Reel Islington: Q&A with director Matthew Barton
Matthew Barton is one of the directors that entered into this year’s Reel Islington Film Festival Short Film Awards under the theme ‘Home is where I want to be…’, screening this Friday (February 28). In the second of our festival series, we talked to him about his latest film and his background as a director
1) How did you get into filmmaking?
I’ve been making films for the past five years. This was preceded by a degree in Graphic Design at Camberwell College of Arts. I’d shot a few films at college, and this was mixed in with also taking photos, designing books and all the other things associated to a design-led subject. It was only when I came out of college that film really stuck. Everything else fell by the wayside.
2) What kind of projects have you done so far? What do you consider to be you’re biggest success?
I’ve worked on a real variety of projects. From stop-motion animating stacks of paper on a car commercial, to motion graphics for supermarket TV screens in Ireland. I spent a month out in Libya last year as a photojournalist covering post-conflict stories. Most recently I’ve been shooting music videos and longer format documentaries. Personally I’d say East17 4LG is closest to what I set out to accomplish when I began the project.
3) Can you tell me about the film you submitted to the festival?
East17 4LG is a portrait on Matt, a 27-year-old butcher who’s awaiting court after being involved in a violent brawl. The film is shot at Matt’s home in Walthamstow and in Essex, where his court case was held.
I’m interested in the notion that everyone is living a story unique to themselves. I also believe that the camera has the potential to turn the mundane into the extraordinary. In many ways this film illustrates these ideas.
Before I began to shoot I was unaware that Matt was involved in a court case or that he was on a tag, that he had two kids and drew naked women. All these things became apparent after I switched the camera on. Coincidence and good fortune played quite a big part in the film’s success. I like that.
4) Do you have any connections to Islington in particular?
It’s a part of London and so it’s been part of my world on and off for the past ten years.
5) What are your plans for the near future?
My next batch of work involves a music video about bell ringers, a documentary about London during the winter months and another more experimental doc about how we practice our faith today. I think the next stage on this filmmaking ladder is to get my films seen by a wider audience, on TV and at film festivals.
If you want to catch Matthew’s film East17 4LG at the festival on Friday, you can book tickets for the Short Film Awards, which will take place from 8-9pm at Resource For London, 356 Holloway Road, here.
The film is also available on Matthew’s website.