Metal sculptor James Kitchen discusses making universal connections with his sculptures that are constructed from old metal pieces found throughout local communities in Western Massachusetts.
Ben Tobin Bio and Work
Filmmaker Ben Tobin grew up in the Hilltown community of Williamsburg, MA. Ben displayed an early interest in cinema after watching The Lion King with his grandfather, and could often be seen dressed as some movie character or another as a child. Tobin was inspired to start making films of his own after seeing Peter Jackson's The Lord of The Rings in 2001. In the years following that watershed screening, this fledgling filmmaker studied at Oberlin College in Ohio where he learned to appreciate the films of such icons as Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Akira Kurosawa, Guillermo del Toro, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, and J.J. Abrams among others. While at Oberlin, Tobin began the study of documentary filmmaking due to the difficulty of finding actors and, in 2011, completed his first documentary about village bread baker Anna Fessenden of Ashfield. The film won Oberlin's Phyllis Jones Memorial Award as well as a slot in the graduation screening of selected senior films. A five minute cut of the film won the Technical Achievement Award at the Ashfield Film Festival. Tobin has continued to make documentaries about local artists and community members including metal sculptor James Kitchen. There are currently six films in this series, titled Hilltown Heroes, with a seventh set to be filmed this summer as well as a fiction film titled The Journey of Alden Wakefield. In addition to documentary work, Tobin has also completed several short fiction films and looks forward to continuing both forms of filmmaking as his style grows and evolves.