BBC Films

Film Network Member

Ben Wharton

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Biography

I love story telling in many many forms and have used television, print media, short films, the web and festivals to exercise my passion.

Many of my projects have involved illuminating the creative struggles of people behind the scenes – musicians, animators, cinematographers, programmers, sound designers, visual effects teams and of course film directors. To me, revealing process, craft, team work and very often a dynamic mix of politics and sheer luck adds to the sheer magic of it all.

Sharing knowledge and encouraging creativity is something I cherish. I used to produce a TV show about independent filmmaking which was very close to the ethos of the Film Network – that’s why this site excites me. Look up past onedotzero digital festivals (supplier of several shorts here) and you’ll see my name as programmer for the computer animation showcase. I’ve worked on several short films and helped get several people’s pointing in the right direction - if you’re a member of shooting people you’ll see me contributing to the forums.

Influences

When it comes to films, lists are a silly thing. I love any film that does what it sets out to do with supreme skill and assurance. That can be a wonderful popcorn Hollywood experience, a Tawainese social drama, a British documentary on child social services or a French animated feature.

I guess if there’s a connection between the films that give me the greatest buzz, it’s cinema that somehow defines its own world. The shots, the music, the production design, the clothes, the sequence construction, the acting – everything comes together to create a place that exists nowhere else. And yet it speaks to me about things outside of its world – the world I live in.

I’m no groupie – there are no actors or directors or any of the numerous film making talents that I think are great all the time. Everyone goes through phases, everyone screws-up, everyone surprises me when I least expect it. Favourite films – well, those change too. Unlike music which tends to root me to the moment in my life when I listened to it / what I experienced at that time, and therefore is constant, films mean different things to me because I’m still changing. What I got from a film when I was a teenager isn’t what I get now that a little wisdom has become part of the mix.

To be surprised by my switch in comprehension of a film on its third, forth or fifth viewing is something that makes me smile.

So here are some silly lists, cut short to save your sanity!




Actors

Jodie Foster
Rutger Hauer
Samuel L. Jackson
Javier Bardem
Robin Wright Penn
Cary Grant
Al Pacino
Philippe Noiret
Paul Newman
Chow Yun Fat
Maggie Chung
Jack Lemmon
Christopher Walken
Kate Blanchett
Brian Cox
Claire Danes
Donald Sutherland
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Jennifer Garner (yes really)
Willem Dafoe


Cinematographers

Anthony Dodd Mantle
Elliot Davis
Dante Spinotti
Christopher Doyle
Adrian Biddle
Thierry Arbogast
Eduardo Serra
Janusz Kaminski


Directors

Atom Egoyan
Hal Hartley
John Sturges
Sidney Lumet
Kathryn Bigalow
Alfred Hitchcock
David Lynch
Peter Weir
Wong Kai Wai
Stephen Soderberg
Michael Mann
David Cronenberg
Ridley Scott
Mike Figgis


Films

Sweet Smell of Success
Amateur
Tierra
Die Hard
The Verdict
L’Apartement
The Conversation
The Thin Blue Line (Doc)
Proof
Klute
Leaving Las Vegas
Legend of the Holy Drinker
All The President’s Men
The Limey
Akira
Unbreakable
Dangerous Liaisons
The Conversation
Wings of Desire
One False Move
Rear Window
The Draughtsman’s Contract
Alien
Heat
Life and Nothing But


TV Series

Alias
Edge of Darkness
Das Boot (NOT the cut down movie version)
Twin Peaks
Undercover Heart
The first six episodes of Ally McBeal

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