“SAVING FACE” ONLINE!

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H’oh boy, the time has come! I am so damn happy to be releasing my latest directorial effort, SAVING FACE!

This film has an incredibly personal story to it for me, which I’ve shared further down the page, so for those of you who might be into that kind of thing, keep scrolling when you’re done watching.

SYNOPSIS: With the world watching, a mild-mannered pro-wrestler transforms into what he’s always fought against: the bad guy.

Ring the bell!

https://vimeo.com/107735653

CREW:
Writer / Director / Editor: Glen Matthews ( GlenMatthews.ca ), Producer: Andrew Hicks ( fairfield-creative.com/ ), Director of Photography: Liam Higgins ( jellyphresh.com/ ), Assistant Director: Ian Burns ( ianburns.sqsp.com/ ), Wardrobe / Costume Design: Bonnie Archibald-Awalt, Sound Design & Mix: Dave Johnson, Data Management: David Fulde.

CAST:
Red – Glen Matthews, Blue – Bob Mann, The Wife – Becca Babcock, Red Jr. – Ethan Beck, Boss – Kevin Gerrior, The Ref – Chris Fitzgerald, Manager – Ralph Walton-Bone Urquhart, Flatbed – Troy Merrick AKA Sexton Phoenix, Big Rig – Jason Collier AKA Lumber Jack Johnson, Kontra – Chris Cooke AKA The Big Picture, Slambo – Ryan Mader AKA Lincoln Steen.

…Things got pretty weird there, eh?

Those of you who know me are well aware that I have a long-standing obsession with professional wrestling. It started when I was a child, continued through my teens, then, after high school, I sold my car and moved to Moncton, New Brunswick to pursue training in the squared circle.

After a week of my grappler-education, I called home from a terribly depressing pay phone at a Moncton strip mall, telling my parents I was quitting wrestling. Why? Long story short: my body sucks (bad knees, bad back) and I knew I didn’t stand a chance if my body was crapping-out on me already. The dream was over before it even began.

After a bit of career-experimentation (ie. working at Bluenotes for a year), I eventually found my way to acting, which I really enjoyed, and people told me I was good at. Acting eventually lead to filmmaking, and eventually, thanks to SAVING FACE, filmmaking brought me back, full-circle, to professional wrestling…

Our shoot consisted of seven days of straight shooting. It was a gruelling process for all involved (I owe many people on that crew many beers). Our final three days of shooting were in the Halifax Forum, where we would be shooting all of the wrestling scenes.

We spent hours setting up the ring, exhausted, but knowing it had to get done before the next day, and when it was, I started running the ropes, and all of a sudden I just started laughing my ass off. It hit me like a ton of bricks: this was the very definition of a dream come true.

The next couple of days, we had four professional wrestlers come in, all of whom I sincerely respect (and have long admired); they worked with us, we worked with them, and I was in absolute heaven getting tossed around.

Honestly, I could go on for hours about how much making this film meant to me, but I just want to say thank you to everyone who had a hand in helping me get to whatever point in my career that I needed to be at to say, “Hey, I don’t know if anyone’s gonna dig this, but I’m gonna go make this weird wrestling film anyway.”

There’s a lot of you who’ve contributed to my career, either directing me in a short, handing me a water bottle between takes, or just saying something nice (don’t forget you wonderful people who donated to the Saving Face IndieGogo), thank you for playing a part in allowing me to live this dream.

On to the next one.

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“ROOM SERVICE” NOW ONLINE!

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After its extensive film festival run, ROOM SERVICE (2012), the first short film I wrote and directed, is now online for your viewing as part of The National Screen Institute’s Online Film Festival.

A woman (Vanessa Walton-Bone) confronts her husband’s mistress (Molly Dunsworth) in a motel room with unexpected results…

The film has had one heck of a journey, being a finalist for CBC’s national competition, Short Film Face-Off, being named First-Runner Up for Best Short Film at the Cleveland International Film Festival, and more, all for a short that was made for $750.

Very proud of this film, and all of the hard work that so many incredibly talented people put into it, so, if you haven’t had the chance yet, please take five minutes and enjoy ROOM SERVICE…

Late last year we unfortunately lost Vanessa Walton-Bone to cancer. She was an incredible performer and even more so an incredible person. If there was one thing I can take away from this experience and be thankful for, it’s the chance to have worked with a true beauty, in every possible meaning of the word. I’m thrilled to throw this film onto the giant pile of “things that Vanessa was awesome in”. Much love.

Hope I didn’t make you sad there. It’s a celebration.

Thanks for watching.

Link to the NSI’s page for ROOM SERVICE: http://www.nsi-canada.ca/2014/02/room-service/

AFF ROUND-UP

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Another year, another Atlantic Film Festival lineup release! For the 33rd annual AFF, my smug mug will be featured in five films! Four shorts (two of which I also produced), and a feature film. I’m a proud [metaphorical] poppa. Here’s a roundup:

BUNKER 6, feature film – September 14th at 9:45pm at Park Lane – This is Greg Jackson‘s feature film directorial debut that we shot inside of an actual nuclear fallout bunker in Debert, Nova Scotia. Incredible ensemble cast lead by the oh-so talented Andrea Lee Norwood. More info / tickets: http://atlantic.festivalgenius.com/2013/films/bunker6_gregjackson_atlantic2013

PRESENCE, short film – September 14th at 2:00pm as part of Atlantic Shorts 2 – Colin MacDonald and myself have been working together for a long time (see: our Video Difference commercial), so when Colin came to me with a really clever idea for a horror / psychological thriller, we teamed up and made it happen (I acted and produced). Super proud of this one. More info / tickets: http://atlantic.festivalgenius.com/2013/films/atlanticshorts2_atlantic2013_atlantic2013

PLAY AGAIN, short film – September 15th at 3:30pm & September 17th at 4:30pm as part of Atlantic Shorts 5 – Pat Campbell is a damn good man. This is a commonly known fact amongst many in the Halifax film community, so when the time came for Pat to direct his thesis film at NSCC, I was delighted to learn he had me in mind for a part in his pinball / Twilight Zone movie. More info / tickets: http://atlantic.festivalgenius.com/2013/films/atlanticshorts5_atlantic2013_atlantic2013

FOAM DRIVE RENEGADES and THE LUCKIEST MOST UNLUCKY MAN IN THE WORLD, short films – September 14th at 4:30pm & September 18th at 4:30pm as part of Atlantic Shorts 3 – Fresh off the heels of it’s world premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia Fest, Adam DeViller‘s FOAM DRIVE RENEGADES will drop it’s thug puppetry at Park Lane. Walter Forsyth‘s LUCKIEST, which I also produced, was my opportunity to finally play my own version of Mr. Bean, so yeah, I hope the bruises were worth it. More info / tickets: http://atlantic.festivalgenius.com/2013/films/atlanticshorts3_atlantic2013_atlantic2013

Each of these shorts programs are loaded with other shorts that I’m dying to see (I’m looking at you, Ashley McKenzie‘s STRAY), so take some time and have a look at the AFF’s program so far. The opening night gala is Don McKeller‘s THE GRAND SEDUCTION, which was shot in Newfoundland, starring Brendan frickin’ Gleeson. I’m all over that.

See you at the movies, nerds!

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2012

With today’s Oscar nominations, I thought it would be proper for me to ride the coat-tails of the Oscar’s excitement and yell at you about my favourite films from the past twelve months.

NUMBER TEN!
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10.
THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (Part 1): As many of you now know, I was less than thrilled with Christopher Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, don’t look for it anywhere on this list. His magic-Batman-dust had apparently lost its effect on me.

Cue THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS PART 1, DC Comics’ animated feature of Frank Miller’s incredible graphic novel.

After my disappointment in Nolan’s TDKR, this was the cinematic equivalent to a hail Mary with Batman as the QB (too early for sports analogies in the top 10?). Oh, and Peter Weller, also known as ROBO COP, voices Batman. Yeah. I know.

Part 2 is due out January 29th. Catch up, Batnerds!

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9. 
SLEEPWALK WITH ME: If a ringing endorsement from Joss Whedon himself wasn’t enough to get this film in front of everyone’s eyes, I hope this list can at least get a few of the stragglers.

Best film about or inspired by stand-up comedy I have ever seen.

*Available now on Canadian Netflix.

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Tie – 8.
THE MASTER & THE COMEDY: This year, the number eight slot is reserved for the two films that left me completely disoriented in their wake. I literally had difficulty forming a full sentence after THE MASTER (the sentence I was trying to form was “Hello, could I have a small double-double?”).

Both films put forth a buffet’s worth to chew on, their leading performances to begin with: Jaoquin Phoenix and (surprisingly) Tim Heidecker throw down two of my favourite performances of the year.

Both films also feel, like their main characters, incomplete, leaving you in a weird place once the credits roll. So that said, I obviously recommend THE MASTER and THE COMEDY for any and all first dates.

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7. Beasts of the Southern Wild: I wanted to start this off saying “Remember Quvenzhané Wallis’ name” but since it’s such a hard one to pronounce, I’ll forgive you if you don’t.

I often wince or get uneasy whenever a child performs. Usually because they suck. But once in a while, a child comes along and does what I try to do as a profession with such ease and conviction that it leaves me dumbfounded (that’s after a brief fury spell, of course).

Quvenzhané Wallis, you are officially on notice. I am trying to conjure up some sort of spell to steal your talents before you’re even aware of them. Oh, and congratulations on your film, it’s really magical ‘n’ stuff, I guess…

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6. GOON: Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, my favourite hockey movie of all-time, GOON. Written by Canadian royalty, Jay Baruchel (yes, that actor fella’) and directed by Michael Dowse (FUBAR, IT’S ALL GONE PETE TONG).

I had an active dislike for Seann William Scott‘s body of work going into GOON, and I am happy to say that I was in awe of the balancing act that he managed to pull off in GOON, which really elevated the film to a whole other (ice) level.

…You knew there were going to be puns on this list, right?

If there’s only one Canadian flick that I can guilt you into watching this year, I’d love for it to be this one.

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5. MOONRISE KINGDOM: In 2007, after watching THE DARJEELING LIMITED, I was a little bit worried that the haters may have been right: that Wes Anderson was nothing but weightless, ineffectual quirk.

After 2009’s THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX and this year’s MOONRISE KINGDOM, I am fully prepared to tell the haters to stuff a fluffy, pastel-coloured sock in their traps.

I’m sorry for almost turning my back on you, Wes. Never again.

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4. THE CABIN IN THE WOODS: Regardless of what I thought of a certain lacklustre cameo in this film, I thought the rest of CABIN was a damn near masterpiece combination of laughs and scares, with an insanely clever script that forces you to change the way you watch horror films. They went and hijacked an entire genre. Boom.

*Bonus points for casting Richard Jenkins.

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3. CLOUD ATLAS: That’s right, number 3. Not only did I like the film with the terrible (and possibly racist) race-bending make-up, I loved it.

It takes a certain level of audacity to put Hugh Grant in yellow face, a certain level of audacity that I absolutely admire. Luckily for my movie-viewing-self, I also happen to admire a whole lot more about CLOUD ATLAS, foremost, I admire the fact that I found myself rooting for an emotion, rather than characters.

Does that make sense?

Overall, CLOUD ATLAS felt fresh, sloppy, precise and careless all at the same time. I implore you to put away your cynic-hat and scoff-handbag for three hours and let CLOUD ATLAS work it’s magic on you.

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2. HOLY MOTORS: This here is the cinematic equivalent of being chewed up and spit out. The “Who When Where What Why” questions that are generally asked when watching a film are pointless here and maybe even downright selfish, robbing yourself of one of the wildest rides a film has had to offer in a damn long time.

Months later, I still catch myself coming up with different theories about what exactly was going on with this film, but in the end I don’t care. I just want to bask in it’s absurdity and let what comes come.

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1. THE AVENGERS: No, not really.

Did I getcha’?

Sorry, I had to make a joke before I threw some obscure Belgian film your way as my number one… Do you see how insecure I am in my pomposity?

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1. THE KID WITH A BIKE: It kind of bothers me to put this as my number one because it was technically released in 2011 in it’s native Belgium and France (2012 in North America), but it is absolutely the best film I watched in the past twelve months, head and shoulders above the rest.

I’ve been hearing rumblings about the Dardenne brothers from Belgium for years now, but had never tracked their films down. I have learned my lesson, and am promptly catching up on their films.

THE KID WITH A BIKE features yet another child performance that is deeply, deeply moving, matched by an incredible and deceptively broad story.

Last year, it thrilled me when people told me they caught up with MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE based solely on my recommendation. I hope I can do the same and persuade a few of you into catching up with this wonderful film. Do it.

Thanks, 2012! You were pretty great.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: THE IMPOSTER, ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, LOOPER, THE GREY, KLOWN, SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, SKYFALL, LIFE OF PI (in 3D, specifically) & KILLER JOE.

I DID NOT SEE: LINCOLN, AMOUR, ZERO DARK THIRTY, THE HOBBIT, OSLO AUGUST 31ST, PARANORMAN, SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN & WAR WITCH.

Had any differing opinions? Yell them at me in the comments section, I dares ya’!

THANKS AFF / LUNENBURG SCREENING!


Above, myself and Vanessa Walton-Bone, star of my short film ROOM SERVICE, glam it up at the Atlantic Film Festival’s closing gala held this past Thursday.

Why did it take me almost an entire week to trudge back to the computer and write a post thanking the AFF? Because I don’t know if I’ve ever been quite so exhausted in all of my life. Thank you AFF for testing the limits of human endurance.

Also: thank you AFF for featuring my directorial debut, ROOM SERVICE, n’ stuff. That was awfully nice of you.

Those of you who know me know just how much it meant for me to have this film play here in Halifax. For those of you who don’t know me, please know that Halifax is as much a part of me as anything could possibly be, and it means everything to me to share this film with my peers here in Halifax.

Thanks for the experience, AFF. Looking forward to many more.

In other ROOM SERVICE news, the film will be playing in my home-home-town of Lunenburg County next Wednesday and Thursday the 3rd and 4th of October at Empire Theatres Bridgewater as part of the Lunenburg County Film Series.

**I will be in attendance on Thursday evening, introducing the films and eating popcorn.**

I couldn’t have wished for a better 2012 release to be paired with as we’ll be playing before the ever-so-whimsical feature film BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, which I am madly in love with ever since seeing it last month.

Tickets are $8 and the screenings start at 7:00pm.

Here’s the Facebook Event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/447264695324035/

Until next time, wash up, ye’ stinkers!

Update – 10/3/12: I wanted to add a photo of the crew who helped make ROOM SERVICE. Left to right, my Cinematographer, Liam Higgins, my Producer, Andrew Hicks, meee, and my Assistant Director Ian Burns. And yes, I chose them all based solely on their gentlemenly good looks.

NEWS ROUNDUP


There you have it! Here (above) is the first still frame of myself as Gabe in Josh MacDonald‘s directorial debut, GAME, playing Saturday, September 15th as part of Atlantic Shorts 3! More screening info here.

Earlier this week, myself and Vanessa Walton-Bone, star of my short film ROOM SERVICE (playing the Atlantic Film Fest on the 18th), headed into the Haligonia studio to talk about our film…

Be sure to keep up to date with ROOM SERVICE on Facebook and Twitter as we should have some festival news to announce in the coming weeks.

Finally, The Atlantic Fringe Festival is currently upon us! I designed the poster for my dear friend, Kristin Slaney‘s BLUE MOONS & WAITING ROOMS (see below).

As of today, you still have four more opportunities to see the play and I highly, highly recommend that you do so.

One more bit of Fringe Fest fun: I’m performing as part of 7 DEADLY SINS: FROMMERS GUIDE TO HELL, written by Thom Fitzgerald. It’s an immersive, sight-specific theatre experiment where audience members encounter all of the seven sins, one by one. Tell ’em Greed sent ye’.

Click here for full Fringe schedule / info.

That’s all for now. My apologies for throwing a whole slew of info at you in one post, but this twenty minutes I’m taking to write this is just about the only “down time” I’ve had since returning to Halifax. I am blissfully exhausted. Onward!

ROLLER TOWN OPENS THE ATLANTIC FILM FEST!

Picnicface’s highly anticipated feature film, ROLLER TOWN will kick down the doors to start off the 31st Annual Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax next month! The film stars Mark Little, Kayle Lorette, George Basil, them Picnicface folks, as well as an appearance by myself (see headband above).

Picnicface is undoubtedly on all sorts o’ fire with their upcoming television series also set to debut August 31st on The Comedy Network (sneak preview episode – click here for more info).

September 15th, prepare yourself for the lulz.

Stay tuned to AtlanticFilm.com for ticketing and scheduling info!