The Feature Film To Be: Meet the Matanicks

Team "Removed" on the Red Carpet (8/10/13)

We caught up with the 168 Film Festival Grand-Prize-Winning-Couple, Nathanael and Christina Matanick recently to get an idea of who they are and their perception of  "Removed's" success (and an up to $1 Million film budget).  

We will conduct an in-depth interview with them at our Sat, Sept. 21st L.A. event where writers can pitch their scripts and ideas.  The event is from 1pm to 6pm.  Sign up here.  

Writers may send a 1-sheet on their film to stories@168project.com.  Completed scripts are preferred.

You can watch many of the films on DVD or online by joining the 168 Film Project as a Premium Member.  Click Here for DVDs and Donations.  Click here for Membership 

Note that both partners answered questions as noted, jdw.

How did you learn your craft? 
It all started in elementary school, after I watched “Jurassic Park.” I was, and still am, obsessed with that film and all things Spielberg. Since then, it was all self-taught, thanks to tutorials online and mentoring under filmmakers better than me. - Nathanael

Did u always know you'd be an artist?
I’ve always wanted to make films, if I wasn’t doing film, I have no idea what else I would be doing.  - Nathanael

What was the genesis of the award-winning story “Removed?”
Nathanael and I were in foster parent training and as part of that, we watched a slideshow of sentences kids in care have said about what they wish grownups knew about how it feels to be a foster kid. After that, we said to each other--wow, I wonder if we could make our 168 film somehow tie into this concept: what it feels like for the child. So I did a bunch of research on the emotional experience/perspective of the child and then when we got our verse, I started writing the story and voice over. - Christina

Where did you find Abby?
She was our neighbor! She lived in a condo a few doors down, and we had watched her play guitar in our courtyard with other friends. Nathanael saw her performance ability plus her personality seemed like it could work on film, and he knew whatever film we made for 168, he wanted to use her in it. After we had our verse and screenplay, Nathanael, Abby, and her dad Andy went up to his in-home office to practice. – Christina

Did you think you were going win best film?
We wanted to make the very best film possible, and hopefully be good enough to screen at the festival.  We also wanted the film to be used by foster agencies. Our hopes grew as we got the nominations (13). But no, we didn’t think we were gonna win. - Christina

What do you want people to know about you?
We’re very globally-minded, and our faith in Christ is what unites and drives us. Also, we have two amazing kids. - Both
So writers can learn what to pitch to you, what was your favorite film (other than your own)?
One memorable one was “The Good Thief” (Logline: Temptations are many, even after prison).  I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.  I felt like the filmmakers trusted the audience to figure it out, without having to totally spell it out. It also looked and felt great.  I love films that can create a mood, and “The Good Thief” did that. - Nathanael
My favorite (other than our own) was “Fin Del Ano" (Logline: Sometimes, within the most gentle spirit beats the heart of a champion).  I loved the issue it addressed and the way in which it felt so redemptive and hopeful. It also tied in fabulously with their verse, I thought. And my other favorite was “Make” (A Hip Hop artist-turned-Pastor saves lives on skid row). – Christina
High praise indeed for some of the other "168" films, which can be seen on the “Best of 168” DVD.  You can watch many more of the films online by joining the 168 Film Project as a Premium Member.  Click Here for DVDs and Donations.  Click here for Membership