ARTIST PROFILE | FILMMAKER MATTHEW BERTO
By Matthew Berto
As a kid I had always loved movies. While the other kids played Nintendo and PlayStation, I was making stop-motion movies with my Legos.
Using my brother’s camera phone as my first camera I would shoot anything and everything. When I got my first job I spent my first paycheck on a little handheld video camera and went home and shot a short film about two people playing basketball. I played both characters.
I’m now 26 years old and have made over ten short films and two feature films. I have plans to make another three short films this year and then begin my third feature film.
I’ve never really considered myself a talented filmmaker. I wasn’t born with an artistic vision like some people are. However, I don’t know anybody who works as hard as me. I spend at least three hours a day writing, editing or filming something. Once a film is finished I swiftly move on to the next one.
Filmmaking is hard… and expensive. I would have bought a house by now if I weren’t burdened with the love for movies. I do love it but sometimes it can be a burden because my mind never stops. I have trouble sleeping and working because I’m constantly coming up with story ideas.
I take a lot from what I see and experience in my life to create a film that is both relatable and emotional. With every movie I make I am building up my experience and my skills and I have no doubt that you will see big things from me in the future.
The most important thing is to find your style, to find a way that only you can make a movie. To be unique. That’s the most important thing and I’ve only just learnt that. For the last few years I have been concerned with developing my skillset that it’s only recently I’ve discovered my style and the way I want my movies to look like.
I’m currently promoting my second feature film called Butterfly in a Bell Jar, which is about a girl who is kidnapped and held captive in a dark wooden shed for over a decade. The story is pretty raw and it took six months to find a young actress to play the lead as everyone was concerned with the controversial topic. We filmed it all at my grandma’s house as she has a large backyard with a few old wooden sheds that we made into a room with a bed, table and book shelf.
The northern suburbs of Melbourne has so much history and I love making movies here. There is a story on each street corner and that’s what movies are. Movies are stories, and everyone has a story. I just have more stories than most people and I love telling them.
However, I hate watching my own films. I think it’s because once you make something you step over it and grow from it. It’s like a rung in the ladder. I think every artist grows and eventually looks back on their work and is almost embarrassed by it. I guess you have to start somewhere though, and I have a long way to go so I have a lot of work to do.
When I started making movies I wrote what I saw and what I knew, but now as I become a better writer and director, and filmmaker, I am starting to develop stories that are grander. As my stories become more complex so does my equipment. With every movie my team and I do, we buy another piece of equipment to pull off more sophisticated shots and angles.
If you want to make films this is the best time to make them. Everything is accessible now. However, this means the industry is diluted with filmmakers like me and it’s harder to get a foot in and harder to make money. But I’m not in it to make money – I’m in it to make movies.
Butterfly in a Bell Jar
7-11 Dawson St, Brunswick
29 and 30 March, 7.30pm
You can order tickets for both screening nights here.