Opening October 14th, Priceless centers on James Stevens (Joel Smallbone), a widower who will do anything to support his daughter, and he agrees to drive a truck cross-country for a healthy amount of cash. When he discovers the “cargo” are two Mexican sisters (Bianca Santos, Amber Midthunder) who are desperate to pay off a family debt, James risks life and limb to protect them a criminal (James Parrack) who hired him. During today’s press conference, I asked director Ben Smallbone about his own path as a director.
Since production wrapped over a year ago, Ben and his brother Joel have been editing their feature, and the pair put the finishing touches on the film just over a week ago. Since he tackles heavy subject matters (faith, human trafficking, self-sacrifice) in his film, the filmmaker is looking for more than just an entertaining film to make (even though he’s always dreamt of doing a horror film).
“I want to find a balance of doing movies with meaning, that have something in them that are important,” said Smallbone.
Part of Smallbone’s goal as a filmmaker is to create art “that skips the mind and goes straight through to the heart.” That being said, all those good and ambitious creative intentions must be built on a solid foundation, and the director’s own experience working in documentaries helped put him on his current career path.
Smallbone cites the month he spent shooting a documentary in Papua, New Guinea as a turning point in his filmmaking journey. “That month, living in the jungle, with a camera and a few other assistants was kind of a turning point for me where I realized, ‘hey I need to do this. This is my life.’
Click on the media bar to hear Smallbone talk about his experience in Papua, New Guinea:
***Ramping up to the film’s release, I’ll have several other piece on Priceless featured on this site and my other two sites (Hollywood Outbreak, Deepest Dream). I also did a TV interview w/ Koechner and Joel Smallbone, and I’ll be posting those clips as well as my review of the film in the coming week!!