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VR film 'Inside Manus' screening at Cannes Next Film Festival

Imagine having the name you were given at birth replaced with a series of letters and numbers.

Imagine being imprisoned, indefinitely, in a foreign land after trying to escape persecution or death in your home land.

Imagine being unable to see your family for years - unable to feel their loving touch.

Often the realities of detention centres are raw and foreign concepts to most people. For Australians, and the people detained on Manus Island, the truth behind one of the most controversial offshore immigration processing centres in Australia, has effectively been hidden behind a media blackout. Inside Manus, harnesses the immersive power of VR to go beyond the razor wire fences and inside Australia’s offshore processing detention camp on Manus Island.

To tell their stories, Inside Manus envelopes the audience with room-scale, hand-drawn animations, and gripping audio recordings. As you enter the detention camp, three detainees share their experiences in their own words.

Premiering at Melbourne’s International Film Festival, the VR experience gained strong momentum across the international film festival circuit, featuring at New York’s The Future of Storytelling, Cannes 'Next', SXSW, Human Rights Film Festival and more, as well as winning several prizes.

Watch the trailer here or contact me to find out where you can get the room-scale version for HTC Vive or Oculus Rift

VR film takes out Best in Show at the 2018 BADC Awards

After winning two gold for Innovative Use of Digital, and Promos and Activations, BCM's Safe DriVR App was also awarded Best of Show at the 2018 BADC Awards, held on Saturday night in Brisbane. 

 Joint chairmen of judges, Julian Schreiber and Tom Martin of Special Group said, “While the technology involved is getting more and more common in advertising, the entire judging panel agreed this was the best use of VR that they had seen thus far.”

The campaign is BCM and Cutting Edge's response to a brief by The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) to address the fact that speed is killing more people on Queensland roads than ever before. Their five-minute film that takes the viewer on a POV journey through two parallel storylines that ultimately collide, and convey the repercussions that speeding can have.

It is with great honour that this project I was involved in has gone on to win such praise. I worked closely with the agency from script stage to shape the narrative into a format which would work in VR. When the agency put it out to tender, I worked with several well known directors to educate them about the evolving screen language and aimed to remove technical limitations from the equation. On set I was both VR and VFX Supervisor and I did the assembly edit to ensure the viewer would always be looking where we wanted them to look. I was privileged to work with such an amazing array of talents and share some of the knowledge I have acquired in the VR space, to collaboratively create a piece of cinematic VR which ultimately I hope will save lives. Read more about it here in the following links.

Indigenous VR Art Project

My wife Zuzana and I are looking for sponsors to kick off a series of Indigenous VR Art Projects, if anyone from Google or Qantas are reading this, or any other big hearted philanthopist, please get in touch!


New VR Therapy Venture

It has been pretty quiet over here at Apothecary Films. Since my last post I have moved countries twice and had 2 children, the time to get creative again is now! I have spent the last few years working on all manner of new technology projects and Virtual Reality is the one that has captured my imagination the most, and its power to heal is incredible, and builds on mine and my wife's work in the field of drama therapy. So if you are interested in helping, or you're a philanthropist with a desire to change the world with technology, please get in touch with myself or my wife, who will be leading the marketing and fund raising for various Virtual Reality Therapy projects.



Photographic Exhibition on main town square

Today is the opening of my first solo outdoor photographic exhibition, happening in Bratislava on Hviezdoslavovo namestie as part of World Homeless Day 2012. The exhibition has been organised by Vagus who I have spent the last few months with, photographing their work with homeless people for this exhibition. I have also been filming a lot of their work and will be producing a documentary to help raise awareness about, and support for, their really amazing work. You can view some of the photos here on my facebook page.

Here you can find an article about the exhibition (you may need google translate ;)

Haiku Excerpt - Playing at the London Olympic Games 2012 Festival

I am very honoured to announce that an excerpt from my film Haiku will be playing at the London 2012 Festival, an arts programme for the Olympic Games, to show that it is about more than just sport. The event will be held at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden on Monday 2nd July 2012. For more information, visit or

Haiku - Documentary Feature Film Teaser

Here is the teaser for my next film HAKIU. If you would like to make a small donation to help me finish the film and receive a thank you in the credits, just click that link over there on the right called Donate.


ERROR Festival 2010

ERROR 2010 - an international festival of homeless and disabled theatres - was held on December 3 and 4 in the premises of Štúdio 12 at the Theatre Institute in Jakubovo Square in Bratislava, Slovakia. The 4th year of this international festival of plays performed by homeless and disabled people consisted of eight theatre groups from Visegrad Group countries -- Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia -- and also a special guest from India. I produced this video to show the great work done by these individual groups and to highlight the importance of the work, that helps disadvantaged and socially excluded people rightfully gain acceptance and respect in the wider community.


Major Film Award for Australian film maker

Young filmmaker Benjamin Richards, received the AMI International Future Focus Award for the promise he has shown in film production, at a celebrity packed ceremony at The London Studios on London’s South Bank, on Sunday, November 21st, hosted by multi-award winning actress, Janie Dee.

The AMI’s (Ability Media International Awards), were launched two years ago to identify, celebrate and support, high-level creative work that encourages a more tolerant and inclusive world. They are an initiative from Leonard Cheshire, one of the UK’s leading charities.

Writer and producer Wayne Drew, Chairman of Ability Media, and the founder of the AMI Awards said:  “Ben receives his Award for his outstanding creativity, commitment and exceptional promise. It is such young people who are the future of International cinema and I truly hope that he will now have the opportunity to work in mainstream film production. His achievements to date are extraordinary, and his film displays keen insight, flair and originality ”.

Benjamin, started his career in the animation and visual effects industry in Australia. Then moved Singapore, then to London, and from there to Slovakia.

He was presented his award by Hugh Hudson the legendary director of the multi-academy award winning film Chariots of Fire.

On presenting the Award Hugh Hudson said: Benjamin Richards is now working with the  ‘Theatre with No Home' group in Bratislava, where all of the actors are either homeless or disabled. In his first film, which is about their work, he’s displayed a keen photographic eye, a passion for story telling and a sensitive and truthful approach to documentary production. To say that he was under pressure to produce it, is an understatement. From start to end the production took only 4 days, However, what he finally produced was truly exceptional”

By winning an AMI Award, Benjamin Richards is in very impressive company indeed as some of this year’s other award winners included: Glyndebourne Opera;  The Donmar Warehouse;  the author Mark Haddon;  TV’s Dr. Who, Matt Smith for his new film ‘Christopher and his Kind’;  style guru Gok Wan;  Channel Four Television and the BBC. 



More pictures here 


Interview with Slovak Radio International


Eva Fúriková interviewing Ben Richards for the Slovak Radio International programme about his recent film Theatre With No Home and his experiences living in Slovakia working with the homeless and disabled whilst making his next film Haiku, a 2 year project expected to be released Summer 2011.

Listen to the interview here or download 



Jeden Svet (One World) Film Festival

For those of you in (or traveling to) Slovakia, my film Divadlo Bez Domova is showing 3 times during the Bratislava part of the festival and additional 20 times across Slovakia in many different cities.

For the Bratislava program click here

For the regional info click here

I also produced the animated spot for the festival which you can watch on

Mudgee - Home of great wine, art and my brother!

Taken from the full article here...

My first stop is in the heart of Mudgee, hidden behind a cafe with a small sign in its window: ''Unattended children will be fed espresso, followed by a red cordial chaser and a free kitten.'' TheMudFactory is one for the kids.

With a devoted patronage of five- to 15-year-olds, a haphazardly divided shed acts as a production house for drawing, painting, print-making, mosaics, digital photography and ceramics.

Already, the offerings surpass those of any comparable art school I grew up with. We never had a character such as Peter Richards, with 15 years of experience in the movie and animation industry. Under his tutelage, TheMudFactory has its own kind of Industrial Light & Magic studio. ''Kids aren't good actors,'' he says, ''so we made them watch Edison's early films and imitate them.'' I'm shown a production of two boys remaking J. Stuart Blackton's The Enchanted Drawing (1900), where a man sketches objects on an easel and lifts them into reality. Even now the rudimentary effects are surprising and the boys found themselves minor celebrities when the short was shown at Mudfest, an international short-film festival held locally every March. It was the climactic light-sabre battle - absent from the original - that clinched the fan base.

Tim Jackson's economic reality check

Tim Jackson studies the links between lifestyle, societal values and the environment to question the primacy of economic growth.

As the world faces recession, climate change, inequity and more, he delivers a piercing challenge to established economic principles, explaining how we might stop feeding the crises and start investing in our future.

Nice series of animations with political adviser and social and ethical prophet Jeremy Rifkin

Film screening in Spain at El Ojo Cojo International Film Festival

Benjamin Richards debut feature length film Divadlo Bez Domova - Theatre With No Home will be screened five times during the El Ojo Cojo Film Festival from 8th - 17th October 2010 in Madrid, Spain.


Southwark Film Festival Celebrates Disability

National charity Leonard Cheshire Disability championed inclusion and diversity at the Ability Media Centre in Southwark, London, during its first disability film festival last week.

Clockwise from top left: Jane Fletcher (Leonard Cheshire Disability), Benjamin Richards (Apothecary Films), Clare Pelham (Leonard Cheshire Disability), Matúš Ježo and Veve Ježová.

More than 120 people attended the screening of two documentary films; Divadlo Bez Domova by Benjamin Richards and the Special Olympics by Axess Films.

Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Director of Innovative Projects, Jane Fletcher, said: “I am always excited to meet filmmakers who are committed to overcoming the odds to make their movie succeed. It is a particular honour to screen these two productions at the first Ability Media Film Festival here in Southwark.

“Both these pieces of work are an inspiring testament to how disabled people make the world a more inclusive and better place,” she added.


Full article here... 


Promise for the future of education?

Haiku Performance at Pohoda Festival

Check the Pohoda Festival webpage for more info and the artist line up. Some great music, a really great festival and lots of interesting alternative activities, such as our theatre, made up of the homeless, disabled and others in difficult social situations.

Pohoda Festival Website


Support Earth Hour this year!

The End of Poverty?

This looks like a brilliant documentary, please click on the image above to learn more but for now I leave you with the words of Nelson Mandela.

"Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings."

We can all do something to change the world, the first step is to open our eyes, the second step is stop believing that one person cannot make a difference. Think of the the great people in history that have changed the world, they did it all one step at a time. Find out what steps you can take at