Who are you and what’s your filmmaking background?
I am a screenwriter, actor, producer and director originally from New Jersey. My love of independent film brought me to Dallas, Texas where I founded my own production company, Circus Wheel Productions. Since 2012, I have written, produced and directed 13 short and feature length films. My short film ASH won the 2014 Texas Director of the Year Award at the 2014 Austin Indie Flix Showcase. My other short films (Slow Wave, Dead Therapy and Jagerbar) have also been nominated and received multiple awards across the festival circuit. In 2014 I wrote and produced a feature film entitled Element, which starred Michael Ironside and Breaking Bad’s Steven Quezada. I also have two feature length movies slated to begin production in mid-2015.
What are you working on right now?
I have been blessed to be busy! My short film Slow Wave has been making its rounds across the county and is on the cusp of a distribution deal. I also have my feature Element, in post-production with a 2015 release date. I recently wrote and directed a film entitled Take My Body along side the Endeavor Cinema Group. We wrapped principal photography last month and we are already heavily into the post process. In April, I will be directing my feature film, Kreep, A story of redemption in rural West Texas. My team and I will shoot on location outside of Amarillo for several weeks and hope to have a finished product later this year. This is going to be a banner year for Circus Wheel.
What are you promoting?
My focus right now is a three-headed beast. With Slow Wave gaining momentum and recognition among my peers, I will be attending as many festivals as possible. Take My Body is an intensely personal piece for me, so I am spending a lot of my time working on post and editing – something somewhat new to me. Kreep is in full pre-production mode with a kick off date in April 2015. Those three projects are keeping me busy, and I have nothing to complain about. Once Element wraps up later this year, I will certainly enjoy promoting that work as well.
What do you want the audience to take away from your films?
Movies are about making someone FEEL. When I was young, I used to love popcorn flicks. The bigger the action the better, but as I grew up I started to find a fondness in the films that created discussion, controversy and emotion. Clarity of story and clarity of emotion is what I want audiences to come away with after seeing one of my films or reading one of my scripts. It’s my job to tell my story and the only way I can achieve that is by using the senses at my disposal– picture, light and sound. I am telling a story, but I am not going to unspool and explain what just happened, instead I want to allow you to imagine what happens next.
What’s your favorite story from filmmaking?
I cherish time. If you are on set and you are trying to stick to a shot list and a schedule you have to have a great AD. Birgit Schroeder out of Austin – love her to death, is so strict on our time and it’s the one thing I struggle with on set. Give me an hour to shoot a scene and I’ll ask for ten more minutes. Birgit is the glue. On Ash, we were two hours behind on the first day of shooting and I called her in to assist, wouldn’t you know it, we finished ahead of schedule over the weekend. That story just stuck with me.
What are your wildest dreams for your filmmaking career?
I think everyone dreams of an Oscar. They may not admit it, but they do. Shoot, I have my speech ideas, I won’t lie, but now I think my wildest dream would be to shoot an independent feature on a shoe string budget and have it play everywhere. What a thought?!
What is something bizarre about you?
I have acted in a half-a-dozen films, but only one role has been in a film that I have not written. I guess I play to my strengths.
What currently inspires you?
I find a lot of inspiration is music. Movie soundtracks and ambient music are all I listen to when I write. Sometimes, I see a shot in a film and think “I need to try that.” I would say that most of my ideas hit me at random times with no reason behind them, but I am disciplined enough to act on them quickly.
What’s your best advice for an aspiring filmmaker?
Do it your way. The best advice I ever got was from a well-known filmmaker and he said, “Learn to do everything well until you get paid to do one thing VERY well.” Basically, learn to edit and score and write and produce. Be a jack-of-all-trades. When you get the call and an opportunity to do one of those, then that is who you are. That, and don’t listen to the words no and stupid. If you believe in something, get out there and make it happen. No one is going to do it for you, and you’re the best person for the job anyway.
Follow Brett’s career at The Audience Awards.
For more information on Brett Bentman visit:
Take My Body: https://www.facebook.com/TAKEMYBODYMOVIE?ref=hl
The Audience Awards is film’s social network connecting audiences to films, filmmakers, film schools and film festivals. The Audience Awards hosts short film competitions where the audience chooses the best films.