Friday, August 16, 2013

KOFFIA Short Film Comp Interview: "The Worst Best Friend" with Benny Lee

Check out our exclusive interview with KOFFIA 2013 Short Film Competition finalist Benny Lee below! Buy your tickets to what will be an exciting short film session, screening August 25th in Sydney!

1. What / Who inspired you to join this competition? Why did you get into filmmaking? 
I’ve harboured a love for filmmaking and cinema since as long as I could remember. My earliest memories are snippets of men fighting in Chinese martial arts films as my dad worked as a projectionist. The first film I remember in its entirety was James Cameron’s Terminator 2. I still remember the feeling of awe as I watched what was happening in front of me. I remember thinking I want to create worlds and characters that will make other people feel what I’m feeling now. Having goals and dreams are great and all but I never really took steps to make that dream come true. I really have to thank my friends who kicked my ass and harassed me enough to actually take the first step – making my first short film. They’re the reason I joined this competition. 

2. Can you tell us more about your film? What made you want to tell such a story? Are those scenes showing in the film your personal experiences?
Fortunately, the film isn’t a reflection of my personal experiences but the character of the worst best friend draws inspiration from experiences from all the cast and crew. The main reason I wanted to make this film was to get people to evaluate their friendships. It’s hard to realise when a friend isn’t being a good friend. If someone is watching this and not laughing because all those things happens to them it’s probably a good indication that it’s time to have a look at the relationship they have. Plus the story seemed funny enough. 

3. If you have a best friend like this in reality, how are you going to tackle the problems?
Punch him in the face. All jokes aside, I think it’s important to be able to distinguish when a friend is simply using you and when they are just being their own quirky selves. The cast and crew in the film consist of some of my best friends. Michael, who plays the worst best friend in our film, is actually playing a caricatured version of himself and the scenarios that occur in the film are exaggerated versions of incidents that have happened to members of the crew (due to various people, not just Michael). For the lack of a better word, Michael can sometimes be a douche but there’s a difference between sometimes being a douche and consistently being a bad friend. The latter is what you don’t want. 

4. What element do you think is important to keep a good friendship with your best friend? 
Your best friend(s) are that because of the experiences that you’ve shared together, not because of one particular personality trait. As we get older and life gets more hectic, I think it’s important to set aside time for the important people in your life. Sure work is important and all but sometimes meeting up with a mate for a beer is more important. I mean, the world isn’t going to end if your boss doesn’t get that report by 9am. 

5. Were there any difficulties during the entire shooting? Which part did you enjoy most and why? 
This film was the first film I’ve ever directed and it did present many challenges. What didn’t help was that we only had 2 nights where everyone was able to get together, the week of the deadline. Due to the time constraint we did end up cutting corners that if given the chance to redo we definitely would not have done. The majority of the difficulties on set were due to the short cuts that we took. For example, we didn’t have a completed script and were making changes as we were shooting, 2 of our lights died and we just weren’t getting enough light in our scenes. However, the biggest difficulty we had was to stop ourselves from laughing during the toilet scene. That would have had to have been the most enjoyable part of the shoot.

Thanks to Benny Lee for the Interview!

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