Ben Charles Edwards is a British film director, screenwriter and photographer, whose love of vivid colours and enhanced postproduction have been likened to that of David LaChapelle. Wonderland caught up with the man himself to chat find about more about The Actress, his new short film, and his place as a judge on the Guardian's Short Film Festival Awards.
You previously worked in photography, specialising in incredibly vivid colour and enhanced post-production. Do you still take photos?
Not so much, I think I only bothered with photography because I couldn't afford a film camera. My photos had stories and characters, People mistook them as film stills, but this was before I was making film. Now my films look a little like my photography.
Why the change of direction into motion picture?
I think it was always going to happen, I studied the principles of photography before being asked to leave my college – but you know, the same principles apply across stills and film… Film just allowed me to play around with movement and light a little more and then later on stories also. After my first film The Town That Boars Me in 2008 – photography just seemed too restricting.
How did you begin to make your first short films?
I bought a pig nose for £8, stole 3 mini DV cassette tapes and begged a bunch of friends to help make a 15 minute long musical about a rape-y 'pig boy'. The pig attacks Kelly Osbourne, Zandra Rhodes and others for their high heel shoes. I was shocked by the response and coverage from a cheap ridiculous film. Though I love it, I guess I'm glad others do too.
Who are your main inspirations when it comes to your work, both writing and production?
I don't know if I'm aware of my inspirations. I think the only inspiration is my mood, I can create angry or stupid things depending on how I feel. Music, people, places all change my mood, like it does with anyone.
You're gearing towards producing your debut feature film. Can you tell us a little bit more about what we can expect?
It's being produced by Blonde To Black Pictures and is called Set The Thames On Fire. It's the darkly comic story of two dirty angels, Art and Sal, living in a dream-city London of huge sparkling stars and shifting alleyways full of danger and adventure.
2012 will also see you launch your very fashion label, Astray. What can we expect from the brand?
It's pretty dark. I read a fantastic book on African tribe members creating their garments from traditional methods and materials such as grass, yet teaming it with Red Cross supplies like Nike high-tops. I've put a lot of time into developing the perfect unisex patterns. All of the garments are made from organic cottons manufactured in Fairtrade communities. I plan to give a percentage of sales back to the communities.
If you could choose any actor/actress to be in one of your films, who would be your first choice?
Would have to be Meryl. Of course.
Finally, Tell us a little about The Actress, your new short film, which will be opening in Leicester Square this month.
It was a great little project, a 20 minute film written by Al Joshua (the writer of Set The Thames On Fire). It's the story of a shooting star who refuses to fade away or go gently into that good night.
Words: Shane Hawkins