Ben Lear is an award-winning filmmaker and composer. He graduated from New York University in 2010 with a degree in music composition. For his senior recital, Lear wrote and performed his folk-opera, Lillian, about a man who travels to the Great Pacific garbage patch to reclaim all he’s lost, with a 20-piece orchestra and light show. Upon the album’s release, he partnered with Plastic Pollution Coalition and 5Gyres to raise awareness for plastic pollution. This work has led Lear to performances at TED and the United Nations.
In 2016, Lear debuted his first feature-documentary, “They Call Us Monsters” at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The film follows three teenagers being tried as adults as they collaborate on a screenplay in the weeks before their trials. The Hollywood Reporter called it, "powerful and eye opening" and the Playlist described it as, "restrained, sensitive and quietly heartbreaking.” The film won “Best Documentary” at the Las Vegas Film Festival and reached number one on the iTunes documentary charts. It will have its broadcast premiere on PBS Independent Lens in May 2017.
As a result of shooting this film, Lear sits on the board of InsideOUT Writers and is an ally member with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, teaching a weekly writing class in juvenile hall and mentoring the formerly incarcerated upon reentry.