Ben Smallbone Recounts ‘Priceless’ Papua, New Guinea Journey

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.

priceless

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.

Joel Smallbone in "Priceless" (Roadside Attractions)
Joel Smallbone in “Priceless” (Roadside Attractions)

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!!

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