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A Quality of Imagination

Filmmaker Caleb Roberts worked with Astral Ambassador, Benny Marr, on a short film titled Quality of Imagination. The film offers a very different perspective on Benny’s style and outlook. Especially when compared to previous films Benny has starred in that feature laser shooting pandas and firework induced party scenes.
Interview with Filmmaker Caleb Roberts

Filmmaker Caleb Roberts worked with Astral Ambassador, Benny Marr, on a short film titled Quality of Imagination. The film offers a very different perspective on Benny’s style and outlook.  Especially when compared to previous films Benny has starred in that feature laser shooting pandas and firework induced party scenes. So we caught up with the artist behind the lens of the latest film, which took home the 2022 Short Film of the Year Award at the Paddling Film Festival.

ASTRAL: Hey Caleb, congratulations on a great film! What got you into videography?

CR: Great to hear that you guys are stoked on the film. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out and have gotten some good feedback from it. Learning to tell stories via film has been something I have enjoyed doing/learning for the past 10-ish years. I took a course when I was in my teens and have been learning ever since.   

ASTRAL: Who came up with the idea for this film? You or Benny?

CR: Last spring I approached Benny with the idea of doing a big water stakeout film. Really focusing on clean images, a different story and sound design. He had been wanting to put something together with this wave feature and so we were both stoked on doing the project. We weren’t super sure on the exact direction initially but after a couple sessions of pressing play on the recorder and talking, the story emerged.

Image of Benny Marr from short film surfing a wave in a yellow kayak. He's seen in the air, in the brief moment in between, where he is about to come back down and hit the water. Second image is of Marr's truck loaded with a kayak parked in a parking lot. His bike is resting against the truck and Marr is cooking food while holding an umbrella.

ASTRAL: In the film, Benny defines style as “a quality of imagination and individuality expressed in one’s actions and tastes.” Throughout the film, we see Benny’s interpretation of style expressed on the river. Can you describe how his style on the river influences his style off the river? And vice versa?

CR: I would say that he is very intentional with putting himself where he wants to be when he wants to be there. And when he’s there, he maximizes his time. It’s no secret that Ben is one of the most ‘stylish’ / best boaters out there. But something I came to realize a couple years ago was that being good at boating is very different then being good at going boating. Ben is very good at going boating. He utilizes his time very efficiently in and around the river, more than basically anybody I know and I think it pays off. 

Two overlapping images. The one on top is a close up of Benny Marr's profile from the short film, with his eyes closed. The photo behind is a river wave with other paddlers watching from shore.

ASTRAL: Style is also defined in the film as “what happens between the lines.” We see your interpretation, as a filmmaker, of ‘sensation’ and ‘subtle movements’ in the way the film is shot and edited. Is it crucial for a creative’s interpretations to match their subject’s? Or do differences in interpretation lead to more creativity?

CR: You hear with relationships that opposites attract and a fair amount of time, those are the most successful. I think it’s the same with a creative project. You need to have a good understanding of your subject and clear communication, but being able to brainstorm and think outside the norm can lead to a more unique, interesting story.

Collage of four photos from Benny Marr's short film showing 1) other paddlers eating snacks on the side banks of the river, 2) Benny Marr surfing a wave while other paddlers watch from shore, 3) Benny preparing food out of the back of his truck, and 4) Marr sleeping under a tarp in a sleeping bag with snow dusting the ground.

Thank you to both Caleb and Benny for their contribution to this project. To read more about Benny Marr and his style, check out his archetype page.

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