Mid December 2018, Emperor and Run The Red (RTR) in collaboration with Ben “Ben 10” Nguyen, former UFC fighter, set out on their most ambitious project yet. Commissioned by Art By Emperor (ABE!), the goal was to show the world what kind of production quality Emperor x RTR are capable of, as well as promote and showcase Ben. The film seeked to highlight what kind of dedication and intense training fighters must endure to prepare themselves for the uphill battle that is stepping into a cage.

Director Alex Greaves gave us a glimpse into the creative direction for the film, saying:

“Since the early days of Emperor, Huynh (Creative Director) and I had always talked about the importance of evoking emotion in the work that we did. When we set out to make this film, we knew we wanted to inspire the viewer. Because of this, we decided we wanted to really get in the head of the fighter on screen and show the viewer what real dedication looked like. In doing so, the piece took on this gritty, almost experimental feel to try and give a heightened sense that the audience were right there amongst the action, (hopefully) inspiring them in the process.”

But shooting a film of this quality did not come without challenges. Greaves references time constraints and lack of budget as obstacles that were faced by the RTR and Emperor crew during production. However the team soon turned these weaknesses into strengths.

“From the get go, we’d set out to make a high concept film with no budget, which meant we needed to work with what we already had. On paper, that’s a pretty daunting idea, but a lot of the time those limitations help you hone in on what you’re actually trying to make. We knew we had a sweet location and access to a world class fighter in Ben 10, so we worked the concept around those advantages, and I think it really paid off in the finished piece.” 

RTR and Emperor worked collaboratively to create the film, sharing ideas, creative direction and on set workload. Together, the two teams produced a cohesive film, Greaves had this to say about the collaboration and shooting process.

“Working with Emperor throughout the process was an absolute breeze. You could feel that the whole team were all working towards the same goal, which made all the difference in putting the project together. Films are made by solving one problem after another until you have a finished piece sitting in front of you, so the process is all the more enjoyable when you have a team that gels and can figure out their problems quickly and effectively together.”

The shoot lasted roughly 10 hours and went late into the night, however Ben showed resilience throughout and kept shooting without the slightest complaint. After the shoot he said:

“It wasn’t my first rodeo, I’ve done 14 hours all day in the sun shoots so this was a breeze. The shots were well planned out and I knew they were going to turn out well and it was better than I thought.”

Showing absolute professionalism throughout production, Ben returned praise to the Emperor and Run The Red crew for their style and work ethic.

“Really efficient, straight forward, and fun. Every shot was planned and scheduled and we pretty much hit every shot with the allotted time. Everyone knew how to be serious and when to let loose and have fun which goes by my motto of “Have fun while being the best””.

All in all, 2019 is shaping up to be a very exciting year, so stay tuned for more from ABE!, Run The Red, Emperor and Ben Nguyen’s new endeavour in RIZIN.


Follow Art By Emperor!:
Facebook – ABE!
Instagram – ABE!

Follow Run The Red:
Website – RTR
Instagram – RTR

Follow Ben “10” Nguyen:
Facebook – BenX
Instagram – BenX