One-on-one with Josh Cohen: 'Capturing the Essence of New York Through Film'
Los Angeles based filmmaker, commercial director, and photographer Josh Cohen is making waves in the world of cinema. Josh's most recent film, "New York is Expensive, Melinda is Cheap," secured a place as an official selection at the prestigious Super Shorts New York Film Festival in 2023. In this exclusive interview, Josh shares his journey in filmmaking, the challenges he faced, and his vision for the future of cinema.
Tell us a bit about your most important film so far.
Josh Cohen (JC): Every film I create is a step on my learning journey. While my early works were more art-focused and abstract, my recent projects are taking on a more narrative structure. "New York is Expensive, Melinda is Cheap" is a culmination of this transition, incorporating a more traditional storytelling approach while maintaining my unique style.
What were the key challenges making it?
JC: The most significant challenge was dealing with multiple locations, many of which were secured without proper permits. This required a tiny but dedicated crew, including my DP Peter Steusloff and actor Chloe Troast, who showed remarkable dedication throughout the project.
What’s one aspect that you’re particularly proud of?
JC: The playful and loose atmosphere we cultivated on set. This film is a personal reflection on my time in New York as a struggling artist in my twenties, and it allowed us to capture the essence of the city in a unique way.
How did you get involved in filmmaking?
JC: My journey into filmmaking was a bit unconventional. I initially studied marine biology before switching to design. While in design school, I started creating small videos for creative problem-solving and personal enjoyment. Over time, this evolved into the filmmaking work I do today.
What new projects are you working on or are you hoping to work on in the future?
JC: I have several projects in the pipeline. These include a series centered around a pet shop, a short film exploring the lives of teenage security guards, and a documentary focused on the journey of self-discovery.
What role do film festivals play?
JC: Film festivals serve as vital platforms for filmmakers to connect with like-minded individuals, build a community, present their work to audiences, and break free from the isolation of creating in solitude.
What is your advice to filmmakers tackling the festival circuit?
JC: Create work that genuinely resonates with you, rather than what you think you should make. Authenticity shines through in your projects.
Which filmmaker do you admire and why?
JC: I'm a fan of the Coen brothers. While not every film they make may be to my taste, they excel at blending comedy and drama seamlessly, creating layered narratives beneath the surface.
What film have you recently seen that you have admired in one way or another?
JC: "Good Will Hunting" is a film I revisit several times a year. It brilliantly combines an indie filmmaking vibe with a Hollywood package. Gus Van Sant's masterful work in this movie strikes a chord with me, whether due to nostalgia or its inherent charm.