DATE : 7TH OF FEBRUARY 2021
Ben Hozie is an Independent film Director who hits the movie Business with his upcoming erotic thriller starring Peter Back and Julia Fox titled PVT Chat.
We spoke to Ben about his directing experience on the said thriller which happens over Video Callas and the Erotic Genre which seems to be the center stage of the Helmers movie.
Hi, How are you? It’s a delight to be talking to you about PVT Chat.
Ben Hozie: I’m doing great. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me.
Q.You have written and directed PVT Chat, may I ask how the idea came to be and how has the journey been from script to screen?
Ben Hozie: I first wrote the script in 2015 but did many rewrites until I hit upon a version of the script I wanted to film the summer of 2017. We did all of the principal photography throughout February 2018. I was initially drawn to the worlds of cam girls and online gambling because they both seem to really crystallize something essential about this historical moment where most emotion is processed through computer screens. I don’t see the cam or online gambling worlds as that different from social media: they are just different forms of stimulation addiction. In many ways I think the most pressing issue of our time is how consciousness is changing (for better and worse) through our relationship with new technologies.
Q. Julia Fox gave an outstanding performance in Uncut Gem, what was it like working with her on PVT Chat?
Ben Hozie: Julia was great to work with. She’s an incredible improviser and a very brave performer. We actually shot most of our film before UNCUT GEMS so PVT CHAT was the first time I believe she had ever been in front of a camera seriously acting. Nothing could have been more natural. As most of the world now knows, she has star power. I’m looking forward to seeing her in other roles.
Q. Peter Vack too fills the screen with his presence, what was it like working with him?
Ben Hozie: Peter is an absolute joy and I’m now happy to say he’s one of my best friends. I was especially lucky to work with Peter since his part was so physically demanding and revealing. He was completely willing to go the extra mile every day of the shoot. He isn’t a vain actor in the sense that he isn’t worried about his appearance on screen. He is always interested in the truth of a situation.
Q. A lot of scenes happen over a Video Call, how was it like directing actors through that process?
Ben Hozie: I believe a lot of good directing involves setting up a situation that allows freedom for the actor(s). All of the video call sessions were done live with two simultaneous sets (two separate rooms in the same apartment) with the crew in kitchen so it could feel as real as possible for the actors (and likewise the audience). We did long takes that followed the script but allowed for the actors
to take the conversations wherever they pleased. This was sometimes tricky because there could be technical issues in one room that would affect the other room (bad internet connection, an interference with the sound, or something not quite right with the production design, etc.). At one point I considered using screen capture technology for some of the chats but quickly decided that it was far too flat cinematically. I wanted the audience to really feel like they were in Jack’s room.
Q. Erotic Thrillers were in abundance during the 90s, how was it like for you to make one in today’s day age? How did you adapt it to today’s sensibility with the Online aspect?
Ben Hozie: The erotic thriller is an amazing genre that will never get old for me. There’s such a thrill at seeing a character obsess over something that they know will destroy them. That kind of plot to me is hilarious and relatable. I was able to use many of the classic tropes and set pieces that you’d see in erotic thrillers (and film noirs) of yesteryear (the femme fatale, the long walk and stalk scene through the city, the wet neon of the city night, etc.) but of course added the laptop to the mix.Prostitution and gambler are perhaps the oldest vices and they aren’t that different on the Internet. They are just more readily available which can be quite a problem for an addict.
Q. As PVT Chat heads up for it’s release date- the film is getting rave reviews. Do you pay attention to them? Do you think about evaluating your work based on them?
Ben Hozie: I always enjoy reading my reviews even if they are really nasty; they are often more revealing of the writer than of anything that may exist in my own work. I would only be influenced by somebody’s opinion on my film if it spoke to somebody that I already secretly felt inside (and that does happen). A good critic can also help me realize something about my work that I didn’t quite understand before. It is their job to articulate their unique experience of the film to a wide audience. That’s why good criticism is vital for the future of cinema; critics help inspire the work of the future and vice versa.
Q. You are young upcoming director. What kind of films would you wanna direct this time forward?
Ben Hozie: I’m really interested in stories about relationships. I’m currently writing a romance now with a very different tone than PVT CHAT. I like films with misfit characters who are searching for more.
Q. Any future projects, which you’d like to share with The Movie Culture?
Ben Hozie: Nothing is set in stone in my movie life but my rock band BODEGA will have a new album out this summer. As well as filmmaking I am also a songwriter/musician.
Q. We have Bollywood, as The Movie Culture is based in India. Are you you big on International Cinema? Have you watched anything Bollywood or International in last year’s lockdown?
Ben Hozie: I love all kinds of cinema. I actually just watched Baahubali with PVT CHAT’s producer Oliver David a few weeks ago. I love how playful Bollywood movies tend to be in their storytelling form.
Q. What kind of advice would you give to Young Aspiring Talents such as yourself?
Ben Hozie: Just make as much work as possible: Quantity over quality will lead to a healthier and happier artistic lifestyle. Don’t put all of your eggs into one project. Also, work on other people’s projects.
Q. Would you like to tell us When and Where can we find PVT Chat to enjoy the film?
Ben Hozie: The film will available on VOD and streaming starting February 9.
With this we would like to wrap up with the interview questions. The Movie Culture would indeed like to thank you for agreeing to this wonderful interview.
Ben Hozie: Thanks for your support.
The Movie Culture Synopsis
It was great to see that Ben Hozie similar to cast majority of audience loved Bahubali. Amongst other Things it’s interesting to see that this was actually when Julia Fox first appeared in front of camera before her breakout role in Uncut Gem.
It certainly looks like Hozie is basing his directing around a set of characters and his very fascinated to see how they react to each other. It’ll be interesting to see what he works on next. PVT Chat will be available through Digital platforms on February 9th. Pre-Sale/Ticket & Soundtrack.