Writer/Director Benjamin Pollack has been picking up a lot of awards with his double feature Dark Room Theater. The film won Best Comedy Feature at FirstGlance and earned Benjamin Pollack the Best Director award at ITVFest. Dark Room Theater will screen at LA Comedy Festival November 9, 2009 at ACME Comedy Theater in Los Angeles. Benjamin Pollack’s script Dead After Tomorrow won Best Horror Feature Screenplay at Shriekfest and his Blue Suit Assassins was a semi-finalist at this year’s 2009 Slamdance.
Here, we offer you a short interview with the talented Pollack, courtesy of Shriekfest November Newsletter (subscribe)
SF: What is your name and company URL?
BP: My name is Benjamin Pollack and my company is Benvention Films, Inc.
SF: What is your specialty … filmmaking or screenwriting?
BP: I am a writer/producer/editor/director. I have a master’s degree in narrative film editing from The American Film Institute and was a writer in “the biz” for many years.
Whether it’s in a crowd of friends, on paper or on film, I like to tell stories. I like to touch people with my words and my ideas. That need is only equaled by my love to entertain.
SF: What are you currently working on?
BP: I recently finished my directing debut, an anthology series called, Dark Room Theater. It’s what would result if you stuck The Twilight Zone and Scooby Doo in a blender – besides the bloody gooey mess that is. Dark Room Theater was originally a radio theater show I developed at the Theater Department in Temple University, Philadelphia. The show is a campy roll in the hay with lots of chills and giggles, and it won Best Director at the 09 Independent Television Festival, Los Angeles.
I also have three other feature screenplays including Dead After Tomorrow, the feature script that won “Best Horror Feature Screenplay” at the amazing, Shriekfest 09. Dead After Tomorrow is a thriller horror film that is really a well thought out narrative journey. A story about a young cop, dying of a terminal illness, who gets kidnapped by the woman of his dreams into the worst nightmare of his life. In addition to that, I’ve got a feature screenplay called, Blue Suit Assassins, a buddy comedy about a singing telegram company and a bunch of crazy killers. Blue Suit Assassins is a semi finalist at Slamdance 09. I’m also writing another sci-fi film called Fleosaurus.
SF: Have you been a finalist or winner in any festivals or competitions?
BP: See above.
SF: Wow, that is great! Congrats! Why do you think the horror/scifi genres have such a large following?
BP: I think it all goes back to the narrative. If you’ve got a great narrative, that is, a story that grabs you, it becomes like an awesome rollercoaster ride. You’re helpless in your chair as the ride takes you to the very limit of life as you know it. That can happen in a coming of age story if you’re a good storyteller, but it’s awesome when it happens in a horror film like Saw or The Ring, or in a sci-fi story like Iron Giant.
SF: Great answer! What do you love most about this business?
BP: I’m not sure what I like about the business, yet I’m drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I suppose the idea of making a living while telling stories goes back to the days of cave dwellers, although you still probably had to go out and kill a small animal and knock a woman out if you wanted a dinner date. Hell I almost have to do that now. But you also had a prehistoric wide screen television on your cave wall, so perhaps some of the women you knocked out came back for season two.
SF: What do you dislike most about this business?
BP: I’ll never tell. Let’s just say that every business has its down side. Best to focus on the positive 100% of the time or you’re just wasting time.
SF: Ooh, I agree! Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?
BP: If I had to give someone advice who wanted to get into this business I suppose I would tell them the same thing I was told by Nora Ephron at my AFI graduation. Never, ever take advice from someone who does not like your work. Think about that and let it be your mantra. It has saved my soul when nothing else could, and prevented me from unnecessary pain. My direct advice would be – when you are ready to give up, and you’ve thought it out and discussed it with your friends and family and you’re deeply okay with it, stay another year and work harder then you’ve ever worked before. Also, try your best to win the lottery because you’ll need it.
If you don’t love it so much you can’t do anything else, get out. If you do love it that much, go for it.
SF: Anything else you’d like to say?
BP: Thanks for having me.
SF: It was great having you as a part of Shriekfest 2009 and congrats on your win of Best Horror Screenplay!
We thought you might enjoy the Pollack’s Dark Room Theater trailer. Dark Room Theater is a double feature about ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary, usually supernatural, situations, using both ironic and comic twists. The show is hosted by an animated character entitled Dr. Brainly, a brain that lives in a glass beaker from an experiment gone wrong or right depending on your point of view.
Here you go:
Learn more about Benjamin Pollack’s work here: Benvention Films