Brent Joseph is an award-winning writer & director whose work runs the gamut from highly-stylized imaginary worlds to social issue documentaries. His most recent film, Beirut on the Bayou (New Orleans Film Festival 2019) tells the story of Brent’s Lebanese family who worked as peddlers in South Louisiana’s Cajun communities during the early 20th century. It reveals a little-known chapter of early Arab-American immigration to the U.S. In Holdout and A Loud Color, Brent created two unique portraits of his hometown of New Orleans, as residents grappled with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The films played at over twenty festivals, museums and universities from Los Angeles to Paris (AFI, Full Frame, Rooftop Films, Slamdance and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University).
Brent’s fiction work includes, Bullfrogs, a transgressive re-telling of the damsel-in-distress story that was shot in black & white 16mm film deep in the Louisiana swamp. Mirza the Miraculous, a story about phony prophets told with kaleidoscopic lo-fi-visuals, includes a cosmos constructed out of abstract paintings by artist Iva Gueorguieva as well as an analog electronic score by organist and inventor, Quintron. Both films premiered at the New Orleans Film Fest. Bullfrogs also screened at NewFest, NYC’s oldest and largest LGBTQ film festival.
BEIRUT ON THE BAYOU (excerpt)
Lebanese author, Raif Shwayri, travels to Louisiana to trace the life of his grandfather who worked as a peddler serving the Cajuns on Bayou Lafourche in the early 20th century.
Based on the book of the same title by Raif Shwayri
Music by Brian Prunka
Set against the stark and surreal landscape of a desolate New Orleans, Holdout is a portrait of a man who refused to leave his home before or after Hurricane Katrina in order to care for his eighteen pets.
Footage from this film was used in Spike Lee's When the Levee's Broke and Court 13's Here and Now series for Time Magazine.
A LOUD COLOR
While sorting through the debris of the African American community center he opened one month before it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, 72-year-old Louis Harding talks about history and heroes and why he can't give up on his lifelong dream.
Songs by Champion Jack Dupree
Produced by NOVAC
Distributed by Media That Matters
Available on Netflix
FICTION & EXPERIMENTS
A scavenger finds a body in the swamp. Moss is set on fire. The horror of being alive dissolves into a loving embrace. We might be seeing the beginning of a new life or perhaps a nightmare that endlessly repeats itself.
Starring Paul Soileau & Llewyn Máire
Music by Curtis Heath
CREATURES OF THE INTERSTATE
An anecdote about meeting a retired Texas oil man drinking and gambling his way home to Houston. This true story takes place in the wake of the 2016 presidential election and paints a picture of an anxious gridlocked country as seen from the bumpy roads and polluted air of West Louisiana.
MIRZA THE MIRACULOUS
An experimental short film incorporating abstract art, dustbuster spaceships, gibberish voices, remnants of Mardi Gras costumes and analog electronic music. This kaleidoscopic movie was originally shot on the Texas-Mexican border in 1999, but was abandoned due to technical difficulties. The project was revived 15 years later by a successful Kickstarter fund-raising campaign.
Starring Paul Soileau (aka Christeene)
Artwork by Co-Star Iva Gueorguieva
Music by Quintron
Soundtrack available on iTunes
Vinyl available through Ameoba Music
An early, VHS, mash-up of Stanley Kubrick's film of Stephen King's book The Shining cut to Sonic Youth's cover of the Carpenters' version of the Leon Russell–Bonnie Bramlett song “Superstar.”