Filmmaker Ben Hemmings of Ben Hemmings Media is more artist than mere videographer, sculpting stories that connect audiences with a particular message and subject matter. As of late, much of his subject matter has been focused on Ontario’s Highlands, and the results of his creativity have helped to connect audiences with the stories of Ontario’s Highlands’ topography, communities, and the people who live, work, and love here.  

For Ben, marketing through storytelling is more than just making a video that tries to “sell” someone something, it’s about creating the connections that inspire decision making. 

“I think people are past the hard sell, they don’t want to be sold things anymore,” Ben explained. “They want to connect with the business owners, to hear about personal stories and struggles and how they’re dealing with them. To hear real, organic stories that resonate with their experiences.” 

Originally from Liverpool in the United Kingdom, Ben is self-taught in videography and photography, and as with all great filmmakers, his creativity is at the core of his success in visual storytelling. 

“When I was a kid I wanted to be a documentary filmmaker, I loved David Attenborough’s films,” Ben explained. “When I finished law school I bought a camera and started teaching myself at every opportunity…I photographed everything while walking around London.” 

For Ben, being able to work in tourism means working in an industry he is passionate about. As someone who has traveled around the world, Ben explains he has seen tourism done right, but has also seen it done wrong. 

“I have been a tourist around the world, I know what bad tourism looks like, I know what good tourism looks like…good tourism can be one of the main tools for economic growth, environmental conservation and political stability. 

It was while working with Destination Ontario in 2018 that Ben was introduced to Julie Mulligan, OHTO’s Marketing Director, and it wasn’t long before he was working on bigger projects with OHTO, most significantly the recent Our Connections campaign.  

person paddling canoe, meditator, 2 guitar players

Our Connections launched in July 2021 and was an eight-month campaign highlighting the stories of seven of Ontario’s Highlands’ tourism leaders. Thanks to Ben’s skill in storytelling these stories helped audiences get to know the faces behind the names of tourism offerings and experiences across the region.  

“The goal was to tell personal stories from the region, going deep into some of the locals who make the region such a special place,” explained Ben. “We found some really amazing people who jumped on board, trusted us with their stories, and welcomed us into their worlds. For me, that was the most rewarding part of producing this series.” 

The Connections series theme in general is right up Ben’s alley; as someone who is a relative newcomer to Canada, he especially values the connections he’s making in the region where he lives and works.  

“When I first got into filmmaking I didn’t know the thing I would value most would be getting to know people,” Ben said. “It’s such an immediate and deep connection with the subjects of a film…you’re asking them to be open and trusting with their story and to welcome you into their mind and into their world.”