Benjamin Abelardo Resella, born on May 14th 1917 , in the Tondo district of Manila, Philippines to Teodora Velayo Abelardo and Isabelo Resella. His father, Isabelo Resella, a renowned jewelry designer,sculptor, and scenic artist, died when Ben was three months old. Ben learned the art of scenic designing from his grandfather, the famous painter, Juan Henson Abelardo. He started as an apprentice to his grandfather at the age of 11 at Juan Abelardo Scenic Studio at Manila’s Grand Opera House. At the age of 15, Ben began his humble beginings in the Motion Picture Industry at 1937 working with his uncle Richard Abelardo as assistant art director and special effects artist. They both executed glass and matte paintings.
In 1941, World War II interrupted Ben’s promising career of scenic art and film. He enlisted in the war and served his country. During Japanese occupation, his oldest half brother Domingo Resella, who worked with the American Brothers of Ateneo de Manila University as their scenic artist died. Ben would be taken as prisoner and forced to walk the Bataan Death March of 1942 along with 68,000 Filipino and 12,000 American POWs and thousands of civilians including men, women and children.After arriving in CampO’Donnell, Capas at Tarlac, Ben had to survive the horrifying and dismal life in a Japanese Concentration Camp.
1947-1959 Supervising Art Director and Head of the Special Photographic and Background Projection for Sampaguita Pictures Inc. Introduced the first “Hanging Miniature Shot” and the first professional Studio Camera Crane in the Philippine movie studio and Animation.
1966 to 1967: Theatrical Scenic Artist
Ben Resella’s California legacy began at the San Francisco Opera House. Here as a scenic artist he painted sceneries for Operatic Theatre. The Local 816, business agent, Mr. Clayton Thomason later discovered him to be an excellent perspective delineator. He was immediately relocated to Hollywood to work on the musical “Hello Dolly” in 1967. He would make his impact in the Motion Picture and Television industry as the scenic supervisor for J.C. Backings at the Twentieth Century-Fox Studios. Mr. John Coakley, the owner of J.C. Backings, Inc., made Ben his scenic supervisor for more than 20 years.
1967 to 1987 Scenic Art Supervisor & Designer
As Scenic Art and Design Supervisor for J.C. Backings Corporation, Ben set a high standard of artistic quality for every project undertaken. He actively designed and painted backings and special scenic effects for many motion picture films and television productions.
For more information visit his tribute web page http://resella.com/ben/ )
- Tayo Na Sa Langnit (1938) Associate Art Director
- Ibong Adarna (1940) Associate Art Director. Introduced the first “Matte-shot” and “Background Projection”.
- Baguio Cadet (1940) Associate Art Director.
- Aladin (1946) Associate art director / Special effects
- Isumpa Mo Giliw (1947) Supervising Art Director.
- Florante at Laura ( 1949) Associate Art Director./ Special effects
- Cry of Battle (1963) (art director)
- No Man Is an Island (1962) (art director)
- Hani-hanimun (1961) (art director)
- Hello Dolly (1967)
- Counter Point (1967)
- Boston Strangler (1968)
- Land of the Giants (1968) TV series
- The Delta Factor (1970) (art director)
- On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970)
- Bed Knobs and Broom Sticks (1971)
- City Beneath the Sea (1972)
- Towering Inferno (1973)
- Earthquake (1974)
- Planet of the Apes (1974) TVseries)
- Shampoo (1975)
- Silver Streak (1976) (Scenic Visual Effects)
- King Kong (1976)
- Lipstick (1976)
- Logan’s Run (1976)
- High Anxiety (1977) (Scenic Visual Effects)
- End of the World (1977)
- New York, New York (1977)
- Coma (1978) (Scenic Visual Effects)
- Magic (1978)
- Foul Play (1978)
- Black Hole (1979)
- Winter kills (1979) (Scenic Visual Effects)
- Last Flight of Noah’s Ark (1980)
- Pennies from Heaven (1981)
- Simon & Simon (1981) (TV series)
- The Best Little Whore house in Texas (1982)
- Personal Best (1982)
- Hammet (1982)
- Ghostbusters (1984)
- Poltergeist (1984)
- Gremlins (1984)
- Nothing in Common (1986)
- Dragnet (1987)
- Star Trek, the Motion Picture (1979) (Scenic Visual Effects)
- Space Balls (1987) (Scenic Visual Effects)
- Home Alone (1990)
- Indian in a Cupboard (1995)
- Air Force One (1997) (Special Scenic Effects)
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
Matteshots from Ibong Adarna (1941) Painted by Resella and Richard Abelardo.
Aladin (1946) Matte shots by Ben resella and Richard Abelardo.
Samples of his scenic work in United States.
On a Clear day you can see forever (1970)
Towering Inferno (1973)
Ben Resella working on a scenic painting for Earthquake(1974)