Interview with Film Maker and Entrepreneur – Matthew Martino Benevolent

Penelope: When did you first make your first film? What was it about? Are there any mentors/guiding figures or moments in your life that helped you make the first step?
Matthew: I made my first film in 2012. It was called “Never Change” – very indie and as you can imagine as a first time producer I was learning as I went along. It was about a young man whose just been released from prison and his best friend and girlfriend try and keep him out of trouble. I had a lot of help during the early years of my film making career, I can name everyone individually but I used to email so many producers, go to networking events for filmmakers and read up blogs on production.

Matthew Martino (5)

Penelope: What roles when it came to acting did you enjoy the most and what excites you about a project or a role?
Matthew: It was always the action packed roles that did it for me, I hate to admit it but I’m a little adrenaline junkie, I would be excited working on a project that was organized and that had a great director, as the director always make a huge impression on the actors.

Penelope: When did you decide to jump from acting to producing? And Why?
Matthew: It was after a few months of doing background roles and acting that I decided to go into producing, I realised being on set that I had a different point of view and always found myself talking to crew and realised my heart was more behind the camera, I sort of see myself as more of a planner and organiser which is what the producer does as it all starts with a script which you then have to turn into a film.

Penelope: Why did you decide to come to the UK? And what are the major pro’s/cons/differences between the UK and Zimbabwean film industries?
Matthew: I moved to the UK with my parents, I was initially supposed to go and study high school in the USA which I later gave up to just stay close the family. There are major differences in both film industries, evidently there is more resources available in the UK to filmmakers and many more opportunities, that having been said in Zimbabwe a film wasn’t just about production value its more about the story. You look at most African films and the Nollywood generation its really great acting and story lines.

Matthew Martino (7)

Penelope: What is your most current film project?
Matthew: Currently I’m not working on anything in particular as I’ve been all hands on deck at MMBF, I am in talks to join a few projects and I will be in New York later in March so I will be announcing any projects as they come.

Penelope: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Matthew: In my spare time which sometimes I feel like I don’t have at all, I enjoy travelling, reading, watching movies – I think Netflix was basically made for me. I now occasionally play golf, well I’m learning to so hopefully one of these days PGA might give me the nod.

Penelope: You also have a passion for flying, which has lead to a book and a company. Can you tell us a bit about the company and book, and most importantly whether you have any future goals or desires in this aspect of your life?
Matthew: Yes flying has and always will be at the bottom of my heart. My pilots manual Lets Fly which I wrote in 2012 contains the basic information an aspiring pilot would need to know about how an aircraft flies and technical data. I founded Lets Fly Academy as a resource and training firm for aspiring pilots. Its hard to say if I will have career aspirations in the aviation field but I do certainly have future goals, I would like to get a helicopter license to fly as a hobby and I also want to be involved in other aviation related events.

matthew martino...

Penelope: Hope we can speak a bit more about your charity ? Can you give us some details of the projects/ success stories that the charity has been involved in?
Matthew: Yes absolutely. MMBF Trust was launched on my birthday in 2014 and although we are still finding our feet the end goal is to be able to support actors, filmmakers, pilots and young people. Our current projects and past projects have included our Rising Star Award we supported with Colchester Film Festival at their 2014 festival, We have also supported film clubs and associations in Africa. At present our MMBF Rising Star Award is the current scheme we are working with alongside film festivals worldwide that acknowledges a filmmaker or actor who has as shown great achievement in their projects, the award will be launched at the following festivals – Winchester Short Film Festival, Cardiff Mini Film Festival, Cutting East Film Festival and Junior Galway Film Fleadh to name a few. We have also launched a filmmaker’s competitions with GreatWorqs. As well as these projects the Trustees are also distributing grants to filmmakers and young people who apply to us directly for funding.

Matthew Martino (3)

Penelope: Lastly, a fun question… If you were to be marooned on a desert island, which celebrity (dead or alive) would you like to be marooned with? And why?
Matthew: Errrmmm it would have to be Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge! I’ve always wanted to know the secret to her long lasting smile.


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