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I don’t have much in the way of film artefacts these days. I have a couple of replica Star Wars helmets. Some Neca Alien and Jaws action figures and of course some reference books. My guest this week however has not only a super impressive collection, he is also responsible for three of the best comedies ever written. Three of my all time favourites in fact.. Seinfeld, Curb your Enthusiasm and Veep. Yes, I have writer and executive producer David Mandel on the show! I mean it’s kind of bonkers really.Also as a wonderful DVD special feature type bonus, I am joined by my friend, and former Filmumentaries Podcast guest, Emmy Award winning matte artist Jim Maxwell. You’ll have seen Jim’s work in Vikings, Vikings: Valhalla, maybe even in Curb Your Enthusiasm. Now you see the connection!! Jim has worked as a VFX matte painter for some 20 years. Had a short stint at ILM. Owner of items relevant to the conversation you’re about to hear.Thanks to both David Mandel and Jim Maxwell for being great!
For this episode I spoke to Gino Acevedo, a make-up and special effects expert that’s worked on films such as Lord of the Rings, King Kong, Iron Man, The Jungle Book, Planet of the Apes and most recently with Jim Cameron on the new Avatar films. Gino was drawn away from a career in LA by Peter Jackson some 15 years ago and has remained in New Zealand ever since. I spoke to him in August 2022 from his home there and had a great chat about his entry into the business and some of the amazing films he’s worked on.
This time my guest is film composer Daniel Pemberton. Before I go any further I just want to take a moment to thank my friend and colleagues John Lyons for connecting me with Daniel. Initially we spoke several months ago, but as you might imagine, Daniel has been busy. Some Daniel facts for you:At the age of 16 he released his first album, which got quite a bit of attention.He then worked for several years creating scores for television including the cherished Peep Show. Daniel has composed for directors Ridley Scott, Aaron Sorkin, Guy Richie, Danny Boyle, Edward Norton and many more. He’s in high demand and is always working! He’s regularly been cited as one of the most exciting and original new voices working in modern film scoring today.We finally managed to arrange a day for me to join him at his home in London. In fact, because Daniel wanted to get out of the house/studio, we did the interview in a local park. But I did get to visit the genius's lair. Strewn with instruments, synths, LPs and CDs Daniel really does has a love for his craft. His enthusiasm as he played me part of one of his new scores is clearly evident.You’ll hear the sounds of London as we chat, including some dogs fighting, a chinook helicopter going over and the general atmos of a London park at lunch time.
Ok so for this episode I was put in touch with Hannah Barbera, Bluth and Disney artist and animator T.Dan Hofstedt. T Dan worked for Disney on a number of their big projects including Aladdin, The Lion King and Mulan. I had the pleasure of speaking with him in June 2022.Please note/ignore my husky Covid voice. I am three days in. Also my mic recording got somehow trashed so what you’ll hear is the recording of my mic through Zoom, rather than on my normally separate recording. But hopefully it won’t make a big difference.I hope you enjoy it!
This episode I have a returning guest, Jon Spira who directed Elstree 1976 and Hollywood Bulldogs is back to talk about his new series streaming on Britbox, namely Reel Britannia. Jon has written and directed this himself and it’s a blast. I’m fortunate enough to have watched the first three episodes before I spoke to Jon. The fourth episode is just being finished up as I speak.I hope you enjoy our conversation.Britbox.comElstree 1976 - Bulldogs -
So this is not a typical episode. While I do have a guest, he does not work in the film industry. He is however a big fan of Star Wars, who like me, enjoys channelling his love for these films into something creative.Justin Berger is the author of The Empire Strikes Back Unauthorized Timeline 1975 - 2020. It’s a reference book that catalogues all the major and minor dates surrounding the inception, pre production, production and aftermath of The Empire Strikes Back.During this episode Justin and I have an announcement, the title and thumbnail to this episode was a big hint… https://jeditimeline.com
Today I have an amazing guest, an exclusive of sorts, because he really hasn’t done many interviews over the years…. Namely ILM matte painter and Weta art director Michael Pangrazio. Now if you recognise that name you’ll know that Michael is responsible for some incredible works of art from Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Dragon Slayer, Willow, it’s another long list. He also co-founded Matte World along with previous Filmumentaries Podcast guest Craig Barron, that’s episode 46 if you want to take a listen.Michael is now based in Australia working with Peter Jackson’s Weta in New Zealand for some 15 years. We spoke over Zoom in April 2022.Please support the podcast
Welcome to episode 50. Five zero of The Filmumentaries Podcast. Fifty… So after just over two years I’ve hit the podcast has hit middle age. And you know what, it’s feels pretty good. Thanks for all your support over the past 24 months. I really do appreciate it, especially those that have been able to support the podcast.Ok, so if you heard episode 49, you’ll know that it was the first of a two parter with ILM’s chief model maker Lorne Peterson. Today you’ll be hearing the second and final part of my conversation with him.Please share.
For this episode, number 49 you’ll hear my conversation with a founding member of Industrial Light and Magic, who has brought an immeasurable amount of skill and artistry not only to the original Star Wars trilogy, but also to the prequels, Indiana Jones, Men in Black, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jurassic Park, E.T. The list is immense. The man I speak of is ILM former Chief Model Maker Lorne Peterson. Lorne was so taken with my interview with industrial designer Nilo Rodis Jamero (that’s episode 17 from January 2021 if you’d like to take a listen) that he felt compelled to talk to me. He said he found the Nilo episode quite emotional and I quote “I was nearly brought to tears. My voice broke up when I tried to ask my wife for something. It was an epic 33 years with many a milestone along the way and every week brought new adventures, each day actually. We essentially got to live and work in Florence during the Renaisance.”I’d contacted Lorne many months before and when I had no reply I assumed he wasn’t interested. I was so pleased to hear back from him, not only because he is someone whose work I admired immensely but also because an episode of my podcast was the catalyst for him to reply. Happy making.Lorne joined ILM just as Star Wars was being made. He stayed for 33 years. Just think of the titles he worked on and the changes he observed in the industry. Our conversation went on for over two hours, so it will be split up into two episodes for April 2022. The first one right here and the second part will be up by the end of the month.Please share.Support the show (
In February 2020 I had the pleasure of speaking with fellow Brit, Senior Visual Effects Consultant Paul Franklin.Paul famously worked with director Chris Nolan on both Inception and Interstellar. He won a BAFTA for his work on Inception and an Academy award for both Inception and Interstellar.Early in his career he was a videotape editor, then he worked for Psygnosis, the video game developer and publisher. Finally arriving in film in the mid to late 1990's.LinksThe Escape - Talk - Palace Film Festival - the show (
This episode is my conversation with Sarah Virani, Partnerships and Marketing Manager at Regent Street Cinema. Sarah contacted me on social media with the intention of getting the message out about this lovely little cinema in London. Full disclosure, I was offered complimentary tickets for a screening, but I haven’t taken Sarah up on that offer. What really  interested me was the historical aspects of the theatre. As you’ll hear, it’s been there in some form since 1848! Being a cinema history buff, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to visit and check out the birthplace of British Cinema. This is, I guess, my first location report type episode. It was good fun. It is shorter than a normal episode, but I hope you enjoy it.Normal proceedings will continue as from episode 48.  Next up is D-NEG's Paul Franklin. the show (
For this episode I have a conversation with VFX guru Craig Barron. Craig started his career in the effects industry as a young man at ILM. You’ll love his story about how he got there. Years later he went on to co-found Matte World and then became creative director at Magnopus.He began  at ILM in time to work on The Empire Strikes Back. Later he worked for Martin Scorcese on Casino and a million and one movies in between . Craig also  co-wrote a wonderful book about matte painting called The Invisible Art with Mark Cotta Vaz. It’s a huge, lavish history of that particular part of visual effects and has some of the best reproductions of matte paintings I’ve seen in print. Well worth picking up if you can find it at an affordable price. (It's currently out of print).If you enjoy this or any of the episodes, please share!Support the show (
For this episode, number 45, February 2022, I have another film legend, Garrett Brown.If that’s not a name you recognise, you will know his work. Garrett invented the steadicam. He also operated it over 100 films, most notably for me, Rocky, The Shining, and Return of the Jedi. Three very different films and three completely difference applications of the steadicam.The steadicam of course is a camera stabilising system, with the stability of a conventional tripod mount but with the fluid motion of a dolly shot as well as the flexibility of hand-held camera work. Garrett’s incredible invention smoothly follows the operator's broad movements, while the the Steadicam's arm absorbs jerks, bumps, and shakes, while its almost frictionless gimbal gives precise control of the camera and framing. It’s used on everything from film, light entertainment TV shows and just about every sport you can think of.Garrett won a special Academy Award for Science and Technology for his invention. Just to put this into perspective,  winners include those responsible for colour film, Cinescope, IMAX, Avid. All seismic innovations in the industry.Huge thanks to my friend and old colleague Patrick Van Weeran for putting me in touch with Garrett back in 2017 and providing me with some research literature that I wouldn’t have otherwise found. If you’re a patron of $3+ then there is a video version coming soon for you over on Demo Reel - the show (
For this episode number 44, I have documentary director Frank Pavich. Frank appeared along with Dan Lanigan and Soby on episode 39 in November 2021, in which we discussed the purchase of the Jodorowsky’s Dune book. A story which has been picked up again by the press just in the past week or so.  I may not have got the hits, but I got the scoop!The documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, which Frank Pavich directed has been favourite of mine since I was introduced to it by my friend  2015. I've watched in many times since, trying to find our everything I can on the subject.That quest still continues to this day. I love reading every tidbit about Jodorowsky’s Dune. So as soon as episode 39 of the podcast was over, I knew I had to get Frank back on.. Over the past couple of months we’ve become friendly acquaintances.  We chat quite a bit on whatsapp and share a similar enthusiasm for stories. So you’re in for a fun episode here.You can buy Frank's doco here ...and the fantastic soundtrack here Support the show (
For this episode, number 43 I spoke with documentary director Jon Spira.I became aware of Jon’s work in 2015 with the release of Elstree 1976. A broad look at the men and women who were tucked away, far far away, in the back ground of some of the shots in Star Wars. They were often extras and masked characters that we didn't even know were there. His film is a kind of microcosm of celebrity culture and how being on the periphery of a huge cultural event like Star Wars can impact on ones life.I spoke to Jon in November 2021 for a couple of hours. We had briefly met once before at a BFI screening and we’d been intending to have a chat ever since.Since making Elstree 1976, Jon has most recently made Hollywood Bulldogs Hollywood Bulldogs: The Rise and Falls of the Great British Stuntman which is currently on Britbox here in the UK. I really enjoyed listening to the stories of this unconventional group of men who worked on some of the biggest films in movie history.Hollywood Bulldogs Trailer - 1976 Trailer - the show (
My friend and colleague Jason Henry, director of Disney+'s Prop Culture, suggested that he should interview me for my own podcast. A "getting to know Jamie Benning episode" he said.  I was reluctant at first, but Jason assured me that my listeners would be interested in hearing my story.  The day before we were due to record, Jason suggested our mutual friend and presenter of Prop Culture, Dan Lanigan should host the interview.So here is Dan Lanigan, presenter, producer, prop collector turning the tables by interviewing ME, Jamie Benning.I hope you enjoy it. 😬Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays to you all. And thanks for the continued support.Support the show (
Bonus episode.I released episode 40 today. My conversation with author John Glennie. But as it's close to Christmas, I thought "what the heck"... lets put out episode 41 too.Both are with authors of great movie books that you should be adding to your Christmas list.So, here's my chat with author John Walsh about his new book Escape from New York The Official Story of the Film, available now!Twitter - @walshbrosBook at Amazon - at Waterstones - the show (
Welcome to episode 40 of The Filmumentaries Podcast.Now I am a lover of movie books. I own a lot of them. I have owned more than I now have. Some favourites include Alan Arnold’s Once Upon a Galaxy - The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, Paul Sammon’s Future Noir - The making of Blade Runner, Steven Bach’s – Final Cut. So many to name. But what I didn’t know, I am embarrassed to say, that I had no idea about fellow Brit author Jay Glennie’s books on The Deer Hunter, Raging Bull and Trainspotting until pretty recently. A kind twitter follower mentioned Jay and his books. Immediately I could see that Jay had a great eye for the huge stills that are included within his books, but also that there was a clear and engaging narrative throughout.In late November 2021 Jay and I spoke over Zoom. the show (
This is the second episode in a matter of two days. I only just released episode 38 with Howard Kazanjian yesterday. BUT I felt the need to get this episode and it’s story out there because it’s one that I’ve been chasing since 22nd Nov 2021.It started while I was at work at F1 talking with my friend Will Buxton. Will is a presenter and a big movie fan and we got talking about the imminent auction for the Jodorowsky’s Dune pitch book. So if you don’t know this story, I implore you to seek out the 2013 documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune” and watch it before you listen to this podcast.But if you want to go ahead now and listen I’ll give you a quick summary. So back in the mid 1970’s the Chilean-French director and performer Alejandro Jodorowsky became consumed with producing a film version of Frank Herbert’s Dune. He managed to pool the resources of people like Dan O’Bannon, Moebius, Giger and Chris Foss. Much of the talent that went on to work on seminal sci-fi films and indeed inspire a whole generation of filmmakers. So Jodorowsky put together a pitch book. This thing is huge with thousands of illustrations, storyboards, costume designs, architectural designs by these artists with the intention of sending it around all the Hollywood studios to convince them to buy his idea for the movie and let him direct it. Ultimately this endevour failed but its influence still resonates strongly today.One of these hallowed Dune books sold for $42500 in 2019. And on the 22nd November this year another sold but this time it went for $3 Million dollars. All thanks to one man stepping in and buying it on behalf of a collective who at that point had managed to raise $750,000 dollars. (As of today that amount has topped $11M).That man’s name is Soby. He was some what of a mystery to me for several days but I managed to connect with him over twitter (thanks to Will Buxton for the heads up) and we got chatting. He agreed to come on the podcast to talk through just what went down, and WHY!It then occurred to me that I should contact the director of the documentary Jodorwosky’s Dune, a guy called Frank Pavich. Again after a quick search I made contact with Frank and he was also keen to join having seen the story in the press himself.  I then wondered if I could get my friend Dan Lanigan, prop collector and co-creator of Disney+’s Prop Culture. Dan was also very keen and I knew he’d bring his unique perspective to the conversation.To my knowledge somewhat of an exclusive - this is the first podcast interview with Soby regarding the Dune book sale. And to have both Frank and Dan involved is such a treat.LinksWhat is a DAO - is crypto currency - is blockchain - is the Dunning Kruger effect - the show (
For this episode I’ve got well known producer Howard Kazanjian. Its name I’ve been familiar with for many decades now having seen it on the credits of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi. I’d heard sometime last year that Howard was releasing a book about his career, to be penned by the then very ill J W Rinzler. Jonathan of course appeared on this podcast back on episode 11 while he was being treated for cancer. Then Jonathan sadly passed away in July 2021 but did manage to complete the book and as Howard told me at the end of this interview you’re about to hear, Jonathan did get to see a published version of the book.I’d been in touch with Howard since last year and he was reluctant to talk until the book was released. This was further complicated by the fact that the book was released in the UK later than in the U.S. But he was a man of his word and when I told him I’d read the book he was willing to come on the podcast.So just last week we spoke over zoom. Thanks to Howard for his time.Howard Kazanjian - A Producer's Life is now available in bookstores. the show (
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