Recently I was trolling on Twitter and saw this push to support a film through Kickstarter.com. The name of the film caught my attention, so I went to the site, read up on it and donated to the film. I then contacted the producer/director Garrett Benach and sought to set up an interview with him. After doing a bit of reasearch to preare for the interview, I was thrilled to discover a creative mind and burgeoning young talent in the the world of film. Please enjoy the following interview and consider assisting garrett and other young film-makers like him by supporting their projects and attending independent film festivals.
First off, tell me a bit about yourself:
Well my name is Garrett Benach, and I am 25 years old. I have been
involved in film for over 10 years, starting in high school. It was
actually a funny story; a group and I were assigned to do a short film
on “The Wizard of Earthsea”. We were lazy, only read the first
chapter, and in that chapter there was a line that said “…his father
was a goat herder.” We not only made our entire movie about a goat
herder, we also added some very inappropriate subliminal messages! It
was called “The Lost Goats”. Needless to say the teacher was not too
happy with us hahaha and ever since then, I have been doing film! I
went to the Art Institute of Portland after high school in order to
get my Bachelors Degree of Fine Arts in Digital Film and Video, and
once I graduated I developed “Garrett Benach Films”, and never looked
back. It has been quite a ride so far!
What genre of movies are you particularly drawn to?
Horror, without a doubt. When I was a kid I hated horror films and
always went into the other room when someone was watching something
scary. However, as I got older, horror became an obsession and I loved
the idea of being scared and scaring other people with film. It
astounded me how easily people feared things they saw in film. Whether
it be zombies, demons, or crazy monsters, humans are prone to
remembering things more when they scare the hell out of you.
Who are your influences as a screenwriter and a director?
Well I have been a huge anime fan for most of my life. So when I am
writing and directing I draw a lot from what I see in anime. It has
kind of graphed the way I think about things and it really shows in
the stories I write and direct. With “Victoria’s Exorcism” we are
actually utilizing anime, and integrating it into the live action
film. It is something that I am really looking forward to working and
Short films or feature length, which do you prefer?
Definitely feature films. I do enjoy watching short films, however I
get much more engulfed in the story and character development when it
is feature length. T.V. series’ are a huge weakens of mine for that
very reason. Once I start watching a new show, I have to watch the
entire series before I do much else.
Explain your creative process if you will. How does a film begin for you?
For me a film begins in my head, and it usually leaves pretty quickly.
I always carry something on me to write with, whether it is my phone
or a small notepad, for those moments when an idea strikes. Typically,
I will look back at the idea later and scrap it, however those I like,
I keep, and expand on. I have so many little stories written down that
are just waiting to be worked on. The ones that turn into movies are
the ones I can’t let go of and I obsess over.
How difficult is it to tell a story like Fury in just 20 minutes? How
about 10 Pin in only eight minutes?
Very difficult! Short films could be considered some of the hardest
stories to tell because you are trying to convince the audience to
feel a certain emotion in a very short period of time. Take “10 Pin”
for example, I originally wanted that film to be twice as long, in
order to get the audience more involved with the character and the
emotions he felt, however I had to cut it down due to guidelines that
needed to be followed. Thankfully we made it work and I was very happy
with it. For me, emotion is a huge factor with a piece of film and if
you don’t have time to show that emotion, your film could fail.
Which type of actors/actresses do you prefer for your films?
I have worked with quite a few actors/actresses and I am a big fan of
those who know what they are doing and work well with others. There
are some you see that think they are high and mighty and want things
done their way or no way, even if their way is wrong. A film can only
work if everyone works as a team and those who see themselves as above
the team are the ones who are the hardest to work with.
How do you go about casting for a film?
That always depends on the film. Sometimes I have a certain person in
mind for the story, and other times I have to go through multiple
people to find the exact one I need. For me, the role will only be
successful if you have the right person for it, and you never want to
half-ass your search.
What classic film would you most like to remake? And like other
interviews I have conducted, you can’t cop out and say you would never
touch the classics.
Damn, that is a tough one. I would have to say “The Birds” by Alfred
Hitch ****. Now I know you’re probably asking “Why?” Because, I
believe, that using the technology and capabilities we have with film
today, I could create a piece that would make people never want to see
a bird again hahaha It was a phenomenal movie, don’t get me wrong, I
just think that it could be brought back and taken to the next level!
Having directed for the stage in the past, I am interested in how you
determine how much hands on you have on a particular project.
The type of project is a big factor with this one. I have worked on
projects that have had only a few hands and those that have been fully
crewed down to the minutest position. It all depends on budget,
resources, and what you are filming. I personally don’t prefer a HUGE
crew only because it’s much easier to work with a smaller crew and
more seems to get done. Too many people just means a lot of confusion.
What is your dream project and cast?
Well to be honest, my dream job is directing feature length live
action anime films. In the past they have tried and failed miserably
with movies such as the Dragon Ball movie or The Last Airbender. Being
a HUGE fan of anime I want to bring the fans what they want to see. I
just hope they don’t screw up any more before I get a chance to show
them the right way to do it!
What would you like to have accomplished in the next five years?
In the next five years I would like to have a couple feature films
under my belt, and hopefully get “Garrett Benach Films” a shot at a
big budget project. In order to do that I need to first get
“Victoria’s Exorcism” made and out into the public! Once that happens
I can focus on getting creating more films that will lead to bigger
and better things! For me personally, it’s not about the money so much
as it’s about showing people things they have never seen before and
leaving them satisfied and waiting for what’s next!
What projects are there for you on the horizon?
Well I have few scripts that have yet to be brought into the light.
One is a fantasy story that could turn into a series or movie trilogy,
I haven’t decided yet. The other is a feature length sci-fi project
that will probably have to wait since it’s looking like it is going to
be a pretty big budget project. Only time will tell though.
Who would you most like to work with?
Personally, I am a big fan of James Cameron’s work! He is one of my
all-time favorite directors and it would be an immense honor if I got
a chance to even pour his coffee hahahaha
I was recently in Portland and I was prepared to be heading into the
Lion’s den of hippiedom. I was still on active duty at the time and
instead, we had people shaking our hands and buying us food while we
were in our military uniforms. Totally changed my perception of Oregon
and the people there. How is it as a film-maker to work there?
O Portland is an amazing place to work in film. Sadly, the weather
isn’t as consistent as we would like it; however Portland all around
is a great place. Awesome people and very unique city! Grimm and
Leverage are currently filming here in Portland, and because of that
it is quickly becoming the favorite place to film and artists from all
around are starting to want to work here.
Do you prefer small casts or large ensembles?
That also depends on the project. Smaller projects I prefer a smaller
cast. However, sometimes you need a bigger cast in order to make the
story work. I once worked on a film where I was the second assistant
director and I had to set up and monitor 25 clowns. Yes, clowns. It
was an insane short film I worked on and ALL of the extras were
clowns. It was fun but VERY difficult to handle them (as you might
Are they any films you’ve watched and thought…”WTF was the director thinking?”
Hahahaha YES!! As a matter of fact I bring this up all the time. House
of the Dead by Uwe Boll! I mean COME ON!!! When I first watched this
with a few friends, we thought it was the most worthless movie of all
time! The game footage alone had us on the floor laughing out of
disgust! I am sorry if anyone likes that movie, but really???
If someone wanted to watch, support, write for or be in one of your
films, how do they go about doing those things?
I am always looking for more people to work with in the industry! If
you ever want to work with me or would like to purchase one of my
films on DVD please email me at:
As far as supporting us, we are still currently in the pre-production
stage for “Victoria’s Exorcism”. Our kickstarter recently went up and
we are trying to raise enough money to go into production this fall.
Every dollar helps!! Check that out here:
Also check out the official website for “Victoria’s Exorcism” below:
Finally, since this interview is for Bloodletting.org an RPG gaming
site and our players would want to know…which do you choose, Vampire,
Slayer, Witch, Werewolf, or Angel?
This is the hardest question of all! I would have to say Vampire!
However, Werewolf was a close second! :D
|August 04, 2012 12:56 pm