Writer, Director, and Producer

Ben Epstein, ’99, is showing the television and film industry that he’s got the chops for this business, and he’s also showing them just where he got those chops from. With a growing number of credits to his name—including You Get Me (2017), In the Vault (2017), and The Reunion (2004), which created a buzz on the film festival circuit and received a number of awards including Best Short at the 2004 Avignon/New York Film Festival and Best Student Film at the California Independent Film Festival—Epstein is developing quite the name for himself.

His name is recognized to many as the creator of the MTV’s dramedy Happyland, which centers on the character Lucy, a cynical teenage girl whose mother works as a fairytale princess in a popular theme park. Lucy explores the reality of growing up and falling in love whilst living in their fictional world of fantasy versus reality. Happyland aired on MTV for one eight-episode season from September 30 through November 18, 2014.

Last February, Who Are You People, one of Epstein’s most recent projects, landed in select theaters and became available on demand. The film features rising star Ema Horvath and is a coming of age story about troubled teen Alex (played by Horvarth) who runs away to learn the dark secret of her roots as she seeks out the biological father her mother kept hidden. Epstein’s classmate and fellow alumnus, the Oscar winner Graham Moore, ’99, is among the executive producers of this feature film.

When asked about his best advice for success during a YouTube interview promoting the film, Epstein was quick with an answer. “Finish things. If you don’t finish something, then it doesn’t get to become all of the things that you imagined it could be when you were first conceiving of it,” he said. “But if you’re sitting around conceiving it never becomes anything.”

Epstein has a number of conceived projects in the hopper. He is working on a screenplay on Michael Jordan’s short-lived baseball career and has a couple of shows in development for both Netflix and Lionsgate.

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