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Today’s guest on the show is Scottish award-winning filmmaker, and writer, Ben Sharrock, known for his Cannes Official Selection 2020 feature film, Limbo, and Pikadero, among others. 

Ben’s unique visually captivating films are inspired by middle eastern and northern European cinema. Interpreting middle eastern character in his films as he does in some of his recent work stems from an academic background in Middle East Cinema, Fine Arts, and working advertising in Dubai. The rooted connection — learning and understanding these cultures carved a for Ben, a unique cinematic voice in the industry.

Sharrock and his producing and life partner, Irune Gurtubai founded their production company, Caravan Cinemas under which they premiered their first film, Pikadero at the 2015 San Sebastian International Film Festival. 

A penniless, young couple has trouble consummating their fledgling relationship in their parents’ homes, forcing their relationship into question as they try to break free from the shackles of a crumbling economy.

The film which had initially gone by Patata Tortilla was Sharrock and Gurtubai’s Screen Academy Scotland graduation film. They won two awards at the Zurich Film Festival in 2015, Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2016, and two BAFTA awards that year for new Talent Best Drama and Best Screenplay.

The recognition of Pikadero made it easier to get funding to write the screenplay for Limbo which came out in 2020.

Ben directed and wrote the original screenplay for Limbo—a wry and poignant observation of the refugee experience which follows Omar, a promising musician and Syrian refugee who is separated from his family, stuck on a remote Scottish island awaiting the fate of his asylum request. 

Ben approaches the sensitive issues of refugees’ dehumanization and orientalism in this film with absurd humor and honesty. 

The film was nominated at this year’s BAFTA for Best British Film, Best debut and best international Feature Film for the GoldenEye.

I truly had a fun time geeking out on a tandem with Ben about film lenses, and cameras and learning of his film influences and transferred skills from his career in advertising to filmmaking. 

Enjoy my conversation with Ben Sharrock.

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