Ben Mehlman '10
What are you doing now?
I’m working on a short film, Between the Forest and the Field, a dramatic thriller that I’ve written with my writing partner and former classmate, Alex Rizzo. We have a huge Hofstra network out here in Los Angeles; our cinematographer, Sean Emer, and one of our producers, David Woodruff, are also from the School of Communication. We hope to use the film as a launching pad to get into festivals and have more people see our work. We’re in talks now with actors, and hope to shoot it in early October. I’m also interning at two production companies, where one of my main responsibilities is reviewing and pitching scripts that come in. In my free time, I’m also part of a comedy troupe called “Bored and Unemployed,” and we do one-to-two minute skits on the popular website funnyordie.com.
Did you always want to do this as a career?
I always had a love of film, but it was the Hofstra Filmmakers Club where I was really exposed to the potential of filmmaking, the love of it, the hard work that has to go into it, and seeing that the hard work does pay off. We had a film festival in the student theater at the end of every semester, and in my sophomore year, my short film won several awards including Best Director and Best Short. It was surreal to see my film play in front of a packed audience, and watch people react and cheer.I’ve never looked back.
How did Hofstra prepare you for where you are today?
One thing that’s unique about the film staff at Hofstra is that they have solid experience in the industry. But more than that, I became friends with my teachers, trusted their advice and really enjoyed being around them even though they were in a position of authority. We were lucky to have that; Peter Gershon and Bill Jennings, in particular, have been huge supporters of everything I’ve tried to do. I think Hofstra students know more than the average film student from a technical standpoint. Now it’s up to us to take what we know and keep going with it.
What’s your long-term goal?
Ultimately I’d love to direct feature films and have my own production company. I’m working toward that, starting with my short film, by learning as much as I can and trying to improve my craft. I want this to be the last film where I have to raise money from my family and friends to finance it. Think we need to prove we can do something without Hollywood, and then Hollywood will invite us into its little club!