Experiencing Interruptions?

The Sound of Brighton

The pandemic had an unprecedented impact on the music industry, transforming Brighton from a place with gigs on every night into a city where music quietened down. The start of the pandemic saw a surge in community-led efforts to save the industry through initiatives like #SaveOurVenues. People within and outside the industry called for support, but where are these voices now, a year and a half later? The challenges of the music industry have been made invisible. This short documentary challenges this through telling the powerful stories of Brighton’s musicians.

The film explores the experiences of people in the industry, from undergrad music students to freelance sound engineers. It captures the challenges of the music industry over the past year and portrays the tightly knit community that is so typical of Brighton. Guided by the contributors’ music, the film showcases their challenges as well as where they find hope.

  • Emma Bouterse
  • Moon Hwan Lee
  • Emma Bouterse
  • Moon Hwan Lee
  • Emma Bouterse
  • Moon Hwan Lee
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Music, documentary, covid, pandemic, live music
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 25 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 18, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of Sussex
Director Biography - Emma Bouterse, Moon Hwan Lee

<Emma Bouterse>
A starting filmmaker and photographer, Emma has worked on projects on activism against gender-based street harassment (We Won’t Dress Down, 2021) and a short film on the music industry during covid (The Sound of Brighton , 2021). After finishing an MA in Development Studies at the Institute of Development Studies in 2020, she is now pursuing a degree in Media Practice for Development and Social Change. She lives in Brighton, UK but is originally from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Her main interests are women’s empowerment, participatory processes and creative practices for individual and collective change. Through her work she hopes to construct narratives that truly represent the stories of those involved in her projects.

<Moon Hwan Lee>
As a student studying Media Practice for Development and Social Change in University of Sussex, Moon completed his first multimedia project about veganism, 'Anyway Vegan(2020)' which includes a short firm 'Veganism Can Be Colourful'. His second project was a film about music industry during the pandemic, The Sound of Brighton(2021), which is a result of his passion for music.

He was born and grew up in Seoul, Korea and lived in Myanmar before he came to the UK. His next film will be about Burmese people in the UK protesting against the military coup in Myanmar.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Lee and Bouterse found each other through their love of music during their course in Media Practice for Development and Social Change. Having lived in Brighton for the past three years, Emma observed the absence of music in the city. Moon had only seen Brighton through the eyes of a covid-ridden world. The directors, as appreciators of music, became curious about the daily reality of musicians in this new normality, and The Sound of Brighton was born. If the directors already felt the gaping hole that the absence of music left in their lives, they could only imagine what people in the industry must be going through.

„ ...when we put out a call for musicians in Brighton to share their stories, we were met with an unprecedented amount of responses. People were eager to share their experiences, their passion and their talent. We were thrilled to become a part of their experience through audiovisual storytelling. The Sound of Brighton originally aimed to just portray the challenges of these people. It became so much more. It was only when we really started listening to Joe, Martha, Annie and George that we realised their connections through each other in the tight-knit community of Brighton.”

Music plays a central role in the human experience. It allows us to relate to each other, to connect to our innermost feelings, to make sense of what we cannot describe with words alone. The musicians in this film intricately weave together a story on the value of music in our society. Through overcoming the hardships of the past year with resilience, creativity in adaptation and a commitment to their community, they found inspiration and hope.

The Sound of Brighton will take you on a journey from absence to presence, from challenge to inspiration, and from isolation to togetherness.