On April 17th, Ben is Back written and directed by Peter Hedges held a press conference in Beijing Hotel NUO. The film is shortlisted in “Tiantan Award” of the 9th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF). The producer Teddy Schwarzman and the executive producer Michael Heimler attended the press conference.
The story happened on Christmas Eve. A young man, Ben, who is charming but in trouble, shows up before his family members by surprise. He is warmly welcomed by his mother Holly. However, what upset her is the presence of Ben will very like make the entire family fall apart. Overwhelmed by love and contradiction, the relationship among family members also change significantly in a silent manner.
During the press conference, Teddy Schwarzman first talked about how to select the script for Ben is Back and finally decided to put it into production, saying that making the film a decision after comprehensive thinking and analysis. For a long time, they have devoted themselves to digging out excellent stories that not only have commercial influence but also can reflect the brilliance of human nature and broaden the extension of emotion. Peter Hedges is a creator who has been nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. When he handed them the screenplay of Ben is Back, they were deeply moved by this story. With this emotionally universal film, we would like to discuss such a topic: To what extent will people do for their family members?
In the film, the Hollywood's veteran actress Julia Roberts and newcomer Lucas Hedges play opposite each other, which allows the audience to feel the deep pain of the mother and son torn apart by their reason and emotion. At the press conference, the two producers also shared an interesting behind-the-scene story. After receiving the script, Julia very much hoped Lucas could play the son in the film, but Lucas also expressed his reluctance to cooperate with his father, Peter Hedges, the director and screenwriter of the film. For the participation of Lucas, Julia became a link between the father and son. Before the official shooting of Ben is Back, Julia often invited Lucas and Kathryn Newton who plays her daughter in the film to come to her home during the holidays. Before long, Lucas, Kathryn and Julia's children became good playmates and they two seemed to be members of Julia's family. Because of that, upon shooting the film, the cameraman really secured the tacit understanding between mother and son during interaction between Julia and Lucas.
As a family-themed film, Ben is Back is not of the same order compared with Hollywood’s commercial films. However, this does not hinder the film from being praised continuously on social media with a well-knit script and performers’ superb performance. Lately, a well-known figure in Hollywood Kim Kardashian posted an article on social media: “Ben is Back is a recent film that moved me to tears,” which also soared the attention degree of the film on SNS. In spreading degree and influence, Michael Heimler said that he would rather that his work can be spread among audiences for good public praise but his work does not completely rely upon business marketing.
Finally, the two film producers also shared their relationship with Chinese film festivals and their future plans to produce works. Early in 2015, they arrived China with the work The Imitation Game. What’s more, the “Beijing Film Panorama” at the 9th BJIFF also elaborately selected the film Light of My Life produced by them and written, directed and acted by Casey Affleck himself. The works produced by them include both The Friend with a relaxed and cozy style and a thriller The Rental. They also hope to open the window to communicate with Chinese film fans through the platform of Beijing International Film Festival and they can have a chance to meet Chinese film fans early with their own new works in the near future.