A Stitch in Time - An Interview with Ben Battersby

Please tell us about your background. What made you fall in love with cinema? How did you become interested in filmmaking and what did you work on before making A Stitch in Time?

I remember the first time I stepped onto a film set, I was immediately taken away with the energy and urgency. All these people working together for the same end. I at that time was very interested in stills photography, I was taking a lot of street & travel photos but I was could never quite imagine myself as a photo journalist or fashion photographer or even commercial photographer. But when I saw the film set I just knew this was for me. I guess it was the idea of team work that got me. I love that aspect of cinema, its always a team, no matter how large or small. If I had to summarize id say its team work and storytelling. Stills had always struck me as a way of storytelling, you try to tell a story in one frame. With cinema you have 25 frames per second to tell your story, that’s a lot more real estate!

I worked in the Uk film industry in the camera department working on BBC tv series, documentaries, costume dramas and feature films. In 2009 I moved to Argentina where I stated to work as a DOP on Commercials and music videos and also shot my first feature.

I began to direct as a way to shoot the stories that I wanted to tell. As a relief from the restraints and compromises that commercial work all too often set upon you as a filmmaker. I shot a short film “Lugares de Encuentro” and music videos for a few bands before shooting A Stitch in Time which was my first attempt at documentary as a director.

Which filmmakers influenced you and your filmmaking? Which films, especially documentaries, have affected you the most?

Ive always enjoyed documentaries. As a kid growing up in the UK I absolutely loved all the Natural history put out by BBC Bristol. I religiously watched all of David Attenborough’s documentaries for example. The uk has a very rich history in documentary making and I would say that I am very much influenced by that, certainly in terms of approach as opposed to the more flamboyant styles that you might find elsewhere.

As an adult ill watch all sorts from investigative to natural history to more contemplative pieces. But as a filmmaker I enjoy docs that don’t forget that they are films not just a pieces of news reel. Im less interested in factual integrity & more concerned with the story. I like very much all work by Werner Herzog and his attitude towards documentary making probably best encapsulates what I think about them. They are films that are directed by someone in an attempt to tell a story in order to entertain & hopefully provoke thought in the viewer. That’s at least what I hope to be able to achieve with my films.

What are the themes/issues you try to reflect in your films? What, in your opinion, is the most important quality of a documentary?

Well I guess that so far Ive gone with what interests me. If im interested in the story that I see then it’s a go. I’m very much attracted to human stories, Im not so interested in my films being encyclopedic sources of information , there are people who can do that so much better than me! I like to think that they can provoke ideas in the viewer, the why & what for. I definitely see that I gravitate