The 2013 Winner of the BEST FILM for the 168 Film Festival is ReMoved. The film was produced by Carpinteria, California-based Nathanael Matanick and Christina Matanick and directed by Nathanael Matanick, who also won for Best Editor and Best Make Up and Hair.
ReMoved is about a girl’s journey through her extreme hardships in the foster care system and is based on Hebrews 12:2′s explanation of Jesus Christ’s motivation for enduring the cross, the film compares the vision of joy and hope that emerges as the main character, Zoe (Abby White) proves willing to navigate the shame and pain of her life to move toward healing and restoration.
Inspired by her Foster Parent Training, the film was written by Christina Matanick and lensed by Tony Cruz. ReMoved won four awards from thirteen nominations, including Best Film, Actress, Editor, Makeup and Hair.
According to Producer/Director, Nathanael Matanick “It wouldn’t have happened without our amazing crew and Abby White, who took the risk of acting for the first time ever! So many hurting children in our communities need just one person to take the initiative to love them. We’re excited to see what God does, and excited to continue to follow Him.”
As the Best Short Film of 2013, Matanick received the Grand Prize from presenting sponsor EchoLight Studios and their new CEO, Rick Santorum. EchoLight will partner with the winning short film artist to produce a feature film with a budget up to $1 Million and not less than $250,000.
In this exclusive SCH interview, Christina Matanick shares the behind-the-scenes details of the movie’s production, from step one to completion. Join us for an inside look at the heart of this award winning film.
SCH: What attracted you to the 168 Film Project?
CM: The 168 Film Project is a fantastic impetus for making that short film you’ve always talked about making. For us (Nathanael and myself), participating in this speed film competition was a way to motivate ourselves to actually make a short film, and a way in which making it became achievable (precisely because of the time constraints).
SCH: What was it like when you picked your Bible verse for the film, and did this verse have any significance to you?
CM: We were stoked! We’d been talking about making a film diving into the emotional journey of a child in foster care, and our verse totally allowed for that. Nothing could be more like Christ than entering the world, the home, the life of a person who is suffering and in need of healing, and being with them to guide them through that process of healing.
SCH: Did you pay your talent and/or crew or did they volunteer? How did the team come together?
CM: Everyone volunteered! It was fantastic–we had top notch people participating on our team, and everyone was stoked on the concept and the environment.
CM: We spent a total of $4k, not counting the value of everyone’s time (which was volunteered). A lot of this was spent on food. It’s important to treat people well and keep them happy.
SCH: Is there anybody we might recognize who was part of your team?
CM: Tony Cruz, our Director of Photography. Greg Pickard, our gaffer. Daniel Klaver, our composer. We had to screenshare the footage being edited, because he was composing from Iowa while we were all in California. Other crew who were each critical in their position: Becky Davis, John Sinclair, Patti Foy, Bryant Swanstrom, Tye French, Joshua Mitchell, Noriah Matanick. Our talent, of course, most notably Abby White, our nine-year-old lead (her first time in a film!). Also Sabrina Culver, Jordan Nice, Casey Caldwell, Kyra Locke. Tremendous support and help from my parents John and Karen Robertson, along with many friends in our community: Diana Arrieta, Toby Theule, Chris Poynter, Kyle Crooks, Daniel Whiting, Josh Newton, and Naomi Matanick.
SCH: What was the hardest part about doing making the film in 168 hours?
CM: The shooting was normal. Any film production is kind of like a time based trial when you need to keep the production budget in mind. The editing was probably the most challenging. Not having the time to really get to know the footage and play with it or pull out the emotion quite right in scenes because of the need to just get it done.
SCH: What did you learn from making a film in a week?
CM: It’s achievable!
SCH: What advice would you give aspiring filmmakers and actors?
CM: Well, I feel like we’re still aspiring filmmakers in our own way. The only difference between aspiring and actual is if you do it, so go do it!
SCH: Are you planning to participate in the 168 Film Project next year? Would you recommend participating in the 168 Film Project to your peers and colleagues?
CM: Depends if we win a million dollars of funding for a feature! Hah! Yes, I think it’s a great experience and somewhat like putting yourself in school again: having the necessary structure and deadlines to actually make a personal project.
SCH: Is there anything special on your heart that you would like to share with our readers?
CM: Consider fostering a child! It makes a tremendous difference on the child and on society as a whole.
SCH: How would winning the grand prize impact your life?
CM: It would help us check off this year’s new year’s resolution to begin working on a feature length film.
SCH: What’s next?
CM: Well, right now we’re back to the usual film work that pays. But our next personal project we haven’t settled on yet. We have some ideas up our sleeve though.
Click here to watch the ReMOVED – Official Trailer
To learn more about this awesome film festival, please watch the video for 168 Film Festival
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Featured Image: Abby White as Zoe in Removed; Photo Courtesy of Heschle