Brian Levin is a filmmaker who grew up in Gamber. He graduated from McDonogh School in Owings Mills in 1998.
When he was 11 years old, Levin entered the world of film making by making comedic videos with the neighborhood kids and his cousins. They were similar to “Saturday Night Live” sketches at the time.
At the same time, Levin was taking English at West Middle School from Richard Thompson who was a big influence in teaching Levin how to write. Thompson played music and gave us “story events and objects” to inspire us to write, Levin said. “That combination was good for me to learn about writing,” Levin said. He wrote epic tales of myths and legends, poems and fantastical types of stories.
Levin made films as a hobby. When he was 15 years old, he took summer courses at Boston University and the University of Miami in film making. That led him to gradually begin pursuing things more seriously.
Levin attended Towson University, majoring in mass communications. While at the university, he wrote and produced a comedy show called “Pre-Game” shown on the Towson Television station owned by the University.
“At that point I was also getting interested more in cinema and artistic film makers such as P.T Anderson, who wrote and directed ‘There Will Be Blood,’ ‘Magnolia’ and ‘Boogie Nights,’ ” Levin said. He also likes Coen Brothers, who wrote and directed “The Big Lebowski” and “Fargo.”
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Levin attended graduate school at American University to study film making. While there he wrote screen plays and made short films. Levin wrote a script called “Anna” that was about a small town and a few characters who were in love with each other before they went off to college. It was about how they dealt with that time in their lives and that situation. He graduated with an master’s in Film Making.
In 2005, Levin moved to New York City and made comedy videos with a friend to put online before YouTube became an internationally known phenomenon. Levin and his friend were scouted by Broadway Video, owned by Lorne Michaels, who created “Saturday Night Live.”
Then the pair made a deal with Time Warner to create content for a digital network. Levin and his partner created a number of short-form comedy videos for the Time Warner website. This led to them signing with United Talent Agency, one of the largest talent agencies in Los Angeles.
Once in L.A., Levin and his partners began writing and producing content for production companies, television networks and movie studios including Ron Howard’s company “Imagine Entertainment,” Disney, Lions Gate, Comedy Central, Spike, and Nickelodeon to name a few over the past 10 years.
In 2016, Levin wrote and produced “Flock of Dudes,” a comedy in the spirit of a Judd Apatow film such as “Knocked Up,” “Bridesmaids” and “Trainwreck.”
“Flock of Dudes” came out theatrically through Starz and streaming on Hulu. Some of the talent in the movie include Kumail Nanjiani who is in the “Big Sick” and was nominated for an Oscar for writing it. He is also in an HBO show called “Silicon Valley.”
Other well-known personalities in “Flock of Dudes” are Hannibal Burress, known for being in “Broad City” and the “The Eric Andre Show” on television. Ray Liotta, Hilary Duff, Mario Lopez and Marc Maron are also in it. Today you can see Levin’s movie on other forms of media such as cable, iTunes and Amazon.
Currently, Levin plans to make his next film in Union Bridge. It will be an art house movie, meaning it is something you would see at Sundance or the Charles Theater, smaller artistic venues.
“This film is me getting back to my original roots in filming,” Levin explained. “I like cinema with great aesthetic scenes. Carroll County and Union Bridge in particular have the look of the particular story I want to tell. The title is ‘The Land.’ ”
Levin plans to shoot the movie at the end of summer. He is currently building relationships with arts, business and technology people in order to produce a few films a year in Maryland.
“Filmmaking allows me to think about and examine things that interest me. For example, why people do what they do. It also allows me to explore larger existential questions about life, perception and society,” he said.