Ben M. WilliamsFilmmaker
Ben M. Williams is an Auckland-based filmmaker best known for his award-winning short film “Bygones” and his editing work on Kiki Rockwell music videos “Same Old Energy” and “Cup Runneth Over”. Outside of his own filmmaking journey, Ben works as an art department graphic designer for the NZ Youtube Giant “Viva La Dirt League”, and also dabbles in set photography for other productions.
What or who inspired you to study screen?
When I was younger I never imagined myself making films and other screen content. I was still passionate about storytelling when it came to creative writing, but I always thought I would end up as some sort of film critic instead. That was until I saw Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” back in 2014. It really changed my outlook on what was possible from a filmmaking standpoint and from then on my friends and I began making absolutely horrible films on a quest to be Hollywood blockbuster directors. Four years later I moved from Christchurch to Auckland, tattooed the morse code from ‘Interstellar’ on my wrist, and began studying at SAE.
What did you do once you graduated from SAE?
After graduating my partner Oshara and I began working in the music video side of the industry. Our best-known video was Kiki Rockwell’s ‘Same Old Energy’ which has amassed over 1.8 million views on Youtube. As well as that, my short film ‘Bygones’ managed to snatch multiple IMDB qualifying awards from film festivals in London, Miami, and Melbourne. A lot of these awards were in categories for production and costume design which eventually helped me secure a job at the Youtube comedy channel ‘Viva La Dirt League’ which currently has over 4.1 million subscribers.
What have the highlights of your career been so far?
I think my greatest highlight so far has been working with my lovely partner Oshara on our latest music video project. We met in our first year studying at SAE and have been working and creating together ever since. Our latest project was another collaboration with artist Kiki Rockwell on her new song ‘Cup Runneth Over’. It was an amazing experience getting to work with a larger budget and a great crew filled with some of my past SAE classmates.
Who is someone you would love to collaborate with?
I would love to work with Westworld creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan. I’ve wanted to create a long-form show for quite some time now and I think they have it down to a fine art. I also see a lot of similarities between them and my relationship with Oshara. They really inspired us to start writing projects together and learn to visualize each other’s ideas more clearer.
What are your future career goals?
My short-term goal at this moment is to continue establishing myself within the New Zealand music and film industry as a proficient editor and award-winning production designer. My long-term goal is to continue my writing and directing journey and hopefully reach my dream of show-running a greenlit project of mine.
What advice would you give someone looking to get into a career in film and screen?
There are a lot of arguments for and against studying a creative field like this, especially for something that others may just have a natural talent for. Nonetheless, I would really recommend studying and using gear you may not have the money to rent or buy in the real world. Although you may be ready to find work as a crew member, if you’re interested in more of the creative roles you should use the three years of study as a safety net to push yourself to create, learn, fail, and succeed. If it wasn’t for the people I met and the skills that I pushed myself in while studying, I wouldn’t be where I am this early in my career. I still work with my closest classmates to this day sharing work, gear, and contacts to further our careers and reach the goals we can already see on the horizon.