Ryerson students rev up support for ‘The Benz’

The Benz Kickstarter campaign

Sean Rey, Kim Korsunsky and Reece Presley star in The Benz a debut film from Ryerson students. (Courtesy Kailey Schwerman)

A 45-minute film written and directed by Ryerson students is almost complete, but one thing is getting in their way —money.

All of the work the team has done for their debut film so far has been financed from their not-so-deep student pockets, said Zach Silverstein, Ryerson film studies student and co-director of The Benz.

“There are so many difficulties associated with having no money,” said Silverstein with a laugh.

“Money has a way of quickly solving issues.”

The Benz is now in post-production and Silverstein and his team of 80 students (40 of them from Ryerson) have turned to Kickstarter as a way to fund and solve their post-production woes.

Their campaign went live on Oct. 5 and aims to raise $15,000 to cover costs like visual effects, colour correction and festival submissions. It currently has over 70 supporters and has raised over $10,000. 

The Benz Kickstarter campaign

The film team saved on spending costs by borrowing the vintage Benz. (Courtesy Kailey Schwerman)

Inspired by Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, the film follows three brothers coping with their father’s death. They steal his vintage Mercedes-Benz to keep it from being reclaimed and go on a life-changing adventure across northern Ontario.

For pre-production and filming, Silverstein said they had to get creative on ways they could save money.

The vintage Mercedes-Benz that drives the story was lent to them. The actors and crew weren’t paid, the filming locations were free and the filmmakers asked equipment providers for discounts.

Silverstein said he’s grateful to have a team that was able to run on passion rather than money.

Screenwriter Sam Godfrey, a RTA School of Media student, said he felt these positive vibes during the times he visited set.

“I visited a couple of times and everyone’s just really good at what they do and really enthusiastic,” he said.

Silverstein said he hopes The Benz will be finished some time between December and February.

Their goal is to distribute the movie to online streaming services such as Netflix and enter it into festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival.

The Kickstart campaign ends on Nov. 9.

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