Filmmaker Spotlight 


IN THE FIRST OF MANY FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHTS, KATE KIM INTERVIEWS MARTIN MATAR, CERTIFIED CINEPHILE. 

By KATE KIM


7.14.2021


Matar, 22, was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. A first generation immigrant and  first child, Martin often had to weave through life in trial-and errors. Unlike most kids, Martin was not shy. In fact, when his parent’s friends came over, he would love to join them, or even give them performances. His mother decided to take him to auditions, and while he was a talented young actor, Martin says, “After being on a couple sets, I quickly realized that I was on the wrong side of the camera”. Even before he could speak, Martin had his first taste of cinema when his mother put on King Kong (1933) for him as a temporary baby sitter. Drawn to the cover of the DVD by the gorilla, a favorite animal of Martin’s, and knowing nothing of the plot, she didn’t realize how traumatizing King Kong became for him.

Although Martin was indeed traumtized, as a pre-teen, he ended up going back to his roots and finding neo-noir grisly films hus favorites, and a big phase in his life. Matar has been a cinephile all his life, and speaking to him about films and filmmakers is quite the daunting experience. Lined up on his windowshelf in his East Village apartment are over 50 Criterions and Blu-Rays, and the collection does not stop growing.

Sidewalk Coyote  - DIr. by Martin Matar & Fabian Palacios. DOP - Martin Matar

Sidewalk Coyote  - DIr. by Martin Matar & Fabian Palacios. DOP - Martin Matar

His first experience with the craft itself  began when he found an old Apple iPod touch in the lost and found at middle school. He started  filming clips, and when he would watch them, they played back to back resembling “cuts”. From that moment, Martin fell deeply into all that the cinema world had to offer. He knew about the latest equipment that would come out before anyone else, and saved up some petty cash in order to buy his first camera. Martin became that kid that carried around a DSLR bigger than his face on every trip, every car ride, and every moment, capturing his friends and family in his carefully composed screen. Like a wildfire, his collection of cameras, and his knowledge of film  became uncontrollable.

Untitled DIR. & DOP - Martin Matar
Untitled DIR. & DOP - Martin Matar

Weaving in between his love for film was his passion for music. Growing up in a family of musicians, it wasn’t hard to predict that Martin would have a natural talent for learning and making music. His self-discipline and genuine love for learning and honing his crafts molded him into a modern renaissance man. It’s very rare to find an artist that can successfully write, direct, shoot, edit, and score an entire film by themselves. It has often been said to me, and I have also said, that Martin has taught me more than all 3 years of film school combined. It was thanks to him that I bought my first real cinema camera. Scarily enough, film school did not really teach me how to actually use one, unless I was just in a coma for the past three years.

Untitled DIR. & DOP - Martin Matar
Untitled DIR. & DOP - Martin Matar

what do you look for
when collaborating with others?


“Self awareness, Lack of ego/agenda...
Not that I haven’t been guilty of these myself”



Untitled DIR. & DOP - Martin Matar

From being a hyperactive kid, to a perfectionist with restraint, Martin has let his work speak for himself. In his resume is a nomination for Best Experimental Film for the All American High School Film Festival, tons of Director of Photography credits for music videos for artists like YSN Flow, and Director credits for up and coming artists like Maude Latour and Melt. When you go on Martin’s Vimeo page, you will be disappointed to find that he has 0 posts. His strong philosophy of only publishing when the work is its best gives Martin a notoriety of intrigue and mystery to those around him. He believes that if he didn’t work hard enough, or if it is just not up to par for his standards, it can’t see the light of day. Similarly, on set, his first and only priority is his film over his relationships.


Sea Urchin Dir. & DOP Martin Matar

A lot of his short films include odd and unlikely characters. He often watches true crime, police dash cam videos, and other weird nooks of the internet. When asked about what he is influenced by, he responds shortly, “Human behavior and human nature”.

Watch Martin’s Work: 
Block Your Number - Maude Latour
Hurd of Who - Prophet
BDE 
ASMR

@martin__matar
martinwadihmatar@gmail.com