Queenstown cameraman misses Shihad film premiere


Queenstown cameraman Ben Ruffell is “gutted” he’s not walking the red carpet at the glitzy premiere of the documentary on Kiwi rock band Shihad.

Ruffell, who was a senior cameraman for the Wellington segment of film Shihad: Beautiful Machine, is working in Queenstown today instead of dressing up for the Wellington premiere.

“I’m gutted. It would have been cool,” he says.

Ruffell was called up to shoot a Shihad concert specially-arranged by doco producers for the film, which charts the legendary band’s fight with fame, fortune, the music industry and itself.

“I’ve been a fan of theirs for many years and gone to their gigs plenty of times so it was fantastic to work with them and be so close to them,” Ruffell says.

“All I saw were some incredibly hard-working musicians that practised and practised and practised, and got all their cues absolutely perfect before the concert. They were really aware of putting on a great show for everybody, and you could tell they loved it. They were passionate about it.”

The film was also shot in Auckland, Gisborne, Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, Berlin and London.

As Shihad performed at their Wellington gig last year, Ruffell shot from a hand-held camera from one side of the stage.

“My angle was one of the most exciting ones to film. I was up behind the band, off to the side of the stage at the back. My hero shot was of [lead singer] Jon Toogood standing in front of the crowd and standing on the mic boxes and leaning out over the crowd with the crowd behind him.

“We filmed it in black and white and with all the light and effects it just looks really gritty. It’s got a hand-held, gritty, urban rock and roll feel that we went for,” he says.

“It was challenging to hand-hold a camera for the length of the concert but it was well worth it for the results that we achieved.”


Shihad: Beautiful Machine is released nationwide tomorrow.