Through the eyes of Benyamin

As Parisians spill out of the metro at Bercy station and make their way to one of many boisterous terraces of the 12th arrondissement of the city, true cinema-lovers have another idea of how to spend their Thursday evening. Rather than making sense of their reality through lively conversations with friends, they prefer to dive into another reality, discovering the lengths of the human imagination. Typically you would expect to see Benyamin, avid moviegoer, amateur philosopher and PLACE Catalyst, lined up with everyone else, patiently waiting to seep into the coolness of the Cinématheque Française, a temple filled with the lesser-known jewels of world cinema. But not tonight. Tonight he is here on a mission.

The is no denying the investment that cinema-lovers make in the films that move them. Their relationship with films and those who direct them don’t start and end with the opening and closing credits. Countless hours are spent debating, analyzing and interpreting these works of art. Everyone has an opinion. This passion and energy inspired Benyamin to explore how the engagement of movie-goers can be harnessed earlier on in the movie-making process. Benyamin began to ask the question “How can moviegoers support new directors to emerge and new content to come alive on screen?”  

This question has guided Benyamin while creating his project Techné: a crowdfunding platform for independent filmmakers. Using the design-inspired approach to project development that he learned through PLACE, Benyamin was able to develop Crowdfilming from a far-off idea to an incubation-ready project in a mere four months.  

Standing in front of the Cinématheque Française, accompanied by the mentor and former PLACE Catalyst, Mehdi, Benyamin is ready to test the waters. His mission is to discover what would motivate cinema-lovers to pay for a film that is yet to be created. As he approaches his first future-potential user he is nervous. He doesn’t want to bother them. The conversation staggers at first, but soon they are hooked by the idea of Techné. Other movie-goers soon join in and the conversation flows between in French, English, Persian and Portuguese. Benyamin struggles between his nature to engaging in such a riveting conversation versus the immediate need to capture notes. 

Time flies by and the movie is about to begin. People begin to slip away to ensure they get the best seat. Buzzing with ideas, Benyamin decides against joining them. He foregoes the metro, opting for a long walk along the Seine as he processes the ideas that were so graciously given and plans his next move. This experience at the Cinématheque Française is just the beginning of a long journey that will continue throughout the rest of 2019 and beyond. A journey filled with challenging ideas, finding solutions, learning and growing with the support of PLACE.