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Featured Filmmaker Paul Matian

October 8, 2010 | By | Add a Comment

Jessica Green

The only thing I could think about after my tour of the Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy was how much I wished it was around when I graduated high school. I had just finished up my interview with Senior In-House Producer Paul Matian, and was lucky enough to get a behind the scenes look at the school. A two-year program for high school graduates, Tribeca Flashpoint is a hands-on institution that prepares students for careers in the filmmaking industry. Fitted with state of the art editing equipment, screening rooms and lecture halls, this school is any inspiring filmmaker’s dream.

Paul Matian

When I arrived, Matian was finishing up editing an interview he conducted with Philip Seymour Hoffman, who discussed his new film that he directed and starred in called “Jack Goes Boating.” Matian is himself a filmmaker, as well as a producer and editor. He has been in the video production business for 15 years, and has recently finished making a music video for local artist Serengeti which was featured on Q101.com and chicagosuntimes.com. Matian also edited films such as 2009’s “October Surprise,” and “The Intruder,” and wrote, directed and produced 2008’s “They Can Sleep,” which was featured in the Midwest Independent Film Festival. His full reel and contact can be found at paulmatian.blogspot.com.

Matian is a Chicago native, and had a lot to say about Chicago’s filmmaking scene, calling it “vibrant.”

“The [filmmaking] community here is so small that everyone bans together. It’s a big city, but small production community where the people are sincere, hardworking and real,” he said.

He also pointed out the great resources available to the people in that production community. The Midwest Independent Film Festival is dedicated only to those who shoot their movies in the Midwest, making it a great source for networking. Another excellent resource that Matian shared is ifpchicago.org, a non-profit organization that has been serving Chicago’s film community for over 20 years. Along with helping to produce the Chicago Underground Film Festival, IFP/ Chicago holds an annual Production Fund Competition, where members can apply to win a $100,000 grant worth of goods and services for their production. Kodak donates film, Fletcher Chicago donates camera equipment and Black Cat Productions offers their post-production services to name a few.

Along with the number of festivals and resources that make Chicago’s filmmaking scene so promising is the 2009 tax incentive. According to the Chicago Tribune, it offers a 30 percent tax credit for filmmakers that shoot in Chicago. Matian stated that not only does this help bring films to Chicago, it creates jobs for many inside and outside of the business such as carpenters and drivers.

When it comes to watching and distributing videos, Matian utilizes shortfilms.com, where you can share, watch and upload videos. He also shared a newer website named the Film Culture Circuit, which calls itself the “social hub of the film culture.” If you join the site you’re able to create your own page and upload videos.

Matian also uses the more popular sites for sharing and watching films, such as YouTube and Vimeo.

“YouTube has a much larger audience [than Vimeo],” he said. “It gets everything out there, and the playback is much quicker- you don’t have to wait for the videos to load if you’re impatient.”

However Matian prefers Vimeo to YouTube.

“The content is better on Vimeo,” he said. “It’s geared more towards art and filmmakers.”

One way that Matian finds what’s good on Vimeo is by subscribing to different channels, and is especially a fan of the “Staff Picks,” which he says is a good way to find funny videos and ones of higher production value.

Viral videos are opening doors for filmmakers and performers. Matian says he knows of at least one filmmaker who made a low budget viral video that was discovered by a major studio in Hollywood and received a $30 million deal to make a feature. He also said that Serengeti, the Chicago rapper previously mentioned, had his first video go viral and received over 100,000 hits.

Along with doing everything you can to get your name out there, Matian suggests to aspiring filmmakers to make sure that they are prepared when first starting out.

“With my first film, I was way too ambitious. I under-estimated how much time it would take, and in the end I was running around unorganized,” he said. “It was my fault, I thought I could shoot six pages a day. After that I learned to take more time to plan and prepare. Mistakes are your greatest teacher, and they can really be a blessing in disguise.”

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