Ben Ratner appearing in four films at this year's VIFF
Noted Canadian actor Ben Ratner is making a big impression at this year's Vancouver International Film Festival, appearing in four feature films screening at the fest. The films include: ‘Amazon Falls’, ‘Fathers and Sons’, ‘Guido Superstar-The Rise of Guido’, and ‘Repeaters’. ‘Fathers and Sons’ will be opening the Canadian Images section of VIFF. On top of this, two of the films, ‘Amazon Falls’ and ‘Repeaters’ recently screened at TIFF this month. Since starring in Bruce Sweeny’s ‘Dirty’, which screened at the TIFF, Berlin, and Sundance Festivals over a decade ago, Ben has carved out a prolific track record in Canadian independent film. That record continues this year, with the release of the above mentioned titles screening at VIFF and TIFF.
In Katrin Bowen’s ‘Amazon Falls’, Ratner plays Derek, a dynamic and somewhat manipulative film director who falsely raises the hopes of Jana (April Telek), a fading B movie actress. Playing a director was a role Ratner could pull from his own experience. Having directed for both film and TV himself, Ratner has been recognized by the industry for his directorial talents, and his debut feature, ‘Moving Malcolm’, won a Best First Feature Jury Special Citation at the 2003 Montreal World Film Festival. Ben was subsequently recruited to direct an episode of the hit CTV series ‘Robson Arms’. Ratner’s understanding of what it’s like to be on both sides of the camera helped him to shape the character of Derek- a part in which he improvised almost all of his dialogue in order to create a simultaneously likable and inscrutably dangerous character.
Another of Ben’s upcoming VIFF projects is the dark psychological thriller ‘Repeaters’. This film marks the fifth feature Ben has worked on with one of Canada’s most driven directors, Carl Bessai. He also stars in the anticipated Carl Bessai feature ‘Fathers & Sons’. ‘Repeaters’ follows a group of young offenders at a rehab center experiencing a bizarre psychic phenomenon. Ratner plays Bob Simpson, a droll, somewhat self-important counselor, who is eventually humiliated by the young adults he so smugly reigns over. The film stars fast-rising young stars Amanda Crew (Charlie St. Cloud, Sex Drive) and Dustin Milligan (Gunless, 90210).
Ben’s other upcoming project with Bessai, ‘Fathers & Sons’, has him starring as Bernie, and Jay Brazeau portrays his father with the two meeting for the first time at the funeral of Bernie’s mother. It is a classic Ratner leading performance; a vulnerable yet tenacious everyman; equally comedic as heartbreakingly human. It is also the third time Brazeau has played Ratner’s father on screen; first in Bruce Sweeny’s ‘Last Wedding’ which was the opening selection at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival and then in 2003 in ‘Moving Malcolm’.
Lastly, Ben also appears in the action comedy ‘Guido Superstar-The Rise of Guido’, alongside an incredible ensemble cast. The film follows the title character, Guido, played by Silvio Pollio, as an Italian immigrant who ventures to Vancouver to start a new life abroad. When a heroic act leads to Guido losing his job at the ‘Disco Valet’, a disco themed valet company where customers get greeted with a mean dance move and a great parking job, his life begins to unravel with unexpected twists and great laughs, in the spirit of ‘Get Shorty and ‘Inspector Clousseau’.
The busy actor has a number of other exciting projects coming up. He recently wrapped a role in the feature film ‘The Boxer and The Kid’ helmed by veteran Canadian director Anne Wheeler, and an episode of USA Network’s legal drama ‘Facing Kate’.
As a writer, having co-created and developed three television series for Canadian networks, Ratner is currently developing a new half-hour comedy with Toronto writer Bobby Theodore (Flashpoint, Crash and Burn). He is also writing a new feature film entitled ‘Eve’s New Year’ which he will eventually direct.
For VIFF screening schedules, visit: www.viff.org/tixSYS/2010/filmguide/Title/detail