VIFF 2019 Interview – NURTURED director Ben Pearce

“NURTURED centres around six-year-old Alex and the close bond she shares with her older brother Jacob. The story begins when Alex decides to follow Jacob into Soho one night on the back of a stolen rickshaw. However, when the night spirals out of control, Alex is forced to witness Jacob attempting to take matters into his own hands, threatening their bond.” Director Ben Pearce on NURTURED which screens at Vancouver International Film Festival 2019. 

Congratulations on your film playing and welcome to VIFF! Is your first time here and are you planning to attend your screenings?

Yes, it’s my first time at VIFF and I’m so thrilled to not only visit the festival but be there when Nurtured is screened for the first time in front of an audience!

So how did you get into this business? Talk to me a bit about how you got your start and what you have worked on in the past.

After graduating from film school in London in 2012, my short Silent Woods had a small festival run. Wanting to gain more first-hand experience I started assisting directors and producers including David Koepp and Bryan Burk on films including MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, STAR WARS and FANTASTIC BEASTS. After working as David Yates’ EA & Development Executive for two years I decided to focus on writing and directing my own projects. 

How did this project come together for you? Give me a rundown from the preparation, to shooting, to post-production to now!

I had been playing around with different versions of the story for nearly a year until I finally wrote the script.  My producing partner, Dominic, and I began searching for a team and a budget to make the film a reality. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, we were able to go into production. The shoot was as thrilling as it was tough and took place over five days in London. In post production we were extremely lucky that people donated their time to grade and mix the film beautifully. We finally completed the project in January this year. 

What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you? How much coffee are we talking about here? 

Getting a film made feels like some sort of medieval siege, where you’re constantly trying to keep the idea alive and get it made. Though at times it’s bleak, I love the battle! I’m also a diehard coffee drinker!

What was your biggest challenge with this project, and the moment that was the most rewarding to you?

Filming at night on a moving vehicle with a very young cast has to be the most challenging and restrictive aspect of the film. However, embracing this was ultimately so rewarding as it allowed us to capture something that feels very authentic and visceral.

I’m about to get technical, but I would love to know about the visual design of the movie; what camera did you film with, your relationship to the director of photography and how the movie was photographed. 

We were lucky enough to have a fantastic DOP, Sebastian Barraclough, who came on board several months before the shoot.  He was my key collaborator and brought such expertise and craft to the cinematography. We shot on an Alexa Mini.

What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie here in Vancouver?

It will be the first time that I have been present when Nurtured is screened in public. I am both excited and terrified by this prospect. I am also very much looking forward to meeting and watching the work of other filmmakers at the festival!

After the film screens at Vancouver, where is the film going to show next? Theatrical, online, more festivals?

I am excited to say that Nurtured has been accepted into a number of other festivals in the US, UK and Europe. For now we’re just looking forward to where this take us!

What would you say to someone who was being disruptive through a movie?

A stern stare normally suffices.

We have a lot of readers on our site looking to make movies or get into the industry somehow. What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business?

Determination and meeting people for coffee. It took me a long time to get my first break as a runner, but continuously approaching people I admired and quizzing them over a cup of coffee helped enormously. It also is what ultimately got me my first job.

And final question: what is the greatest movie you have ever seen at a film festival?

NORTH at Tribeca Film Festival 2009.

For this and more movies playing at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival, point your browser to www.viff.org!

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