Benjamin Smoke

Thematic Program DoubleTake

Benjamin Smoke is a haunting portrait of Robert Dickerson, known as Benjamin, lead singer of the Atlanta-based band Smoke. Made with a filmmaking approach as distinctive as the artist himself, the documentary moves between performances, artifacts, and snapshots to construct a collage representation, rather than a chronological account, of this unique soul. Interviews with Benjamin are almost like confessions—his unguarded recollections and impressions unspool like lyrics, as he talks about music, sexuality, drugs, and his general place in the world. Describing his work, Benjamin notes, “If you write it down, you don’t have to carry it with you, or it don’t hurt as much to have it.” The same could be said of creating such an evocative portrait of this complex talent on film.

Sadie Tillery, 2001 Festival

Filmmaker Q&A following screening

Directors

Jem Cohen, Peter Sillen

Producers

Noah Cowan, Gravity Hill, Pumpernickel Inc.

Editors

Jem Cohen, Nancy Roach, Peter Sillen

Cinematographers

Jem Cohen, Peter Sillen

Release Year

2000

Festival Year

2017

Country

United States

Run Time

80 minutes