Credibility of ‘Mother’s Day Memories’ story inspired me to direct the film, says Matthew Michael Ross
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Toronto/Canadian-Media: An award-winning writer-director and editor, Matthew Michael Ross, a member of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), worked for SONY Pictures and did projects for other studios. His films were nominated at Cannes and Tribeca and won the Beverly Hills Film Festival.
Asha Bajaj, Editorial-Director of Canadian-Media had an opportunity to discuss with Ross through e-mail his inspiration to direct the film, ‘Mother’s Day Memories (MDM),’ the challenges faced by him and how he got over these.
Matthew Michael Ross. Image credit: Facebook page
Asha Bajaj: What motivated you to direct the short film, ‘Mother’s Day Memories’?
Ross: What motivates me to direct any project is the story and the intention. MDM has a story worth telling and the intention is to create awareness of Alzheimer’s. Bill Hoversten came to me with the project and its authenticity intrigued me. We kept it authentic and from the heart.
Mother's Day Memories. Image credit: Facebook page
What were the main challenges that you faced in directing the short film, ‘Mother’s Day Memories’?
As an independent director, challenges always arise due to a lack of funds. As a result. we are forced to choose only those locations that we can afford, set decorations, and purchase equipment according to our budget If there were no budget restrictions, most challenges would be more creative in nature. We had some of those, but not too many. The cast and crew were great and worked very hard to make this film.
You are an award-winning writer/director and editor. Please tell me what inspired you to these roles?
I’ve always had high concept ideas, many of which I would verbally pitch to producers. But writing is where you explore the concepts in detail, and I have done that numerous times. As a director, I am always inspired by other great directors and films. I like being at the helm of a project and having my vision come to life. I never actually aspired to be an editor, but after firing my first editor, I learned everything I could about telling the story through editing and started getting hired to edit projects. Overall, I am inspired by storytelling and great characters.
Concept exploration. Image credit: Wikipedia
Name a few highlights in your career as a writer, editor, and director.
Being nominated at Cannes and going there was definitely a highlight. Winning my first editing award was fun. And selling my script concept and becoming a member of WGA was another highlight. I’ve also enjoyed speaking on industry panels and talking in front of schools. Getting to direct a film is a highlight any day.
Cannes Festival. Image credit: Twitter handle
You also worked for SONY Pictures and did projects for other studios. Please name a few and tell me a little bit of each.
In most of my work with the major Hollywood studios I was as an editor, and always related to trailers, electronic press kits, and promos. So, you don’t really get credit for that. But let’s just say that I worked on some major blockbusters.
You have a great passion for TV series. Can you name a few and also your best performance till now?
I’ve created a few series including one on YouTube called S.K.C. that has over 275,000 views and counting. If you’re referring to my acting, when I was a kid, I was on a few series including “Saved by the Bell,” “Life Goes On,” and “New York Undercover.” I recently did a few commercials. My best performance is still to come.
Do you write, edit and direct all the projects yourself?
I’ve done both. I get hired to edit projects and to write scripts and punch up ones already written. I’ve been offered to direct other people’s projects but have only done one so far.
Your films have been nominated at Cannes, Tribeca, and have won the Beverly Hills Film Festival, and have played in cities around the world. Please name a few with a brief description of each.
“Food for Thought” was nominated at Cannes. “Desperation Highway” played at Tribeca. “A Package for Me” won Beverly Hills. There are many others but I’d have to research them. MDM has won and been nominated 8 times, I think. Oh, two of my films were screened in Korea and I had flown there twice to speak on panels and to do Q&As.
Desperation Highway. Image credit: filmaffinity.com
Have you ever produced a film? If so, which were those, and what challenges did you have to face?
Most of the projects I directed, I also produced. I think the challenges are the same, funds. The more you have, the easier it is. They say that out of these three things: fast, cheap, and easy, you can have two out of the three. If you want it fast and easy, it’s not going to be cheap. You get the point.