Benjamin David Hoffman
WRITER • DIRECTOR • PHOTOGRAPHER
• Philosophy •
Photography and filmmaking can be powerful artistic mediums, providing glimpses into cultures, places and emotions unseen by most in everyday life. A good photograph can bring together the subject and the audience giving the audiences permission to deeply question or feel from the safety of their vantage. And to evoke something real in an audience, to move them authentically, requires some form of vulnerability from the subject, either inherent or nurtured into being. My preference is to provide a safe, embracing environment to invite organic vulnerability to effortlessly shine. And such exposure can include both a dropped guard or a veiled vulnerability - sometimes the most aesthetically beautiful window pane is the one with grime on it, letting only select streams of light through. Either way, no risk, no story. And thus the most important part of my job directing the camera has absolutely nothing to do with the camera, it's about the relationship and dynamic existing in the space.
My process is slow and then fast. I slowly, quietly explore the space and the people present, reserving all judgement as best I can. I try to understand the story that wants to be told. However I'm most interested in the layers beneath that story, the ones that haven't been heard in a while that are usually dying to sing. Then I move fast and press the button the moment we all feel surprised. And whatever it is, it was really there all along. How wonderful life is!
• Biography •
Benjamin sold his first feature film project to Diaphana in France in 2016. His screenplay, SALT WATER, is being produced by Nick and Sara Risher, the former president/chairman of New Line Cinema. He wrapped production on his feature-film directorial debut, GRAND GESTURE, and luckily made it into post-production during the pandemic lockdown. His two most recent short films will premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2022. Graduating from Columbia University with a BA in Biochemistry, Benjamin began work in the film industry at The Weinstein Company (dissonant whispers) and then Curious Pictures. For the last few years, he has been producing branded content and commercials through his own production company, Braised Films, for brands such as Samsonite, G.E., Hearst Corp. and many others. He is an avid meditator, studying eastern philosophy with a Vedic monk, and volunteering for a Vedic heritage preservation non-profit half of every week. (Hansavedas.org) He loves to explore the natural world through cooking, hiking, sailing, photography, oceans, mountains and of course, meeting new people.
Photograph of me is by Rachel Gray.