Life Without Benedetta :: Film Crew

Raj Babbra
I have spoken at length about my own experience of losing Benedetta and how I came about to produce this documentary. I am so proud of the final result and of the hard working team that helped to create it. Please read what they have to say as we need to take our hats off to them for being such amazing people...

Rabia Bouchiba
I learnt of this project through a friend who introduced me to Raj and made the commitment to direct this documentary without any hesitation.

Not only did I feel that his story should be told but also because I felt that these stories were not told enough. We read in the papers day in day out that people are dying every where but nothing is been told about what effect this has on people who are left behind.

I had a great but also an emotional time working on the production. It was intense and we worked on a strict deadline - the project was completed in 3 months. The scale of the production was huge but I made the commitment... I enjoyed every moment of it.

Background & experience
I completed my 4 years study at the Film Academy in Amsterdam in 1995 where I specialised in writing, directing and editing fiction. A few months later I began to work for the VPRO (a Dutch independent channel focusing on independent productions and the cultural sector) here I wrote, directed and produced a series of short documentaries for the show entitled 'Marco Polo’ for two years.

In 1998 I moved to New York and worked on a few independent films. After 2 years in New York, I returned to the Netherlands to work for the NPS (National Public Sender) as a producer/director where I completed a series of human interest documentaries for the show called 'Urbania', which was sold to several other European countries.

In 2000 I was selected for the 'Maurits Binger Institute', a post-graduate programme for script-writing and produced a drama called the 'Cuban Affair'. With support from 'scripdoctor' Daniel Martin from the Los Angeles film school (UCLA). I continued to work in Amsterdam as well as internationally as an assistant on several feature films. In 2003, I moved to London were I still engage in making independent film productions.

George Leeder
Gentlemen's Agreement Media
I joined the project after a mutual friend of Rabia and mine introduced us when he heard she was looking for a film crew. I travelled down to London and met her in Camden to discuss the documentary. I was impressed by Rabia's approach and we talked about various sequences and how to film them even before we had a script to work from.

I wanted to take part because at first as I felt that it would be a great opportunity for me as a film maker. It would be also a challenge as many documentaries and films based around terrorist attacks had seemed to focus more on the events or terrorists themselves.

This documentary seemed to be focused a lot more on the victims and their families themselves, and although it would be primarily about Benedetta, I felt that through her story we would be telling the stories of other victims and the survivors.

As the cameraman for the documentary, I spent a lot of time talking to Rabia, either on the phone or in London, and subsequently in Rome about how to shoot the film. For me this was a good change on how I work because I am used to working primarily for myself through my business. To have feedback and advice from a director was useful and encouraging, as not only did I learn more about documentary film making, but I also learnt more about the industry itself.

As the shoot progressed, I found the project and my thoughts about it changing and I found myself getting to know Benedetta through her friends and family. I also got a much clearer picture about the effects of terrorism on the people who survive, or who have lost someone. When I was filming Benedetta's tomb alone, I found that it was almost like working with Benedetta, and not just in her memory. This gave me in a way a sense of determination to complete the documentary more so than before.

James Phillips
Sound & Design
Gentlemen's Agreement Media
When I heard about this film through George, I viewed it simply as an opportunity to gain further experience in film making and to try something new. I have never shot a documentary before.

However, at first I was concerned about the direction and focus of the film as I had all too often seen documentaries about 9/11, the Iraq War and islamic terrorism that sensationalised the subject and had been driven by a particular political spin rather than the telling of a story. Which in my opinion only cheapens the deaths of the many people on both sides of the conflict. But upon meeting with Rabia, I was pleased to find that this film was in fact a personal story of loss
that symbolised the pain of all those who were involved and/or lost someone in July 2005.

I was expecting this film to be hard work, that was a given, but what I honestly was not expecting was how emotionally involved I would become. As I met more and more of Benny's friends and family, I found myself wishing I could meet this girl. They say that you can judge a person by the company that they keep and Benny's friends are the friendliest, warm and down to earth inviting people you could ever meet. And of course I was aware of the degree of suffering and loss caused on that day like anyone else, but almost everyone today has become so desensitised and the immediate shock can become too easily forgotten. Until you see this loss and suffering first hand it's very difficult to really feel it.

Another thing that I found in making this film is new friends in Rabia, Raj and his family. And although there were some tense and stressful moments during the shoot I would certainly work with Rabia and Raj again.

Finally I would like to thank those in the 7/7 Community who were present at the private viewing this anniversary for there support of the film. For me, what has made all of this worth it was the response from all of those people and the most amazing and heart felt remarks of gratitude that I received. That will always stay with me. Thank you.

Ingun Olsen
Film Editor
I got involved in this project after hearing about it through mutual friends of Rabia and mine. I found it a very interesting story and was unique in the way it was written. I dedicated my free time into the editing and it was a very big task to do in such little time.

I have worked in broadcasting for 20 years and have been living in London for 8 years. I work as a director and editor. Most of my recent works have been for
Aljazeera English, working on stories from Iran, Israel, UK, Greenland and Faroe Islands. See some of my work