“Hints of Jaws and… the haunting mysteries of ‘Stranger Things’ ….
‘Beast’ is a moving, mysterious [pilot]…that immediately draws to mind prominent storytellers like Steven Spielberg…”
In Chapter 1 of this award-winning episodic short, BEAST, by Ben Strang, a grieving teenager recruits the help of a fisherman to figure out what happened to his father after a mysterious disappearance. Upon its debut at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival, the series’ pilot drew critical acclaim and won the fest’s Grand Jury Award for Independent Episodics.
Look for BEAST – out now! – exclusively on Omeleto’s YouTube channel. (Run time is 18 minutes)
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Writer/Director: Ben Strang
Producers: Ben Strang, Lara Pictet, Jonathan Maurer
Executive Producers: Jason Michael Berman, Tony Frere, David Hartcorn, Rosemary Marie Port, Victor Shapiro, Raphael Swann
Cinematography: David Bolen
Editor: Manuel Crosby
Stars: Elijah Mayo, Chantal Nchako, Jay Potter, Helen Hedman
Ben Strang is a Maryland-native, an award-winning writer-director and a photographer. Operating out of Santa Monica, California he has directed commercial works for blue-chip brands from around the world and his films have garnered widespread acclaim. As a documentary and action-sports photographer, Ben’s still work explores mankind’s relationship to nature, the resiliency of the human spirit, and community identity. “Beast came from a total fascination with small fishing islands,” said Strang. “My visual inspirations were 1800s painters like Winslow Homer and photographer Marion Warren who captured small New England towns and maritime scenes. Growing up in Maryland, I had heard about this place called Smith Island. It was about 100 miles as the crow flies from where I lived, but to get there you had to drive three hours to the eastern shore and then ride a one hour ferry out to the island. One summer when I was 20 or so, my brother and I took a trip out there and met a bunch of fishermen. I became obsessed. The community there is 250-strong and didn’t seem to have changed all too much since the 1600s when it was established.”
He continues, “A few years later, I was driving across the country and in my travel journal wrote a poem called The Boy and the Beast, about a teenager’s obsession with the water and his eventual encounter with a mysterious creature that lives in the bay. About a year after that in 2015, I started writing a short film based on the poem. It was really just an excuse to shoot something on this island I was pretty much obsessed with at this point.”
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