Leo senior produces feature-length film

Ben Richards (center) is photographed with actors Rudy Jimenez and Timothy Leon at the debut of Richards’ film, “The Forge Reclamation” Jan. 27 at the Cinema Center. CONTRIBUTED

Leo Junior/Senior High School student Ben Richards, 18, already has quite the resume for a high school senior.

He directed, wrote, produced and edited a feature-length film. “The Forge Reclamation” debuted Jan. 27 at the Cinema Center. Here, he talks about the film’s production and what’s next for him.

How did you develop an interest in filmmaking?

I can’t really explain how I developed an interest, I just enjoy the entire process of it and found out that I wanted to do it my freshman year.

What do you enjoy most about your work and what do you find most challenging?

I enjoyed seeing the final product come to fruition in the end. The toughest part about the whole thing was casting- that alone took around five months and it was by far the most difficult. Trying to lure people away from their jobs, family, and social life for three months is not easy!

Tell us about your film, “The Forge Reclamation.”

It is a feature-length film about a retired drug dealer that has all of his money stolen. At this point, he had separated himself from the business and had a family of his own. With this new problem, he had a lot to juggle and deal with.


What did the film’s production look like behind the scenes?

Principal photography took place from May-October 2018 with the bulk of it happening in July and August. I shot this film all around Allen County – Lake James, MicroTech Welding, Leo High School, just to name a few notable places. I cast talent mainly through social media and “putting the word out” in the many Indiana Filmmaking networks. The props were almost all ordered online, mostly Amazon. There is a business in South Bend that provided the prop weapons, trademygun.com.

Where can people watch your movie?

“The Forge Reclamation” is currently not available for viewing until we release it online. More updates about that can be found on our Facebook page.

What’s next for you?

I plan to go to Indiana University this fall to study media. I currently do not have plans to work on projects in the immediate future but that can change on a whim. I also think that I will have plenty of other projects as coursework at IU.

Is there anything else you want people to know about you or your movie?

It was a great experience and I had a blast working with everyone involved on it.