7 Questions with CEO, Festival Director, and Producer, Benjamin Oberman
1. FFF: How did you get into the entertainment industry?
BENJAMIN: I started as an athlete (pairs) on the US Figure Skating Team. That led to an opportunity working for ABC Sports which lasted two years. I learned a lot, but wasn’t ready to be behind the camera. I had a professional career performing on stage more than one thousand times before catching the producing bug. I started with live production then made for TV sports events. My career evolved into producing scripted TV and film, commercials and documentaries. When I noticed an increasing number of great films failing to reach audiences beyond the film festival circuit, I started a distribution company to improve the system and champion quality films.
2. FFF: What do you like best about your work?
BENJAMIN: I love the people I meet and with whom I work. I love the stories they tell and the films I see. I love the creativity involved in all we do and the challenge of connecting films and audiences.
3. FFF: Where do you find inspiration?
BENJAMIN: I find inspiration in nature, when hiking, running, and climbing in the mountains, in the quiet moments before the sun rises, and in observing others as I move through life.
4. FFF: How would you describe your style of work?
BENJAMIN: I like to work collaboratively. Once I have a clear vision, I’m very strong in building the best team possible with everyone working toward our common goal. I think I have a quiet intensity. I rarely yell or criticize, but I expect everyone to give everything they have and to execute at the highest degree. I pull [...]
1. FFF: How did you get into your industry (skateboard/filmmaker)?
ARIAN: I got into skateboarding as an alternative to surfing way back when. When there weren't any waves, it was fun to go cruise around and carve down hills. Years later the whole discipline of Downhill Skateboarding became mainstream and we happened to be on the cusp of the whole thing. Going fast on our boards was just us trying to push the boundaries of what we originally had never thought possible. At the time, I was going to school for photography, so documenting the whole scenario as it played out felt like the next step to connecting my pursuits with my passion.
2. FFF: What do you like best about producing films?
ARIAN: I genuinely enjoy the process, the mission. The most exciting part of production was always the story and the creative journey behind making it happen. Whether it was us renting a van and driving out to the middle of the woods to skate some road we found via satellite mapping, or spending 12 hours waiting for a connecting flight in a Turkish airport in order to get to an event, every single time the adventure became the take away. So for me, the best kind of films are the films that tell the story. Taking the time to exhibit the story telling angle in the best way possible, and that is what I like best about producing films.
3. FFF: Where do you find inspiration?
ARIAN: A lot of the origins of my creative inspiration come from the tricks of the trade my late mother taught me about the process of self expression. My mother was herself, a creative [...]
7 Questions with Producer: NEAL FISCHER
FFF: How did you get into this industry?
FISCHER: Since I was 10 years old, I've had two dreams, first was to live in Japan and the other was to be a story teller of some sort, be it creating comic books and graphic novels, video games, television, feature films, etc. So, after graduating from the University of Iowa, I moved to Japan, where I taught English for the Ministry of Education via a program called JET. While living and working in Japan, I was able to make my first dream come true, for about four years I studied martial arts directly under some of the very best teachers in the world, visited nearly every corner of Japan, lived in a buddhist monastery for a month, learned how to play the Japanese flute and taiko drums, climbed Mount Fuji to the very top, ate Japanese food every day, made some of the best friends I've ever had, and was actually living my dream. It also inspired me to make my other dream come true... so while still living in Japan, I studied about filmmaking, screenwriting and producing from books I had my mother send me, and taught myself how to produce and write. I had taken writing classes through the Iowa Writers Workshop program, but screenwriting was a different beast. So I started writing scripts... lots of scripts.
FFF: What do you like best about producing?
FISCHER: In short, I get to tell stories. There are many aspects to producing, and there are many kinds of producers. I actually enjoy all aspects of producing, from discovering a property, developing it, finding the [...]