• George Harvey

Padlock Film: Interview with Ben Hyland

Stay Brave UK recently had the opportunity to attend a private screening of Ben Hyland's latest project Padlock. The film is a contemporary story that explores the experiences of male domestic violence victims. After the screening, we had the chance to interview Ben Hyland to find out a little more about the film and the motivations behind the project as a whole.

There are far less taboo topics to discuss than domestic abuse. Why did you decide upon this as your next project?

I suppose as a filmmaker I'm intrigued by subjects that aren't broached frequently. It's interesting for me to research and create something that feels hidden away and not discussed -not just in film, but across society. That was a big appeal to me. Initially it was something I knew absolutely nothing about. Those of the kind of things that excite me. The more I learnt the more I knew how important it was that the subject matter was given a platform. This film is just to start a conversation that more people should be engaging in.

What was the atmosphere like on set? Was it hard for the cast and crew to adjust after the cameras stopped rolling?

I think all the actors had an understanding of the subject matter. It would be a lie to say that it was a pleasant shoot. It was hard and I think it probably took its toll on the cast. I certainly felt completely drained after each day. It's important that you feel that. I think it those feelings weren't present we would have been doing it wrong.

Have you encountered any stigma/backlash around the idea of a male victim during the making of this film?

I'd say there were minor social media interactions that could have turned unpleasant. I knew it would be a divisive subject and as I result I had carefully thought out replies and justifications. I soon worked out the people that were looking to understand, as opposed to those that were looking for an argument and disengaged with the latter. The thing is, it shouldn't be controversial. Just because A is greater than B it doesn't mean that B is less important and something that should be ignored.

In what ways did this differ from stories you’ve told before?

I approached it in the same way. It really just meant more research because I didn't know anything about it. I suppose more than anything it forced me to engage with charities and survivors of abuse. It was a rare privilege for me to have conversations with people that have had horrific experiences. This all helped to share the film. I suppose since this is based on real tangible experiences it put a little bit of pressure to ensure the film was accurate. I think that's healthy for me as a filmmaker and also as a human being. Being true to the subject matter was the focus from start to finish.

Finally, where/when can people watch it?!

At the moment the film is on the film festival circuit. It needs to remain offline to qualify for festivals so it maybe another 6-12 months before it's released for public consumption. You can find updates of where the film will be screening and what happens through our twitter @PadlockFilm.

Ben S Hyland is a filmmaker based in London. He focuses on telling unique and interesting stories that start conversations about social change and help give a voice to marginalised groups within society. Ben has made ten short films and one feature film and has seen his work played at festivals all over the world, winning multiple awards along the way. You can find more about his films here.

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