Ben Makinen


Emerging Filmmakers Project

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
BM: I love filmmaking because it is lucid dreaming. 

Q: What are we going to see at EFPalooza? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
BMAnthropocene is a montage: footage shot throughout Colorado while making my documentarby Jazz Town (currently in post prod.). My intent was to have it serve as an interlude within Jazz Town, but by the time I finished editing it to the original music I wrote it had become too long for an interlude and begged to stand alone as a short. 

Q: What else are you working on?
BM: I am also shooting music videos and behind the scenes docs for various bands in Denver and Boulder through my film company Bmakin Film. I also write and produce music: recently did the score for Kelly McAllister’s short Strong Tea. More at my website 
I also work and teach as a drummer: I play drums every Monday night at Elchapultepec and every 4th Thursday I lead a jazz jam session at the Bear Creek Distillery. Every 2nd Thursday I play at the Golden Moon Speakeasy in Golden w local blues legend David Booker…

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
BM: I am working on a feature length film titled JazzTown. I have interviewed Dianne Reeves , Ron Miles, Art Lande and (former) Gov. Hickenlooper among many other local luminaries…This project began as a way of honoring my mentors who gave me a start as a jazz drummer here in Denver back in the 80s. As I collected interviews from my elders I realized I could encompass a broader spirit of jazz by expanding the film to all ages of musicians and thereby capture the tradition of passing the torch from one generation to the next as a way of keeping jazz alive. 

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
BM: One weird thing about me is that I did Tai chi with Francis Ford Coppola on the set of the Outsiders in Tulsa Oklahoma while working as an extra. The wrap party was epic…

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about EFPalooza or The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
BM: I am thrilled to have been invited into the fold by EFP. I look forward to growing with the film community here in Denver and I hope to build new friendships through making film.

Anthropocene will screen Saturday, February 23rd at 6:00 p.m. at The Bug Theatre as part of the Experimental & Animated Shorts block during the 2019 EFPalooza Film Festival.


Cinematically Jazzacious Ambient Bug Biff (Classitronical Punk) Why this name? It's a comfortable fit. Do you play live? I always play live! I am most alive when on the move: on the street, in the clubs, on stage and in the studio. When I teach I feel I am playing live... What is the most special moment you've had playing? One of the "most special moments" I've had playing live happened about 10 years ago: I was touring with a hard rockin' blues trio. We were booked at a polka festival in Rock Springs, Wyoming (our agent must've been on drugs...). We played four notes and everyone got up and left. Everyone except a toothpick-thin 10 year old girl and her hugely overweight mother. As the mother watched from a table this petit little girl in a dress walked to the center of the large and empty dance floor and began the most beautiful solo ballet performance imaginable. It was sureal and almost haunting to beat the drums with electric guitar bouncing wildly off of the hard walls and empty surfaces while this gentle young soul completely lost herself in dance on the deserted floor in an empty hall at a desolate truck stop of a town. Her biggest fan that night, beside her mother, was me! How, do you think, does the internet (or mp3) change the music industry? The internet is freedom. mp3s are to music what drum machines are to drums. Musicians are now able to make pennies off of their music and be heard around the world. People can now hear beautiful music from every part of the world with terrible fidelity (mp3s). There are now more empowered artists, who, while enjoying a larger fan base, will most likely remain poor. PS - I hope to be eating my words on that last point in 2 years... Would you sign a record contract with a major label? Show me the contract. I'll read it and let you know. Performer's History: Born in Maine, Ben grew up in California, Washington, and Oklahoma before graduating high school in Colorado. As a drummer and percussionist, he has been touring the world as a sideman since 1985 with r&b, funk, and rock bands, jazz trios and big bands, avant-garde electronica ensembles, in Broadway shows, on international cruise ships, and with opera troupes and symphonic orchestras. He is a 2006 Independent Music Awards Finalist in the Film/TV-Multimedia category. Makinen maintains a busy schedule producing and performing. He recently landed a role in the zombie movie Lucky Stiff. He is currently writing music for television and film. One of his many goals for 2006 is to complete production on a documentary film he has shot. Your influences? Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Babatunde Olatunji, my Mom, John Cage, Erik Satie, Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Lee Morgan, Albert Einstien, I Ching, Black and White Photography, Joe Zawinul, Elvin Jones, Alec Guinness, Duke Ellington, Louis Bellson, Nancy Wilson, Rolling Stones, James Brown, Pizza, Ojibwa Tribe, Tai Chi, Gene Krupa, Miyumoto Musashi, Indian Curry, Zakir Hussien, Toshiro Mifune, Louis Armstrong, Water, Dump Trucks, Crowds, Door Hinges, Cuckoo Clocks, Silly People and Sad People, Scary People and Happy/Mad People, etc... Favorite spot? The heart. Equipment used: What I don't use could be more interesting. Anything else...? I'd like to teach myself to type faster. I'd love to visit the Mariana Trench in a tiny sub, and I'd like to walk on the Moon. My dying wish would be to travel into a black hole with enough life left to see what happens.