Multiple award-winning actor/writer/director and producer Ben Ratner is gearing up to debut his latest film Ganjy, which had him working both in front of, and behind, the camera. The dramatic short film will make its world premiere at the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival.
Ganjy tells the story of a retired boxer, portrayed by Ratner, who is suffering from dementia pugilistica. The film follows what unfolds when his friends try to come to his aide – before it’s too late.
At advance screenings, industry experts have been knocked out. Award-winning writer/director of Facing Ali and I Am Bruce Lee, Pete McCormack says this about the film: “In Ganjy, Ben Ratner’s exquisite performance as the eponymous lead character tenderly but powerfully reminds us of the undeniable side-effects of the boxing trade.”
Bestselling author (“The Power of the Actor”) and acting coach Ivana Chubbuck worked with Sylvester Stallone for his Golden Globe winning, Academy Award nominated performance in Creed, and worked closely with Ratner as he prepared to play “Ganjy.” Says Chubbuck, “In his touching, yet unsentimental self-directed short film, Ganjy, Ben Ratner gives a performance, and directs a piece that is a testament to the human spirit. No matter how much battering, both emotionally and physically a human being can withstand — there is a survivor in all of us. Ganjy is this, and more.”
Ratner handpicked a group of Vancouver’s busiest actors – Aleks Paunovic, Zak Santiago and Donny Lucas – to play Ganjy’s former boxer friends. Ratner wrote the parts specifically for these film and TV veterans, all of whom were competitive amateur boxers in their younger days.
Ratner felt a very real connection to the film’s lead. “In some ways, I am Ganjy. I’ve been at this a long time, and I know what it feels like to take some hits from showbiz. But I’ve still got a whole lot of fight left and a whole bunch of stories in me, and with cast mates like Aleks, Zak, and Donny in my corner, along with my producing partners Tony Pantages and Helena Marie, I’m confident we can take this film out into the world and make an impact,” said Ratner.
One of the film’s producers, Tony Pantages, says this movie couldn’t come at a more pertinent time. “The topical subject matter of dementia, particularly in sports-related head injuries, and the recent passing of Muhammad Ali makes Ganjy hugely relevant, and in our opinion, very important at this time. Of course, when we shot the film we didn’t know Ali would pass away only months later as we were in our final post, but we were honored to be able to pay tribute to him with the film.”
Plans are being made to develop Ganjy into a feature film. In the meantime, a crowdfunding campaign is being launched to assist with the costs associated with the making of this short film, and get it the opportunity to be seen by a wide audience on the festival circuit.
The film was produced by Tony Pantages (of Glass Factory Pictures) and Ben Ratner (of Haven Films). Both are available for interviews upon request.
For interviews, photos and more information please contact:
Lesley Diana | Lesley@thepromotionpeople.ca | 604-726- 5575
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BEN RATNER – BIO
With over 100 film and TV credits, multiple award-winning actor/writer/director and producer Ben Ratner has starred in numerous feature films that have played at top international film festivals, including Sundance, Berlin and Toronto, and has had series regular, recurring and guest starring roles on TV shows in both the US and Canada. He will next be seen in a supporting lead role with Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay (Room) in Wonder, a feature film from Lionsgate, slated for release in April 2017.
As a writer-director, Ratner has helmed two award-winning, theatrically released feature films: Down River (9 wins and 12 nominations, including Best World Showcase Feature at the 2014 Soho International Film Festival, NYC) and Moving Malcolm (4 wins and 1 nomination, including Best Feature Film at the 2003 Washington D.C. Independent Film Festival). He also wrote and directed the short film Power Lunch (2006 Vancouver International Film Festival) and in 2005, directed an episode of the popular TV series Robson Arms for CTV.