Ben Murphy (’15)

Category: Alumni Promise | Awards

2023 Alumni Promise Award Winner

Gifted with a passion for ambitious storytelling, Ben Murphy’s early school and local theater performances and short film projects with his friends and brothers initiated an accomplished career in film and television.

Murphy, a Cleveland, Tennessee native, is a 2015 graduate of UT’s first class of cinema studies majors. He credits his film education to his professors and mentors Paul Harrill, Chuck Maland, and the late Bill Larsen. Murphy prioritized creative action during his academic career, remaining active with campus film and theater productions and directing a musical as a UT student. His short documentary, “The Merry Death Collector,” combined his two majors, cinema studies and journalism/electronic media, and played at film festivals across the Southeastern United States. Murphy additionally associate-produced the award-winning feature film Ain’t It Nowhere, which was directed by his brother Scott Murphy and featured a majority cast and crew of UT alumni and students.

After graduating from UT, Murphy was selected as one of the two American Cinema Editor Interns in 2016, a highly competitive fellowship program for recent college graduates seeking positions in film and TV post-production. Upon completing his internship, Murphy joined the Motion Picture Editors Guild and earned a position at Warner Animation Group, spending a year working on the films The LEGO Batman MovieThe LEGO Ninjago Movie, and Smallfoot. 

In the fall of 2017, Murphy joined the team working on the AVATAR sequels as an assistant editor. Thus far, Murphy’s position with the AVATAR films has allowed him to work on set in both Los Angeles and New Zealand. In December of 2022 and at the age of 30, Murphy completed work on the first of the AVATAR sequels, AVATAR: The Way of Water. It won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects at the 2023 Oscars and was nominated in three other categories, including Best Picture. Murphy is currently working on the yet-to-be-titled AVATAR 3 as supervising first assistant editor under director James Cameron and supervising editor Stephen Rivkin. Murphy has collaborated with some of the top creatives in film and television, including James Cameron, Vince Gilligan, Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Chris McKay, and Robert Rodriguez.

Murphy is currently an associate member of the American Cinema Editors (ACE), a member of the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA), and a member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild (MPEG – IATSE Local 700). He continues to exhibit devoted drive to the arts of storytelling and performance fostered by steadfast support from family and friends and the upbringing and education he received in East Tennessee.