Born in Phoenix, Arizona and raised by immigrant parents from China and Japan, Mari has always been drawn to stories that celebrate and examine identity, multiculturalism, and diversity.
After completing her Masters at the Royal College of Music in 2019, Funabashi continued to work in London, working closely with production houses Far Away Films and 84 East.
Since then she has composed for many award-winning films, particularly enjoying providing thoughtful and nuanced underscores for films that center around the human condition, although she would never say no to bombastic superhero themes with french horn solos.
Curious and creative by nature, Funabashi often mixes sound design with her musical underscores in order to create truly unique pieces of work that are inseparable from the films they were created for.
Beyond music, Mari is a dedicated outdoors enthusiast, and can be found participating in ultra-endurance cycling trips as well as competing in triathlons. Having found outdoor movement after the difficult passing of her father in 2015, introverted Mari finds the long and solo hours of ultra-endurance sports comforting—a quiet and safe space to check-in with herself.
Her most recent events include a solo bike packing trip from London to Scotland in 2020 (430 miles), the half-ironman distance Castle to Coast Triathlon in 2021 (totalling 81.2 miles) and her 24-hour Manchester to London attempt in 2022 (she made it to 177 miles).
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Who is Mari?
Growing up in Arizona in the USA
Working as a film composer
Living in the South of England, for the past 6 years
Getting into the outdoors in 2016 after the death of her father
Her childhood was very focused on music
Learning music and playing; piano, guitar, pipe organ, flute, french horn and clarinet
Feeling lucky to have connected with the outdoors when she was older
Living in New York City as an introverted person
Starting to go on long walks which turned into running
Wanting to physically move her body forward
Starting to run with friends and finding it enjoyable
Finding triathlon and signing up to race in 2016
Preferring the longer distances
Moving to the UK in 2017
Use a bike to commute on
Getting into ultra distance cycling during covid
Using running to process thoughts
Feeling calm while moving her body and being able to connect with herself on a deep level
Starting to do a few solo bike-packing trips
Not thinking about distance, but rather time on the time
Deciding to cycle from London to Scotland
Using Strava to plan the route
Having trust in herself to take on this challenge
How the challenge helped to boost her confidence
“I could probably do it and if I can’t that’s fine, I’ll figure it out someway or another”
24hr Manchester to London attempt in 2022
Making it to 177 miles
The lessons learned from the experience and trying again
Wanting to break the 200 mile mark
Working on a film called - Beyond Words
Working with Play Outdoors Productions - Diversity-focused film collective
Combining art music and the outdoors
Composing music while outdoors
The goal with creating the film
Running a crowd funder and raising the £3K needed to cover the film costs
How to connect with Mari
Final words of advice for women who want to get into bike packing
Struggling to get back on the bike after going through a breakup
Women supporting women
Being supposed and encouraged by women only Facebook Groups
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