Ben Cleary discusses Swan Song

Director Benjamin Cleary discusses Swan Song

November 21, 2021 A DGA Membership Screening Q&A in Los Angeles

A dying man grapples with altering the fate of the family he is destined to leave behind in Director Benjamin Cleary’s sci-fi drama, Swan Song.

Cleary’s film takes us into the near future when Cameron Turner, loving husband and father, is diagnosed with a terminal illness but presented with experimental solution that may shield his wife and son from grief. As Cameron considers the options of changing his family’s destiny, he learns more about life and love than he ever imagined.

On November 21, after the DGA membership screening in Los Angeles, Cleary discussed the making of Swan Song during a Q&A moderated by Director Kari Skogland (Fifty Dead Men Walking).

During the conversation, Cleary spoke about how he strove to make this film set in the future, believable to today’s audiences.

“That was a big part of the design. This movie is technically sci-fi but it's a human story. It was important to me that we create a world that feels relatable today. My team got sick of hearing me say, ‘too sci-fi, too sci-fi,’ because I wanted to try and create a world that, although we have to set it slightly in the future and buy into the fact that this type of technology could exist, I really want people to be able to watch this and kind of forget about ‘I don't believe in it’ enough to just go along with the ride and fall into the human story at the heart of this. So every aesthetic decision was pushed along by the idea that, 'Okay we know getting a cab is like nowadays with Lyft or Uber but what if it’s self-driving? We know what being on our phones is like, but what if it’s augmented reality?' Every single decision was trying to get out of the way of the science and service the human story.”

Swan Song is Cleary’s feature directorial debut. His other directing credits include short films, Wave, Stutterer and the upcoming short, Glimpse.

Q&A photos by Byron Gamarro — Print Courtesy of AppleTV+
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