Josie Portillo Breaks Into Hollywood with Jameson
Films are immersive experiences, creating fully packaged worlds where the audience can escape. Depending on the story, film is frequently used to examine our world even if it may feel like we’re visiting a new one. As we see ourselves from new angles, the lessons from the stories can bleed into our experience of our own lives and help us reach a new understanding.
In The Library Book, presented by Jameson First Shot 2015, a quiet conversation in a doomed library reveals the nature of reality and hope for the future. It was produced by Kevin Spacey's Trigger Street Productions as a result of winning Jameson’s First Shot competition. Thousands of filmmakers from around the world competed to produce their own short film starring Adrien Brody, and only three made it into production. As the sole winner from an American Filmmaker, Jameson needed an American illustrator to create the poster for the movie. So they picked Josie Portillo for her playful and accessible style.
The Library Book is in many ways about hope and where we find that hope. Either in other people, like Adrian Brody’s character finds in the Librarian, or in places like libraries that are filled with infinite stories of humanity. Josie was the perfect choice to illustrate the poster for this movie as she has her own history with institutions like libraries and bookstores. “They were a big part of my childhood,” she explains. “They were a big part of what inspired me to become an illustrator, too. I used to check out a lot of children’s books and my parents made sure I went to libraries a lot.”
At the premiere of these three short films in Paramount Studios, Hollywood, Josie was on hand to live illustrate their Step and Repeat. (For those who don’t know, “Step and Repeat” is the name for the backdrop you see on red carpets, they usually have logos of sponsors and the title of the film.) It’s rare that an artist gets to live draw at an event like a premiere, and it was Josie’s first time. She found that Jameson really supported her and her work. “It was a lot of fun,” she explains. “For the Step and Repeat I got to illustrate little bits of each movie and tying them together that way.” After all, each short film is a human tale, and Josie was there to find their central thread.