SFS Artistic Director Ben Ferris, a filmmaker, has just returned from Paris where he had an opportunity to immerse himself in a creative environment, meet and collaborate with artists from around the world, and produce his new film. He recently talked about the experience with Power Publications.
When I applied for the residency I had a vague idea of what I wanted to develop but my idea evolved as I was there, in Paris, and as the political climate in the world changed. The concept for the project changed significantly in this three-month period, since it evolved rapidly after I watched the inauguration of US President, Donald Trump. I was also influenced by the place and ended up writing the project specifically for locations in Paris, including the river Seine. So, I wrote and directed a video piece currently titled “Orpheus Ascending”. It’s a short film about the end of the world, or at least a final visitation on Earth by the mythological figure, Orpheus.
The beauty of residencies such as the one at the Cité is that they give you a chance to reconnect with your creative aspirations and ignite your inspiration. My project is not a far cry from my initial ideas but the residency was certainly flexible enough to allow for my project to breath and develop. I imagine that many future candidates will feel the need to apply with a very clear project in mind, but the reality is that the initial framework is malleable and likely to evolve while in Paris.
The Cité also provides an incredibly social environment and, while I was there, I had an invaluable opportunity to meet, collaborate, and get inspired by artists from around the world, and from various disciplines. I ended up collaborating with a Russian film production designer and a Russian costume designer, who were both residents of the Cité, like me. I was also meeting other Paris-based filmmakers and was introduced to a French production company with whom I ended up co-producing the film. If the film goes well this will be a relationship I seek to develop in the future.
Having a block of time dedicated to developing your project and being in a place where everyone around you is in the same creative state of mind is an incredible opportunity, and I can’t thank the Power Institute and the generosity of Terrence and Lynette Fern enough for offering it to me. Don’t think twice about applying.
2017 recipient of the Terrence and Lynette Fern Cité Internationale des Arts Residency Fellowship for practicing artists
About Ben Ferris
Ben Ferris is one of the founders of Sydney Film School, where he is currently the Artistic Director and a writing/directing teacher. Ferris, a film writer/director, has screened films and won numerous awards in Paris, New York, Croatia, Italy, Tokyo, Singapore and Amsterdam, as well as having theatrical releases of his works in Tokyo, Croatia, and Australia. His short film ‘The Kitchen’ (2003) won the Grand Prix at the Akira Kurosawa Memorial Short Film Festival in Tokyo in 2005, and his short film ‘Ascension’ (2004) won the Grand Prix at the 4th One Take Film Festival in Croatia in 2004. His debut feature film ‘Penelope’, an Australian–Croatian co-production, screened in National Competition at the 56th Pula Film Festival in Croatia in 2009, and won a Van Gogh Award for Best Fantasy Film at the Amsterdam Film Festival in 2010. In 2016 he completed his second feature film ‘57 Lawson’ which captures daily life within a social housing building in Redfern, under the shadow of impending development. The film is currently on the international festival circuit. In 2015, Ferris was the curator of the Sydney Cinémathèque. His writings on cinema have been published worldwide in both French and English. To see some of his previous work visit https://vimeo.com/bferris.
2018 Terrence and Lynette Fern Cité Internationale des Arts Residency
Applications are now open for the Power Institute 2018 Terrence and Lynette Fern Cité Internationale des Arts Residency Fellowships. The deadline for applications is 20 July 2017. See this page for all the relevant information and to apply.