On the Couch with Ben Ferris

Ben Ferris oncWho is Ben Ferris? I am a film writer/director, and a Founder and Artistic Director of the Sydney Film School.

What would you do differently to what you do now? I’ve always taken risks. Some pay off, many don’t. But it’s the act of taking the risk that is the most satisfying thing. I hope I keep taking them.

Who inspires you and why? I like filmmakers who take risks creatively, like Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr (The Turin Horse), the British filmmaker Jonathan Glazer (Under the Skin), or Australian filmmaker Ivan Sen (Mystery Road).

What would you do to make a difference in the world? The great thing about being involved in a film school, and working with younger filmmakers, is that there is always the possibility that some of them will take off and make a difference to how we see the world we live in.

Favourite holiday destination and why? Camping along the NSW Coast. It’s such a great way to reconnect with the natural cycle – waking at sunrise, sleeping at sunset – and getting back to the basics – sleeping on the ground, eating simply. It’s living moment to moment.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why? The Sydney Film School – it’s a compulsory visit! No, but Redfern is a great place to hang out.

What are you currently reading? I’m on Volume 5 of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. I seem to be living it – at my current reading rate – two pages a night – I will probably finish the series at the end of next year. 

What are you currently listening to? I went to indie-classical composer Max Richter’s concert at the Sydney Opera House recently, so I’m listening to his re-arrangement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. There’s a connection there – he scored one of my films.

Happiness is? Not searching for it.

What does the future hold for you? It’s in the hands of the three thread-weaving Fates.

Ben Ferris is one of the founders of Sydney Film School, where he is currently the Artistic Director and a writing / directing teacher of the Advanced Diploma Thesis program.

A film writer/director, Ben has screened films and won numerous awards in Paris, New York, Croatia, Italy, Tokyo, Singapore and Amsterdam, as well as having theatrical releases of his works in Tokyo, Croatia, and Australia. Ben’s first feature film Penelope, an Australia-Croatia co-production, had a worldwide release in 2011 to critical acclaim.

He is currently in production on his second feature film as writer/director, 57 Lawson, and in development on the feature film The Rites of Autumn. Ben is a researcher with the Australasian Classical Reception Studies Network, and is undertaking a part-time PhD by Research at the University of Sydney in the field of Classical Reception, exploring the figure of Orpheus in the films of French Poet-Cineaste Jean Cocteau.

Ben has been the Artistic Director of the Sydney Film School since its inception in 2004. He enjoys pushing the medium right to the edge of the frame. For more information, visit: www.sydneyfilmschool.com for details.

Image: Ben Ferris