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Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: WHAT AN IDIOT creators Peter and Julia Benson.

WHAT AN IDIOT - At Whistler Film Festival
by Jason Whyte

'WHAT AN IDIOT is a romantic comedy about a man who lies to the woman of his dreams, telling her that he is gay, just so he can spend time with her. If you have ever done something stupid for love then you have to come and see this movie!' Director Peter Benson on his film WHAT AN IDIOT which screens at the 2014 Whistler Film Festival. As well in this interview we are also speaking with Julia Benson, star of the film!

Is this your first Whistler Film Festival experience and are you going to attend your screenings?

Julia Benson: Last year Peter acted in the film AFTERPARTY which premiered at Whistler. We had a great time at the festival and are thrilled to have WHAT AN IDIOT premiere at Whistler this year. We will definitely be attending the screenings. We have watched the film by ourselves so many times so we are really looking forward to sharing it with an audience!

What do you love the most about showing movies in Whistler and Whistler in general? Do you ski?

Peter Benson: We both ski but when we go to Whistler for the festival, there are so many great films, people and parties that we never make it up the hill.

Tell me a bit about your background and how you became a filmmaker. Also what have you worked on in the past?

Julia: We have both been acting for over 10 years and about five years ago we started making our own projects. Our first venture behind the camera was in television. We shot a pilot with City TV for a comedy series that we co-wrote and produced called KITS. We then co-wrote, produced and starred in our first feature film called DEATH DO US PART. Through these experiences we realized that we really love working together, and working with our friends to tell great stories. As two actors, we love the creative freedom that we have when we are making our own projects. It's amazing to create an entire world and guide the creative ship from concept right through to completion.

How did this movie come together from your perspective?

Peter: We spent many months in post production on DEATH DO US PART which was a horror thriller. As we were going through that experience, we thought it would be a lot of fun to lighten things up for our next project so we decided to do a comedy. When we were brainstorming we kept thinking... what is the biggest obstacle a guy could create for himself when trying to impress a girl and that's how we came up with WHAT AN IDIOT.

What was the biggest challenge, or challenges, in making the film?

Peter: Our biggest challenge was that we did not have a big budget but wanted to make a glossy, commercial looking comedy with great production value. It's very hard to get locations, crew and extras when you do not have a ton of money so we literally called on every favor in the book to pull off this movie. We had so much support from our family, friends and community. So many amazing people came together to help us make this film happen and we are so grateful to everyone!

What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you? How much coffee?

Julia: TONS of Coffee! And passion. Making a movie like this is the ultimate dream. You are working with your friends and telling a story that you want to tell so even when the days are long and hard you wake up ready to do whatever it takes to get the job done. And then... more coffee!

If you had to pick a single favorite moment out of the entire production, what would it be?

Julia: We had so many amazing moments on this shoot as we were working with some of our best friends. The shoot was incredibly ambitious but everyone pulled together to make it happen and I think we both had a moment on the last day of filming when we looked at each other and realized it was almost done; collectively we had done it! We looked around at everyone that was working so hard to help us make our dream a reality and shared a smile. This experience was the best we have had in our careers so far.

Tell me about the technical side of the film, your relationship to the director of photography, what the movie was shot on/format and why it was decided to be filmed this way.

Peter: Since I was directing and acting in the film, it was crucial that we had a great Director of Photography and we nailed it with Brendan Uegama. He has a great eye and an amazing work ethic so he was fantastic to work with. We spent a lot of time together in prep so when we were there on the day he knew exactly what we were going for. We shot the film on a Red Epic which helped to give us that nice commercial feel that we were going for. We also used two cameras which enabled us to get the coverage we needed.

What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie in Whistler?

Peter: Honestly we are looking forward to sharing it with an audience and seeing how they respond. Comedies need a crowd and we can't wait to share this one with the crowd at Whistler! We also have a lot of cast and crew coming to the screening so it will be great to have them see the final product up on the big screen.

If you could show this movie in any cinema in the world, which one would you choose and why?

Peter: The first time we went to a film festival we sat in a huge theater at the ArcLight Theater in Los Angeles. The screening was packed with people we admire like Sean Penn, Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei so it would be great to have WHAT AN IDIOT play to a packed house at the same theater one day.

What would you say or do to someone who is talking or texting during a screening of your film?

Julia: I think they owe everyone in the audience a drink after!

There are a lot of up and coming filmmakers reading our site. What would you want to tell them if they are aspiring to become a filmmaker?

Peter: Making a movie is a lot of fun and a TON of work, so make sure you are telling a story that you want to live with day after day for years. Being passionate about your film is key. In the independent world, you are the one who has to drive everything forward and if your passion is genuine everyone around you will jump on board. Once you have decided to make a movie, pick a start date and no matter what happens, start shooting on that day! There will always be bumps in the road but if you want to make it happen you need to be able to navigate through the obstacles and push forward. Stay the course, the road is long but it is worth it in the end!

Be sure to see WHAT AN IDIOT at the Whistler Film Festival! Screenings take place on Friday, December 5th, 9:45 at Millennium Place and Saturday, December 6th, 3pm at Village 8 Cinemas.

This is one of the many films playing at the 2014 Whistler Film Festival. For show information, tickets and for other general information on films and events, point your browser to the official website HERE

Be sure to follow instant happenings of Whistler Film Festival on my Twitter account @jasonwhyte, including mini-reviews of films, comments on festival action and even a photo or two. You can also follow the festival on my Instagram at jason.whyte!

Jason Whyte,

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originally posted: 12/06/14 04:56:25
last updated: 12/06/14 05:00:10
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