Filmmaking with Ben Lord and Steve Keeble
Tell me a bit about yourself.
Filmmaking with Ben Lord and Steve Keeble – After 82, (Ben Lord) I come from a family of entertainers, creative and artists. My aunt Rosemary Master, has a seat of BAFTA L.A so it was most likely that I’d join with the family business! I have been in EastEnders and Holby City for the BBC among other jobs.
I have coordinated the absolute greatest names on screen including Stephen Fry and Dominic West mine and Steve’s Guides documentary film, ‘After 82’ (82 Film Creation), which was filmed in 2012 at Southwark Playhouse London and incorporated a meeting with the interpreter Christopher Hampton the Oscar, BAFTA and Tony Award winner.
(Steve Keeble) I also acted in EastEnders and Holby City for the BBC however at that point moved into directing, working with Ben on After 82 which we coordinated and created together. It was a strong piece which made a big difference to us, and brought back a ton of memories from the AIDS pandemic of the mid 1980s.
It was a major accomplishment for us in the UK and off the back of that, we gave talks to crowds all around the country.
When did you first realise you wanted to make films?
(Steve) Neither of us can remember a time when we didn’t want to make films.
(Ben) I have always been a story teller and at University I realised I wanted film to be where I tell them.
What is your favourite thing about films?
(Ben) The best thing about filmmaking is meeting the people we will talk with. People who are influencing the world. We are fortunate come into their lives and get to become part of their experiences, regardless of whether it’s only for a brief time. It is a genuine honor. It isn’t unlike acting and we like to call it ‘strategy film making’. We focus on the individuals we are meeting. We believe their accounts should radiate through for them.
(Steve) Ben came up with the idea of After 82 but we both wanted to tell the stories of the people who lived through the AIDS pandemic. Documentaries are very powerful because they give a voice to people who wouldn’t usually be heard.
What classes or research did you take to support you in your filmmaking career?
(Steve) We were mature students at University, gaining BA (Hons) in Film Studies and Video Production respectively, which gave us the academic skills. But a lot of it is about transferring skills from other experiences.
You have to love what you’re doing. If the hunger isn’t there then it’s not worth doing.
What was your first film industry job?
(Ben) We were actors in various shows and Steve was a regular in Holby City. I did a walk on EastEnders and had a speaking role in FWTV for ITV. I wasn’t confident with acting but I’m proud of what we achieved. There was a yearning for something more, and that is documentary filmmaking.
What was your most recent film industry job?
(Ben) We are in pre-production of the documentary 77 – Curfew (working title)
Tell me a favourite experience in your career. Something that stands out in your memories and makes you want to find more experiences like it.
(Steve) Iinterviewing Lord Norman Fowler, Peter Tatchell and Jonathan Blake, and everyone else from After 82. It was an honor to meet such fantastic people.
(Ben) We were going to interview former Detective Andrew Laptew who hunted the Yorkshire Ripper for 77 Curfew but he died recently. It was a blessing to meet him.
(Steve) Working with Dominic West and Stephen Fry was a life affirming experience. They narrated the trailer and film and their belief in After 82 gave everyone a boost.
What was your toughest experience in your filmmaking career?
(Ben) Juggling work and raising finances for your projects. Carrying the responsibility of such a heavy subject matter such as HIV/AIDS is exhausting because you want the people you are interviewing and their stories of a generation that are no longer here to be remembered.
What is the title of your current project?
(Steve) After 82 is the response from the LGBT community to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the UK after Terence Higgins death on 4th July, 1982.
What inspired you to make this film?
(Steve) I was a young man during the early years of the AIDS working at the former London Lighthouse where men with AIDS would spend their final days. I witnessed things that will stay with me forever.
When we decided to make this documentary, I felt that while we can’t bring those young men back, we can make sure their memories aren’t forgotten. With our publicist Michelle Hatcher, we are raising funds to build a memorial and education centre at the former London Lighthouse.
What is the main conflict of your film?
(Ben) Getting a crew who are respectful to the subject matter. IA couple of people were uncomfortable once they knew the subject matter which made us sad. Then we hired some real diamonds, such as Neil, our Editor and Amy, the colorist and composer, David who gave real dedication to the subject matter.
How long did you spend in production?
(Ben) We spent 7 long years but despite the sleepless nights we believe in the film. When you interview people who have faced death and bigotry, and you have cried with them, you don’t give up on them. You fight to tell their stories.
How long did you spend in post – production?
(Steve) The post- production took over a year due to getting the rights to the archive footage supplied by Getty Archives. A huge thank you to the legend Marc Almond, who donated his iconic song “Say hello, wave goodbye” for the end credits of AFTER 82.
Did you work with a writer, or write the film yourself? Would you do the same again?
(Ben) No, but we had an adviser to assist us with the narration, done by the BAFTA award winning actor Dominic West.
How big was your crew? Would you choose the same size again?
(Steve) We had a small crew of 6 and would do it all again.
How did you find your locations?
(Ben) My father, Ted, allowed us to film some interviews in his flat. Guy Pope allowed us to film in his church. Some of the interviewees allowed us to film in their homes.
Tell me some career goals. What would you like to achieve?
(Steve) Continue making documentaries that make a difference, to share the real stories of real people, who would not normally be given a voice.
Tell me something you were surprised by, something you had never realised about being a filmmaker.
(Ben) Meeting people who inspire generations and inspire you as a filmmaker. It’s not about glamour, it’s about real people. Little did young me realize that people were fighting for the rights of those living with HIV/AIDS that we would be meeting these heroes.
What are words of advice you have for other aspiring filmmakers?
(Ben) Get out there and do it.