Live From Mr. Willis's Home Editing Studio
Ben Willis, Marvelwood's photography and film studies teacher, is an award-winning filmmaker. While in New Mexico at College of Santa Fe where he earned a BA in Moving Image Arts, Ben began his career in filmmaking documenting the disappearing folk art of the American Southwest. His subsequent work in Documentary film involved work on a variety of award-winning projects, earning official selections at SXSW, AFI FEST, SILVERDOCS, hotDOCS, and winners at numerous other film festivals. In 2012 Ben made the move into producing when he produced the reality TV special The American Scream (2012) for NBC Universal, which won Best Documentary Award at Fantastic Fest, an Entertainment Weekly Must Watch, and a 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Ben’s work in education began with his work with filmmaker Harvey Hubble and his film Dyslexia: The Movie; which explored how all students have unique learning styles. From there Ben worked on projects exploring education reform efforts in New Haven, CT which lead him to The Civic Life Project. For 5 years Ben helped manage and run the non-profit Civic Life Project, an organization dedicated to helping young people use documentary film to work to affect change on civics issues in their communities. His students have won or been official selections at multiple film festivals, including the All American High School Film Festival, and The Women and Girls Film Festival in NYC. In 2015 Ben’s work with the Civic Life Project was nationally recognized by the National Association of Secretaries of State for “innovative work in education using video storytelling”.
Always interested in using film to increase civic engagement, Ben continues this work producing short videos on civil rights for the National Park Service, as well as still photography and videos for The Women and Girls Fund, and a series of short documentaries on local Connecticut artists. Ben brings his unique blend of skills to Marvelwood where he delivers original hands-on experiential learning opportunities for his students.