GW student breaks into film industry with short comedy

It must run in the family. His brother is in the graduate film program at the University of Southern California. His cousin is award-winning director Barry Levinson. Now Ben Rubin is proving some talented family blood circulates through his veins, too.

Rubin has produced, directed and starred in his first film project, a 30-minute comedy, Floyd and Roth. The film follows two GW students in their quest to get money to produce a film. They turn to the president of GW for the cash and he agrees on one condition – that he is in the film.

GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg plays himself in the film, along side a cast of GW students. Senior Kristian House stars opposite Rubin.

After Rubin had finished production of the film, he turned to Autumn Films for help editing the work. Autumn Films is a D.C.-based production company that works with independent filmmakers to help them get started.

A mutual friend of Rubin’s and the partners of Autumn Films, David Silverstein and Chris Spanos, put Rubin in contact with the company. After a few phone calls, they set up a meeting during which Rubin pitched his film.

“We liked the project immediately and thought we could make it happen,” Spanos said. “We took Ben’s raw footage and his great idea and did some editing to help bring along his vision.”

As a first-time filmmaker, furthermore as a student filmmaker, Rubin impressed Spanos.

“It was really all together. Usually, there are big chunks of things missing. Those weren’t the issues with Ben’s production,” Spanos said. “He’s such a good story teller, and knows how to mix in music with the visual. It is really a top-notch job.”

The music in the film includes music from all genres, ranging from jazz to swing to hip-hop. Floyd and Roth features original music from 3LG, Divers, The Mark Lippman Sextet and Zoom.

“Ben has this amazing ability to rope all of these people in. He actually persuaded these bands to write music based on his story. The music in the film is unbelievable,” Spanos said.

The movie will be shown in conjunction with the concert of 3LG, a local hip-hop band. Spanos foresees a crowd of 300 because 3LG has a strong local following. Autumn Films will be filming the concert for 3LG to use in music videos and in their promotional video for their upcoming European tour.

“We’re really trying to make a great event out of the night,” Spanos said. A large crowd would be great publicity for the Autumn Films and Floyd and Roth.

Autumn Films and Rubin have a quid pro quo relationship. Autumn Films edited and publicized Floyd and Roth. In return, Ben used his family connections to help Autumn Films. The company is talking to Rubin’s older brother about directing the movie, Why Spain?.

“As much as helped Ben, he can help us in the future,” Spanos said.

After graduation, Rubin will intern in Los Angeles at Baltimore Pictures for the summer.

Although benefits exist to having family in the film industry, Spanos notes that it takes more than family connections to become successful – it takes talent. According to Spanos, Rubin is lucky – he has both.

“If Ben came to me and said, `Here I have a story for a full-length and I want you to help me produce it,’ I would consider it, no doubt. He has a vision and he really pushes for his vision.,” Spanos said.

A sneak preview of Floyd and Roth will be held April 30 at The Rock, 717 6th St. N.W. Doors open at 7 p.m. Floyd and Roth also will be shown May 16 at Metro Cafe, 14th and P streets N.W., at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. 3LG will perform following the 10:30 p.m. showing.

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