Interview with Film Producer Nicky Bentham, ‘The Silent Storm’

Nicky Bentham is an accomplished film producer with success in feature drama and documentary. She was Executive Producer on Encounters' 2013 Grand Prix Award-winning 'Orbit Ever After' directed by Jamie Stone, and has recently completed THE SILENT STORM, a tempestuous drama starring Andrea Riseborough and Damian Lewis. The film was Executive Produced by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, their first film outside of the Bond series. It premièred at the BFI London Film Festival and has been recently released theatrically by Sony. We caught up with Nicky and offered our congratulations.

This year it could be you winning our Grand Prix – UK students have until 6th June to submit your film and student group bookings are now open.

What was your earliest/most significant experience with film?

It was when I was about 6 and my uncle Peter took me to see Amadeus, the Milos Forman film, at the Randwick Ritz in Sydney. I was totally blown away by the spectacle and I thought it was incredible that all those people had gone to so much effort with costumes, make-up, music and performance all for my entertainment. We sat in the balcony and I was too little to see over the ledge so I sat on his lap completely awestruck.

How would you describe the role of a producer?

I feel my role is essentially to find great stories and then find a way to get them told. That includes working with the writer and director on the script and the vision, then getting all the practical elements in place (finance, cast, crew) to make that vision a reality. And there’s the job of getting it seen so also attaching sales and distribution.

How does what you learned from producing short films apply to making larger budget feature films?

Film-making is all about collaboration and compromise, so the more experience you can have working under pressure in teams, the better. As a producer it’s really important to learn how to balance the creative ambitions and the commercial restraints of a project and know which battles are worth taking on. Short films are a great arena to test that balance.

 

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Damian Lewis as Balor in ‘The Silent Storm’. ©Sony Pictures

The Silent Storm is set in a remote part of Scotland. How did you overcome the challenges of the location and working with the local community?

The location was a huge challenge and I knew there were certain people I wanted on the team to help overcome it. Julia Valentine, our co-producer was a vital component and she brought on a fantastic crew, including Matt Jones the location manager. We worked together to identify the challenges early on (access, accommodation, health and safety) and then just had to tackle them one by one. We found a few film friendly locals and were lucky that they helped us find our way around.

 

In The Silent Storm, you worked with a small cast. What advice would you give to filmmakers and producers working in a similar situation?

It’s wonderful working with a small cast! But unfortunately due to conflicting schedules our cast weren’t able to rehearse together beforehand, and that was one thing I would have liked to change. Corinna (the writer/director) was able to prep with them all individually but once on set we were all thrown together and had to get to work very quickly.

 

What are your biggest takeaways from working with Barbara Brocolli as your mentor?

To work hard and be yourself. She has taught me so much but I think that encapsulates the essence of it all. Also she’s a great example of someone getting to the very, very top and sending the elevator down for the next bunch to climb their way up. It’s great to know that not everyone in this very cut throat industry is just out for themselves.

What is your top tip for filmmakers who want to approach producers for their projects?

Be realistic about the scope and audience for your project. Be confident but respectful.

 

BUY TICKETS to see ‘The Silent Storm’ here

 

Nicky Bentham Headshot 1

©Nicky Bentham

Nicky Bentham is the founder of Neon Films  and is currently in post-production on a children’s film entitled ‘You Can Tutu’. Other feature producing credits include Duncan Jones’ multi award-winning sci-fi ‘Moon’, starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey. Following a Sundance première, the film was released internationally by Sony Pictures Classics, and proved both a critical and commercial success, picking up the top prizes at Edinburgh and the BIFA’s as well as a BAFTA.