Jimmy Marbles’ latest film, What on Earth, a short that highlights the complexities and anxieties of living in the digital world through analog spaces, premiered on Nowness Friday, September 15th. The director’s enthusiasm for weaving together stories left-of-the-middle serves him well with this over-the-top comedy that infuses his singular personality into each frame. 

“Short films are my favorite,” says Marble. “They allow me to experiment with new ideas and really use film as a medium of self-expression.”

What On Earth probes into the modern day’s relationship with social media as it follows madcap Zizi and her absurd attempts to abate trauma, isolation, and self-doubt with a social media account dedicated to marbled smoothies. But first, she has to patch things up with her roommate (a table lamp), spend some time with her imaginary boyfriend, and, well, actually be able to leave her apartment without having a nervous breakdown.

Always resonating with his film’s storyline and characters on a molecular level, Marbles’ connection to What On Earth is palpable. Written in a stream-of-consciousness manner that reads slightly autobiographical, the filmmaker hopes to have the audience reflect on its considerable need to be seen and loved consistently. He asks what happens when faced with the reality that none of it is tangible. What can happen to the human psyche as coping mechanisms and true, actual interaction resources dwindle?

Everyone’s experience with isolation during the global pandemic aside, in Jimmy Marble’s estimation, Zizi is all of us: 

She is just trying to survive.
She is just trying to break through. 
She is trying NOT to break down. 
She is simply trying to be whole. 
Whatever it takes. 

Aside from writing and directing the film, always closely involved with every production aspect, Marbles was responsible for the casting and even chose the music. Many of the film’s other participants were people he has always loved working with. Still, it was also his first opportunity to work on a scripted narrative with Golden LA, just after joining their roster for commercial representation. The multidisciplinary creative studio gave Marbles carte blanche for the film: “Collaborating with top-level producers who understand where I’m trying to come from creatively and who help me execute my wild ideas at a high level is a blessing.” Marbles stated. 

With his fresh take on pop culture and modern times surrealism, Jimmy’s portfolio includes commercial shorts for Target, Coca-Cola, and Marc Jacobs. Each project faithfully serves up a unique perspective with adept storytelling at its core. 

“My hope for most things I create is not only to highlight absurdity,” says Marble, “But also how beauty, sadness, and fragility are all happening simultaneously. You know what we’re all going through. Like all the time.”

Watch (or embed) the film here: https://vimeo.com/858767820