I first learned about director (and /Filmcast listener) Ben Aston when he wrote me an email a year ago asking me to check out one of his short films. Since then he’s put out two more short films, both of which have gone on to play at prestigious film festivals all around the world. His latest short film, He Took His Skin Off For Me, blew me away and represents an exponential step in his growth as a filmmaker.
Hit the jump to see Aston’s films, and to listen to a podcast interview I did with him about finding success as a maker of film shorts. We discuss the sacrifices Aston has had to make for his art, as well as practical tips to get a short film seen.
Dinner and a Movie – This was one of Aston’s earlier short films, and while it is highly enjoyable, I think Aston was still finding his voice here. The performances are fantastic and the technical aspects are great, but the pacing is slow for a short and as a result, the payoff doesn’t land for me as well as I’d like. Nonetheless, it has a lot of heart to it and I can definitely understand why Vimeo chose to honor it with Staff Pick status.
Russian Roulette – Made for under $100 in the course of a few days, Russian Roulette is a brief but sweet and touching tale of two people trying to find company in the midst of loneliness. I was shocked to hear this film had been shot using a Canon T2i (which can be purchased for less than $200). It is a true testament to what can be accomplished with a sharp script, some great actors, and some basic production design. This film will play at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival.
He Took His Skin Off For Me – Beautiful, haunting, and profound, this short film is Aston’s latest. The practical effects are astonishing for a student short and the way Aston uses horror movie tropes to convey the idea of a toxic relationship is unique and somehow avoids being overstated. Weeks after watching this, I can’t get over how perfect it is, and how much that last shot haunts me. Definitely worth 8.5 minutes of your time.
Download my podcast interview with Aston or Play Now in your Browser: