Ben Makinen is an independent award-winning filmmaker, producer, composer, and recording artist. He is the founder and president of the record label Bmakin Music and of the film production company Bmakin Film. In 2020 he founded the International Modern Film Alliance (IMFA) offering workshops around the world to "teach and promote the art of storytelling through the marriage of music and film."
Make a donation today and help Ben continue to make films and offer workshops that educate and entertain! Short films from his IMFA workshops held in Bali, Indonesia can be seen on YouTube by clicking on this sentence!
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“Thank you so much for supporting artists, especially during a pandemic that has seen the entire gig economy upended, leaving many in this industry unemployed,” Ben Makinen.
His first feature length documentary film, JazzTown, is currently on the 2021 film festival circuit and has won "Best Director Documentary Feature" at the San Diego Movie Awards festival, "Best Picture" at the Rome Movie Awards festival, and the Critic's Choice Award in the World Film Carnival-Singapore and has been selected as a Finalist in both the Fourth Dimension Independent Film Festival in Bali and the Europa Film Festival in Barcelona, while garnering Official Selections at the International Symbolic Film Festival (St Petersburg, Russia), the IndieFEST Film Awards, CKF Film Festival (UK), Thinking Hat Fiction Challenge, Logcinema Music Film Festival, and The Rome Movie Awards.
Ben's short film Anthropocene is a finalist in the 2021 Cosmo Genetics Film Fest in Saint Petersburg, Russia; and 2019 Official Selections of both the Nederland International Film Fest and the EFPalooza Film Fest in Colorado, USA.
Makinen's short sci-fi thriller, The Mission, is a 2021 Finalist in the Fourth Dimension Independent Film Festival, and an Official Selection in the 2021 World Independent Film Awards and was an Official Selection in the 2020 EFPalooza Film Festival
One of Makinen's more recent Music Videos, "Hypomania", was selected as a 2021 Finalist at the Fourth Dimension Independent Film Festival as well!
Ben Makinen received the award for Best Sound Design in the 2019 Nederland International Film Festival as the director of the music video Alone At Sunset.
Makinen is a Grammy voting member of The Recording Academy, having joined their Producers & Engineers Wing in 2013.
The Emerging Filmmaker’s Project chose Ben’s short film The Mission as an Official Selection of the 2020 EFPalooza Film Festival. The Mission is also a 2021 Finalist at Bali's Fourth Dimension Independent Film Festival!
Ben received the award for Best Sound Design in the 2019 Nederland International Film Festival as the director of the music video Alone At Sunset.
The Emerging Filmmaker's Project awarded Ben a 2019 EFP Official Selection for his short film Anthropocene.
Ben Makinen founded the International Modern Film Alliance in March of 2020. The IMFA’s mission is to teach and promote the art of modern storytelling through the marriage of music and film. He has begun workshops in Bali, Indonesia in partnership with The Bali International Film Festival: Balinale.
JAZZTOWN & Filmmaker Ben Makinen Featured In Westword:
Born in Maine, Ben grew up in California, Washington, and Oklahoma before graduating high school in Colorado.
Seeing Miles Davis perform live three times and then meeting the Dalai Lama in person forever changed the way Ben would approach the art of music and film~with honesty, strength, beauty and compassion.
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, and on international cruise ships.
On the jazz stages he has drummed for Red Holloway, Javon Jackson, Brad Leali, Art Lande, Greg Gisbert, jazz bag piper Duke Payne, Hazel Miller, Billy Tolles, Billy Wallace, and Joe Bonner, Teresa Carroll ... He has performed as a percussionist with the Central City Opera, the Colorado Symphony, and the Colorado Chamber Players.
Makinen composed the score to the short film Strong Tea directed by Kelly McAllister, and has composed and performed music for his films JazzTown, Anthropocene, & The Mission.
Ben is the producer of the latin-jazz album Fishleather Jacket which received the Roger Bobo Excellence In Recording Award in June of 2006.
Songs from Fishleather Jacket are now featured in Makinen's 2022 short film titled Who Killed Jazz.
Ben is also a 2006 Independent Music Awards Finalist- Film/TV-Multimedia for his song 6AM.
His songs can be downloaded from all major digital music vendors including iTunes and Rhapsody. As a leader and sideman, Makinen has performed on over 100 recordings.
A few of the CDs he has produced: Area 15 Live , Lost Lullaby , December , Fishleather Jacket , Rekha , Anything Goes! , Tenderly , The Goliath Beetle & The Ladybug ...
He has also produced a DVD of traditional african dance and music featuring David Gweshe's troupe Boterekwa from Zimbabwe.
Ben Makinen's short films are found on YouTube!
Makinen maintains a busy schedule producing, composing and performing music and editing and directing film and music videos.
Ben's recent acting pursuits have landed him a role in the zombie movie Lucky Stiff. He is also cast as a masked alien in Magnets, a film by Alan August. In the early 80s, as a teenager living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Ben was cast as an extra in Francis Ford Coppola's film the Outsider's. Ben has also written a children's story on the adventures of two turtles named Chim & Chum.