Ben Umstead
U.S. Editor; Los Angeles, California

Ben joined Team Twitch in the summer of 2009 when he moved to NYC. There he established an east coast conglomerate of writers for the site. He currently resides in Los Angeles where he works as a producer and script consultant.

Watch The Exclusive Trailer For Sci-fi Feature EMBERS

Finding deeply thoughtful and rich Sci-fi for the big and small screen always seems like an up hill battle. Even with more adult fare like Ex Machina finding audiences, this kind of work is once in a blue moon.Enter: Embers,... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: DRIFTWOOD, On The Strange Life Of Objects

Against the onslaught of the crashing surf we arise into a world of soft, foaming white. From a distance, we can make out an approaching figure. Soon we see it's a she, a young woman, soaked to the bone, shivering... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: CHRISTINE, A Report On The Art Of Self-Destruction

Performance>Perfection>Breakdown.

No. That's not right. Run the film again. What do we see: A woman in her late twenties, dark hair, big eyes, tall; walking down the halls of a TV station. Take the splicer to the footage. Chop it in... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: OPERATION AVALANCHE, For The Love Of Cinema

There is a lure to the film camera that is almost primal. It draws you in, ever closer, a potent combo of machine and magic. Pressed against your ear, your cheek, the click-whir miracle of celluloid is god calling you... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: MAD Finds The Humor In Sadness

Robert G. Putka has built up a smart and sharp filmography of shorts over the last half decade, emphasizing rich, rude and raw performances, deriving his drama and comedy with character first. MAD, his feature debut, is as charming as... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Preview: TwitchFilm's Top Picks

Tomorrow, the Slamdance Film Festival returns to the Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, Utah for its 22nd edition. Chock full of indie gumption and DIY brass from across the globe, the "For filmmakers by filmmakers" festival features a film... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Preview: Meet The Filmmakers, Part 2

On Monday, we introduced you to a slew of first-time feature filmmakers from the 22nd Slamdance Film Festival, taking place in Park City, Utah at the Treasure Mountain Inn, January 22nd-28th,We continue today with a fresh batch of filmmaker Q&As... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Preview: Meet The Filmmakers, Part 1

The reason I consider the Slamdance Film Festival a high priority on the fest circuit can be summed up in one word: Discovery.While most press mention fest alumni like Christopher Nolan, The Russo Brothers and Lena Dunham, I'd like to... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Review: YOSEMITE, Childhood Is Always Now

What is it about childhood that makes us adults so wary of who we once were? Perhaps it is that great fear of the unknown; a shadow, a whisper of adulthood, that as children scares us into submission of these... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

TwitchFilm's Top 10 Movies Of 2015

Here at TwitchFilm, we are pleased to feature contributions from dozens of people located all over the world, writing about the movies that intrigue, confound, anger, and delight them. While that makes us a distinctive site, it also makes it... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME Trailer: Richard Linklater Takes You To College

Everybody Wants Some, from Richard Linklater, is the 'spiritual sequel' to his 1993 cult classic Dazed And Confused. Where the earlier film was about high schoolers in the mid 1970s on the last day of class, this new one takes... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Team TwitchFilm On: STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

(Yay, we've gathered the troops, yet managed to avoid spoilers!) A week ago Star Wars: The Force Awakens landed with a planetary surface-shattering impact, and it was an event too big to ignore for us here at TwitchFilm. Hell, most... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Review: STINKING HEAVEN, Everything Rotten Is Good

We all live by rules. Whether they are personal choices to undertake or those put upon us by work or family, we live by them. But sometimes those rules can destroy us.Nathan Silver's fifth feature, Stinking Heaven, takes place in... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2016 Unveil Spotlight, Premieres And More

And there ya have it, friends and neighbors. The 2016 Sundance Film Festival has released the rest of their feature film lineup today with the programs for Spotlight, Premieres, Documentary Premieres, Sundance Kids and Special Events. Barring any surprises, we... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Get Your Slurp On With Short Film THE RAMENS

In a world of many tastes and lifestyles, there are few things that bring us together like a good ol' cup of noodles. From an undergrad basking in the halls of no sleep, to that underemployed 30 something with six... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Announces Feature Doc And Narrative Competition Lineup

It's the same everywhere, with everything: The end of one calendar year brings about news of next year's events, goings on, happenings... film festivals. Oh. Hey now... Today, the full feature documentary and narrative competition lineup for the 22nd Annual... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Crowdfund This! SYLVIO, A Guerrilla Gorilla Feature (With Hand Puppets!)

When the six-second looping video app Vine came on the digital scene a few years ago, most of us went bananas for the thing. At least for a minute or two. While I never gained any creative ground with it... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Trailer: Jeff Nichols Delivers A Superpowered MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

Actor Michael Shannon and director Jeff Nichols are like peanut butter and jelly. They just go well together. Shannon has been Nichols' good luck charm since his debut with Shotgun Stories, taking the lead in the exceptional Take Shelter and... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Review: ENTERTAINMENT Embraces An Absurdity And Melancholy That Is Extraordinary To Behold

Many would say there are two distinct poles to cinema-going. There are those times when you want something warm and familiar. It's comfort food you can share with your family. Not too sweet or sour, not too heavy. And then... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Pullman's HIS DARK MATERIALS Heads To BBC One

In yet another move proving that home screens are where it's at for ambitious projects these days, The BBC announced today that New Line Cinema and Doctor Who production company Bad Wolf will begin developing with Scholastic and author Philip... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  
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