Posts filed under Filmmaking

Filmmaker Josh Brine Talks Being a Fish Out of Water, Music and More

The Fish Out of Water offers some very familiar feelings that most adults can relate to — the wry complacency of day to day life. Here, Director Josh Brine poses the idea, what if you just did want you wanted instead?

Australian, Portland-based filmmaker Josh Brine

Australian, Portland-based filmmaker Josh Brine

Protagonist, Charlie, is a guy who works in a call center and loathes his job. But most importantly, he can’t quit because he's in love with an oblivious co-worker. Like someone frozen in place, Charlie can’t move seem to move in any given direction, instead choosing to retreat into the barricades of his imagination. It’s a story that thrives on an innate fear of rejection, to opt for comfortability over taking a chance on the unknown.

Such existential themes don’t fall far from the tree of Brine’s own personal story.

“My life, one of the main themes in my life, is struggling with identity and moving to America,” Brine says, who being born in Australia, relocated to the states at the youthful age of twelve. After attending three different high schools in the span of four short years and collectively moving around nine different times, the wandering filmmaker finally found his home in Portland, Oregon.

Fitting in, while finding one’s confidence and purpose in life are constructs Brine deeply cares for throughout his narrative — it’s an extension as common ground for others grappling with life’s many directions. And with Brine himself not sure which career path to set his sights on for years, the filmmaker originally pursued music as a skilled drummer. Looking back, there’s a immense appreciation for this period dedicated to his musical craft, memorializing it as a creative stepping stone toward becoming a filmmaker.

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“Something that I’ve been learning is that you don’t have to see the end of the road to begin,” says Brine. “Just because you don’t know where it’s going to end or go doesn’t mean you shouldn’t begin in pursuing that path.”

Brine’s approach to music production also carried over into the collaborative writing process with co-writer, Jacob Cowdin. “Writing is very similar to playing music, one person might have a guitar riff and one person might have a drum idea,” Brine says. “Then after hearing it all played together, you kind of hash out what you like or ask, ‘what if we do this’ and starting offering up more ideas. It’s like chipping away until you get what you want.”

Music being the undercurrent to Brine’s creative process, he mentions how listening to specific songs, especially during the writing process, can have a huge influence and long-lasting impact on a movie — even before it’s been filmed.

“When I’m writing, it’ll actually help me visualize the scene,” Brine says. “I essentially let the music inform the visuals, not so much a dialogue but the music can place you in the a mindset of how you want something to feel.”

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His appreciation for film scores and soundtracks that pack a big emotive punch extend to choosing music for his own film. Consisting of all music licensed from Marmoset’s music catalog, Brine incorporated songs based on how scenes work collectively as a whole, rather than singularly.

“Maybe I got this from making music videos or my background from playing music, but I can see what I want and then hear the music accompanying it,” Brine says. “Maybe it’s not an exact song but if for instance, if there’s a scene with a car chase and I know the tone is comedic, I can easily search for music using the [Marmoset] site filters.”

Atop creating the ultimate custom soundtrack, Brine worked with in-house music composer, Graham Barton to perfect the film’s sound design. “Graham is just a genius, a joy to work with,” Brine says. “For the film’s sound design, I would just have to cite an Edgar Wright film and he’d get it. There’s just an ultimate trust between us.”

While The Fish Out of Water marks Brine’s debut as a filmmaker, it’s currently working its way through the 2019 festival circuit — its world premier will be at Manchester Film Festival this upcoming Sunday, March 10th; the North American premiere will be at Portland’s 42nd International Film Festival. Brine will also be speaking on MANIFF’s Filmmaker Panel, sharing more about the making of his film with audiences.

Now with a clear understanding of which direction to take, there’s no question of how filmmaking will fit into Brine’s life — only which film to make next.

“I want to add to the conversation and be a part of how people think and feel,” Brine says. “I want to create items, pieces of actual substance, things that have weight.”


Josh Brine has directed his fair share of music videos for musicians and bands like Blitzen Trapper, Dear Nora and Frankie SimoneThe Fish Out of Water marks his debut as a filmmaker.

Feeling cinematic? Check out Brine’s top five soundtracks and film scores here!

The Music Behind Givenchy's Spring Summer Campaign

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Givenchy’s Spring + Summer 2019 Campaign is a blend of avant-garde and retro culture — a crisp black and white landscape, where the characters look as though they were plucked out of Andy Warhol’s studio, the Factory.

Alongside the androgynous collective, Givenchy features Marmoset artist, Damon Boucher’sK I N” as its musical backdrop. Electronic synth beats, the music ensures the seasonal campaign reaches full circle. To learn more about Boucher’s musical journey, the fashion undercurrent of his LP — N K I and where he’s headed, we connected with the artist earlier this month.


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Marmoset: Could you tell us a little bit how you first got into making music?

Boucher: I grew up taking classical lessons, and performing contemporary music in a Pentecostal Christian church. In church, I learned to improvise pop music, although church also kept me closeted. But, I’ve been writing music since that time. I played and wrote music all throughout college; then began to produce music after I graduated in 2008.

M: Listening through NKI, your music has such a dreamy kind of presence along with an energetic pulse to it. How would you describe your music to listeners? What kind of visuals come to mind?

B: I try to make it watery, but clean. Clean can sometimes mean dry and airy which plays off the watery thing. Visually, I always think of clean, stark contrasts; light and dark meeting in balance. I think of an ocean horizon, fashion runways or queer nightlife culture.

M: Do you collaborate with your work or do you tend to flourish more as a solo creator? Yes! Most of my work is collaborative. My main project for the past few years has been producing music for Chanti Darling. I’ve also worked with The Last Artful, Dodgr, Maarquii, Natasha Kmeto, Nafisaria, The Portland Cello Project, Ripley Snell, Neill Von Tally, DJ Sappho, Pocket Rock-it and many more. (Click here to listen).

I’ve also had a chance to teach and collaborate with several of my students over the years. I’ve taught piano and composition at School of Rock since 2010 and have directed over 40 shows there; and since they let me keep my studio inside their building, all of my projects are made out of there. I call that studio Zip Zap Studios.

I’m super proud of the work I’ve done with others. However, even though I’m often in collaborative environments, I find that I work best alone. When producing music with others, I oftentimes meet to record, then polish the songs when I’m by myself. There’s less pressure when I’m alone so I find those times to be more experimental and fruitful.

M: Who are some artists you've been listening to this year?

Current new stuff from: The Internet, Roisin Murphy, Against All Logic, Travis Scott.

Older stuff from: Missy Elliott, Gary Numan, Four Tet

M: What went through your head when you heard your music being featured on the Givenchy Spring/Summer campaign?

I sincerely wanted that music to be used for fashion so I was excited to see it used in that capacity! A lot of the track names on N K I have fashion related titles, all for the reason that I imagined this record being used just as you now see it.

M: What inspires you about the Portland music scene?

Someone once described Portland to me as a great “incubator” for creative ideas, which I think is both bizarre and accurate. It rains forever so I want to stay inside and work on music until the weather’s good. I am completely privileged to be able to work on music with the setup I have in Portland and I am forever grateful for that. I would not be able to do that in a variety of other places or lives.

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The Spring Summer 2019 Campaign

Talking Death, Music and More with Sundance Filmmaker, Stefanie Horowitz

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Stefanie Abel Horowitz ran her theatre company, Tiny Little Band for six years before pivoting artistic mediums to direct her first short film. After embracing a brief hiatus from being an artist, Horowitz began questioning what it really was that she wanted to do, prompting her to ditch the concrete jungle of New York to relocate to sunny Los Angeles. And with her short film, sometimes i think about dying premiering at Sundance, Marmoset wanted to learn more about how she feels about death, music and getting into one of the most reputable film festivals.

Filmed in a small coastal town of Maine, sometimes i think about dying is a dark comedy of a young woman who’s headspace lingers in deathly thoughts. The audience is let in on the main character’s musings as a voice-over dialogue; the character is surrounded by others who have little to no awareness of the grim intricacies beyond an otherwise timid shell. Exteriorly, she blends into a washed out palette of muted colors, invisible in plain sight, adding to the layers of her shyness.

While the story follows the beginning of a newly founded relationship, Horowitz never forfeits the struggles and complexes that define the film’s main character, regardless or not if infatuated with a love interest. It’s this kind of narrative, about women who exist beyond tropes and simple molds, that Horowitz proves is possible in filmmaking.

“I hate how women are so often presented as cold,” says Horowitz. “If we’re not sort of these romanticized, soft maternal women, then we are cold workaholics who can't access our feeling whatever it is. She's definitely such a full character. And part of the reason we wanted to bring this back as a film is that she is so interesting and so millable to so many, and a complicated woman.”

And as an upcoming filmmaker Horowitz proves she’s comfortable forging ahead to tell these kind of authentic kind of stories—sometimes i think about dying normalizing the topic and presence of death.

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“It's such a universal feeling, right? Whether it be sadness or actual death or whatever it is,” says Horowitz. “I mean we're all going to die and we all think about it at some point, but. So it's like how to let people not feel like somehow she's somehow other than them — or that we have an access to that part of ourselves. But she gets to say the things that we all kind of want to say or are all thinking. And so it sort of had to be that combination of smart, funny, bad woman.”

And much like the thoughtfully constructed nature of Horowitz’s main character, cinematography and sound design equally portray distinct presences. Horowitz worked with a composer, Savannah Wheeler and with Marmoset for music licensing — “Lonely Star” by Fred Martin and the Matadors and “I Wanna Know” by Pagents. When asked about her approach to music, Horowitz notes her evolving approach toward creating a soundtrack.

“There are directors who will make a playlist and are really engaged with the musicality side,” Horowitz says. “I actually find that to be one of the hardest parts because it is such an emotional medium. I mean people cry just listening to music. I really want to get better at that to be honest because I think it helps the film later on too when adding music in.”

With her first film wrapped and heading to Sundance, what’s next for Horowitz?

“Well, I'm excited to go to Sundance, I think that's gonna be fun. And then I'm just writing a lot more and I’m working on adapting another play that I worked on previously, called “Ghost Stories,” — it won’t be called that in the future. It's about ghosts, belief and faith and then I'm writing more stuff for TV as well.”


While audiences will have to wait to see the short film online, Sundance filmgoers can a screening of sometimes i think about dying at the festival — showtimes listed below:

Temple Theatre, Park City — Saturday, January 26, 6:00 p.m.

Redstone Cinema 2, Park City — Sunday, January 27, 10:00 p.m.

Broadway Centre Cinema 6, Salt Lake City — Monday, January 28, 3:00 p.m.

Egyptian Theatre, Park City — Thursday, January 31, 5:30 p.m.

Jumping Up and Down with Freedust's New Music Video

Jump Up and Down” by Freedust beams confidence with its hybrid of jazz, swing and pop and contagiously upbeat rhythmic qualities. If possible to visualize the music notes radiating beyond the beats, the music group delivers exactly what we were imagining — pulsating creativity, the music video packs a punch with colorful stop motion graphics, moving illustrations and of course a dance routine that makes us want to jump up, down, and all around.

Check out more of Freedust’s music here and get your Friday started by clicking play.

Music Video Credits: Director / Producer - Stefano Ottaviano, Lead Design - Animation Martina Savoldelli, Design - Aria Ngimbi, Giulia Flamini, Stop Motion Animator - Dele Nuga, Virginia Fonderico, Stop Motion Dop - Efe Onikinci, Live Action Dop - Vlad Jako, Color grade - Nicola Bruno

Posted on January 11, 2019 and filed under Marmoset, Music, Filmmaking, Artist Spotlights, Shared Work, Music Licensing.

Original Music and Filmmaking Come Together for A/VEC 5

Filmmaking and original musical composition are two creative worlds that intermix every day at Marmoset.

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With every notable film throughout history in the accompaniment of an outstanding soundtrack (or even sound design), we recognize this creative friendship, coming together as a community to celebrate Marmoset’s fifth installment of A/VEC. This year we brought together two talented artists, filmmaker Claudia Meza and Luz Mendoza of Y La Bamba.

Meza’s background in documentary filmmaking, her roots rest firmly in music. It was in this medium where Meza found another calling and natural obsession for video production. After working alongside She Shreds magazine, Meza began shooting content on the fly, naturally falling in tune with documentary style filmmaking.

Gathered at Marmoset headquarters, the short film shines a light on the unseen, backbreaking physical labor performed by migrant workers every day in the United States. It's a poetic testimonial transcending the general outlook of immigration, presenting an experimental yet informative documentary that never compromises identities.

“Trabajo pesado, what that means is hard work, it means heavy work,” says Meza. “And whenever your parents tell you to study, or tell you what they're doing for you so you don’t have to do — Trabajo pesado.”

The audio heartbeat of the film is within Y La Bamba's original music created just for this special event and scored live on the night of the A/VEC community screening; the purple light that cascades over Mendoza and her band is emotively symbolic of America’s aching, turbulent grasp of its immigrant issue. It’s an evening that pays homage to lineage, history, roots, culture and art — click PLAY on the video above to experience it yourself.

Migrant workers depicted in Director Claudia Meza’s A/VEC short film — premiered at Marmoset Headquarters.

Migrant workers depicted in Director Claudia Meza’s A/VEC short film — premiered at Marmoset Headquarters.


Posted on December 12, 2018 and filed under Community, Marmoset, Music, Shared Work, Spotlight: Marmoset, Filmmaking.

The New Festival Changing How Feature Films Are Being Made

Several StudioFest finalists from left to right: David Siev, Millie Rose Heywood, Rolv Lyssand Bjørø, Anna Mikami, and Daniel V. Masciari (Photo credit:    StudioFest   )

Several StudioFest finalists from left to right: David Siev, Millie Rose Heywood, Rolv Lyssand Bjørø, Anna Mikami, and Daniel V. Masciari (Photo credit: StudioFest)

When one thinks of the pristine Catskill Mountains, a film festival isn’t necessarily the first thing to come to mind. But at the quaint but humbly stylish Graham & Co. hotel five filmmakers and five screenwriters assemble as StudioFest’s finalists. The weekend would wrap with only one director and one writer teaming up to create a full feature film through the festival’s support.

Festival judges and attendees (Photo credit: StudioFest)

Festival judges and attendees (Photo credit: StudioFest)

The thing about StudioFest is they’re paving a new path for the film community, their mission being solely for the gain of the artist.

Quick insight to the existing festival climate — best case scenario for many struggling directors is to get their short film accepted into a notable film circuit then hope and pray the right producers are in the audience. From there? From there, the horizon is littered with endless logistical hurdles before securing enough funding to make a feature length film.

So when Marmoset had the chance to partner with StudioFest, we knew where we’d fit in — we’d have the privilege of working alongside the festival’s winners to create the ultimate soundtrack for their feature film.

Arriving Friday night, the festivities are already in motion. At the end of the gravel road, attendees are roasting marshmallows over a crackling bonfire. The heat mixes invitingly with the fresh upstate New York breeze, it’s hard not to feel at ease amidst the dense forest that meets all edges of the premises.

Tucked beyond pruned greenery, there’s an open field with a white tent and banquet styled picnic table in the distance. There’s bustling chatter as screenwriters, directors, judges, and organizers exchange stories over a candlelit meal. A projector plays Grease in the background.

The event’s co-founders Jess Jacklin and Charles Beale raise their glasses and make an introduction toast welcoming everyone, there’s a genuine warmness to them — it’s evident this festival is an extension of their generous, kindhearted nature. With industry experience and background in film production, both know too well the struggles and pitfalls of getting a film produced from start to finish, their advocacy then fueling the festival’s strides further.

No matter the conversation one is part of that night, everything comes back to the admiration behind what StudioFest is setting out to accomplish. There’s agreement how this marks a new generation for filmmakers, how this feels like leaping forward past common obstacles and arriving at the stage they’ve been ready for all along: making a feature length film and sharing it with others.


Congratulations to StudioFest winners Matthew Sorvillo and Anna Mikami, we’ll be working alongside their vision to craft an amazing soundtrack for their film. Stay tuned as we feature other upcoming filmmakers, their work, and the music behind their movies.

Posted on September 28, 2018 and filed under Filmmaking, Community, Marmoset, Music, Shared Work, Spotlight: Marmoset.