SSG Robert A. Ham was the 2009, 2012 and 2013 DOD Military Videographer of the Year and has won two Emmys and nominated for two more for his work. Robert is attending the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts to obtain his MFA in Film and Television Production and will remain in the Army Reserve. His film, Frank Comes Home, will be part of this year’s GI Film Festival.
Where are you from and what is your film background?
I was born in Glendale and was raised in the San Fernando Valley. I studied film in my undergrad (graduated 2005) and worked in various areas of film until I joined the Army in 2007. I joined the Army as a combat videographer serving one tour to Afghanistan and traveling to over a dozen countries in the Pacific until I was honorably discharged in February 2014 (My Army documentary reel found here). I am now attending the University of Southern California obtaining an MFA in Film/TV Production.
Who are your biggest influences in film and why?
Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Stephen Spielberg, Akira Kurosawa, John Ford, Frank Capra, Zhang Yimou, Michael Mann, Ridley Scott, Werner Herzog (the list can go on a while). I admire the work of all of these filmmakers because they all infuse, in their own ways, a great deal of realism into their films; realism in dialogue, in place and time, in character interactions. While they all work with varying budgetary confines, they all nevertheless employ an almost docu-style approach to the way they capture their stories.
What was the hardest part about getting this film made?
This film was made for a USC intermediate filmmaking course. I was teamed up with two other filmmakers that the school chose for you, each changing roles on the films (Director/writer then Director of Photography then Producer/Editor). You had to make three 5:30 minute films in one semester each shot in 4 days max with a total budget of $1000 each. The combination of all of those factors made this film quite difficult to produce. Oh and children.
What do you want viewers to take away with them after watching your film?
I would like people to walk away with a sense of hope for the future and perhaps some nostalgia about old hollywood.
What is a fun fact about you that would surprise people?
While I was in the Army I received the Department of Defense Military Videographer of the Year three times (2009, 2012, 2013) and have received two Emmys for my documentaries in the Army.
Frank Comes Home, directed by Robert Ham, is playing at Angelika on May 23, 2015. Click here for tickets.