By Jen Brewster.
Spend five minutes with Seven Sunday Films’ director Sam Bennetts as he reveals highlight projects, what it’s like to work in Indonesia and how his obsession with Batman led him to directing…
How did you enter into the production industry?
Sam Bennetts: It’s a funny story. I was working as an assistant on a feature film and got talking to the producer. He was a super nice guy and we talked ideas for hours. Finally, he asked if I had anything I wanted to make, and as a matter of fact I did – a short film. We shot it at Fox Studios in Sydney on 35mm cameras. It stars Rose Byrne, a long time before she had attained the fame she has today. The film was successful enough that it got me a music video that lead to another and another. I was then offered commercials in the UK, so I moved there and the rest has been good times.
What has been your favourite highlight campaign to work on?
SB: They are all highlights these days. I try to take jobs that will inspire and excite me. From a huge car commercial in Australia to a tiny pizza ad in Germany, I enjoy filmmaking and feel blessed to be able to do it. A real highlight on a job is when you feel that you are in sync with the talented people around you, working as a team to create something you all believe in.
What type of training did you complete?
SB: When I was a child I was obsessed with Batman. I was infatuated with the comics, painting images in my mind of him and his world. When I found out they were making a film I was over the moon. I studied the toys, the cards and the posters – imagining what it would be like on the big screen. (I’d always hated the camp 60s Batman TV show so it didn’t count). Through entering a million contests, I won tickets to the opening night. I was so excited – not about being with the actors, but seeing my hero brought to life. Well… don’t get me wrong, I loved the movie, but it wasn’t the Batman in my head. He just didn’t “feel” right. He wasn’t “my Batman”. This is the first time I realised there was a voice in filmmaking. Someone (in this case Tim Burton) had seen the character completely differently to me. This is when I decided I wanted to be a director. I spent my life obsessed with filmmakers and filmmaking, made it my world. The moment I could, I became a production assistant – learning on the job. Worked on features, big and small, as well as commercials and music videos. From there I laboured my way up to what I am today – someone who sees characters in my own way and creates the world for them to live in.
How hard is it to build a reputation and/or body of work in the Indonesia film market?
SB: I think I’ve been really fortunate to work with amazing people who have been very supportive. I’ve found Indonesians to want the best work and will generally push the envelope as much as they can. I am also very lucky to get to work in different countries so my reel is constantly changing and growing. I find Indonesian creatives embrace this and are very supportive when it comes to getting good work over the line.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
SB: I love comic books, movies, and stories in general. I draw a lot of my inspiration from pop culture and the music I listen to. Filmmaking should be about creating feelings, so generally anything that does this for me is something I embrace. I also love photography; the whole process is magical from discovering a subject, finding the right lens, capturing a moment – to treating the image to get it exactly the way you wanted.
What other types of creatives do you like to collaborate with?
SB: Creating is something incredible so you want to work with like-minded people. Those who don’t have ulterior motives, and just have a desire to create the best and most imaginative work within and beyond the brief. Creatives, cinematographers, designers, musicians (even clients!) – collaboration is about a common vision. Most importantly, I want to work with people who love their job.
What are you most looking forward to professionally in 2017?
SB: Making stuff. Enjoying myself. Seeing the world. Creating good work. Being happy.
Check out Sam’s work at samuelbennetts.com