator so that made it really hard to keep the crew motivated to work night and day wile i did sort of nothing but hand out massages :-D
6What's next? Right now i've just finished my first live action feature film called 'Find this dumb little bitch and throw her into a river' which i hope will premiere at the Toronto int film festival in september.
The film is about the young boy Remco (15), who, in a careless act, posts an upsetting video on the internet. The story is inspired by true events. The title of the movie is an exact copy of the title of the video that was posted online by an angry crowd back in 2010, wanting to find and kill the girl. See Article: cbsnews.com/news/girl-throws-puppies-in-river-in-video-4chan-users-on-the-hunt/
Even famous TRANSFORMERS director Michael Bay put $50.000 on the girls head to find her. See article: gawker.com/5628051/transformers-director-michael-bay-offers-50000-bounty-for-puppy-throwing-girl . Besides the coming of age story the film's arena depicts the broad illegal puppy trade which still go's on in western Europe every day.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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