HFF 2015 Interview: Stutterer Writer/Director Ben Cleary


2015 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection, Narrative Short Stutterer is about a lonely typographer with a cruel speech impediment but an eloquent inner voice who must face his ultimate fear.

We spoke with Director/Writer Ben Cleary about his film:

HF: What is your film about, and how did the project come to be?

BC: It’s about a man with an acute stutter but an eloquent inner voice who must face his greatest fear.

I saw something online about a man with a bad stutter who found phone calls to be very challenging because it was just his voice on show. This was the little idea that led to the formation of the character and the idea and it is this image that opens the film, an extreme close-up of a mouth struggling to speak to a phone company technician on the phone.

HF: What was your role in the production?

BC: I wrote, directed and edited it.

HF: Why did you submit to the Heartland Film Festival? Have you been to the Festival before?

BC: We read about Heartland online in a few top festivals lists and made it one of the festivals we would apply to. I have not been to the festival and unfortunately cannot get over to the US to attend as I self funded this film and my budget is very thin at this point.

HF: This year’s tagline is “Movies That Stay with You” – what lasting effect will your film have on moviegoers?

BC: That’s a great tagline. All of the movies I love tend to stay with me and lead to me watching them many times. If someone watches our film and thinks about it again that day or that week I’ll be very happy.

HF: What has inspired you to become a filmmaker?

BC: I’ve been coming up with stories and dreaming up characters since I was a kid drawing on my bedroom walls (this was encouraged). As I grew up I developed a love and obsession for film and so the merging of the two felt natural.

HF: What is something that you know about filmmaking now, but you weren’t told when you started your career?

BC: The script is everything.

HF: What are some of your favorite movies? What’s your favorite worst movie (you know it’s bad, but still love it)?

BC: Last year Blue Is The Warmest Colour and Under The Skin both blew me away. All time best film for me is Pulp Fiction.

HF: How many film festivals has your film been a part of? What do you like the most about the festival experience?

BC: So far we have been selected for 13 and it has played at 4 at time of writing. I went to see the film in Galway, Ireland and had one of the best times of my life. What a festival. Amazing people, some great films and incredible pubs! I hope they’re all as good as Galway!


See Stutterer in Shorts Program 4: All You Need is Love

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