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Matthew WF Wells Talks About 'Footsteps'

Tell us about yourself. What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

It all started with a job as a deckhand on a super-yacht. This uniquely lead Matthew to the great city of San Francisco being gifted a formal education in film & advertising while at the same time gaining fundamental production experience by crewing & filming short films, music videos, feature films, commercials around different parts of California. Along with directing, producing & editing advertising content for creative agencies in both LA & SF for over five years.

Transitioning back to Australia in 2016. Matthew then slotted into production crews & worked on award-winning short films, tv shows & commercials. While at the time building a base of advertising, corporate & lifestyle TV clientele of his own leading to the launch of Good Well Productions in the Sydney market. Being a classically trained Cinematographer Matthew’s visual aesthetic can bring any story to life to accomplish agency & client expectations.

Talk about your last work. What are some of the challenges you faced during production?

I first met the voice of Shellie Morris on one hot summer's day standing in a crowded park for the Yabun Festival in Sydney. The two superb voices of Shellie & Djakapurra & a song they sang called Footsteps tore through my soul. Filled my eyes with tears. At that moment I knew I had to find & work with Shellie… I tracked her down and upon meeting face to face it felt like we had known each other for decades. It was meant to be. The music video was the result.

Some of the challenges I faced when creating this music video was the availability of Shellie as she is continually traveling to remote Bush communities writing music with the First Nations youth, elders, and even inmates in prisons. But this was the type of project that just “happened” the universe played its part in aligning everything so I was even able to film out in the Northern Territory and get Djackapurra who is very elusive and hard to pin down in front of my lens. That really added to the over mood and feel of the music video.

The other challenge was budget. We had none. But we managed to make it happen with passion and hard work. I loved the song and like I said above, when I met Shellie Morris for the first time over the phone and the face to face it was all meant to be.

What makes you want to tell stories? In other words, what are the themes/issues you want to incorporate into your work?

Authenticity and inspiration is the key to any great story. The truth is being revealed in many aspects of the world that’s being portrayed in both positive and negative opinions. Film making is one of the main mediums that’s allowing the truth to be shared around the world at a cracking pace.

Please tell us about your vision and your method of approaching a new project?

Film ideas are like push-ups. You can do them anywhere and anytime. And they are just push-ups unless you take the push-ups or the "idea" to the next level and develop the idea into something else or bring the idea to life!

Who are your filmmaking influencers? What are the films that were influential for you?

My top 5 directors of all time are: James Cameron, George Miller, Guy Richie, Stephen Spielberg and David Fincher. Top 5 films from those directors: Terminator 2, Mad Max Fury Road, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Saving Private Ryan and Se7en.

How do you think the industry is changing? How has COVID affected independent filmmaking/creation?

The film industry is changing based on the distribution and overall saturation of content available for viewers online. So for audiences to agree on a "great piece of content" is not as fluid now. As it's not like it was back in the days of Stars Wars, Indiana Jones & GhostBusters when all the films had to come through the box office and global theaters. Everyone went to the movies and had to watch what was popular. I feel Covid only stalled the distribution and/or "shelve the life" of films made before, during, and after Covid within their cinema release.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists? What are some of the things they must follow/avoid?

Believe in the work. Solidify the “vision” and then the more pre production time / work you invest into the pre vision the more it will befit the result of the production days and how smooth the filming will run. Avoid over complicating the shots. Do what you can within your limitations and do it well. Don’t think about what you “don’t have”… Think about what you “do have” and use it wisely. You are making art and you must at all costs be flexible within the process.

Do you think films/stories can bring about a change in the world?

Yes, as mention the film making median is defiantly a reliable source for revealing the truth and offering the perception that can created change around this very small and very fragile planet we are on.

What do you think people like to watch these days? Has the pandemic changed people's taste?

I feel “the series” format and style of written narrative has defiantly become more popular these days.

Please tell us about your upcoming projects.

I’m currently filming a short film that I have written, directed and I’m acting the lead role in. I’m excited to express myself in front of the lens as well as give direction to the camera man who is assisting me along.


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