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FilmmakersFilmmakers 2024

The Filmmaker Four: Matt Cascella

By April 26, 2024No Comments

Matt Cascella was a hyperactive child, with fits of singing and laughter amplified by an untethered attention span. Teachers didn’t like him, and coaches even less. Thankfully when he was 12 years old, a mini DV camcorder fell into his hands and he was immediately lovestruck. A way to channel his hyperactivity, filmmaking became an anchor. After many scrappy short films and a BA in Directing from the School of Visual Arts in NYC, Matt stumbled into the wonderful world of documentary at Maysles Films in Harlem, where he had the pleasure of getting yelled at by Albert Maysles for bad boom operating.

Since then, as Editor and Story Producer, Matt’s work has been nominated for two Emmys (Netflix’s Long Shot and ESPN’s Run Mama Run) and a Critic’s Choice Award (The Atlantic Selects’ The Unconditional), and has premiered at Sundance (I Am Yup’ik / 2016), Tribeca (Run Mama Run / 2017 & ESPN’S Enhanced / 2018), and Telluride (Long Shot / 2017). His commercial directing credits include MoMA,, and Amazon. His most recent short, Talking Dog, premiered at the Camden International Film Festival and was a Vimeo Staff Pick.

Hangdog is his first feature, which he co-created with his wife, Jen Cordery, who just so happens to be his favorite writer.

What it the title of your film in BIFF 2024?

What was your first experience with film and how did it influence your first project?
In the 9th grade, I made a “gangster” movie called VINNY & THE BOYS. It was very bad but very important in my journey. It was all about making stuff with your friends, throwing things at the wall, and throwing caution to the wind. I took all of those youthful principles and subconsciously applied them to my first feature film. As an adult, so much worry and self doubt gets baked into you. For me, I’m always trying to unlearn those habits. It can be a challenge though!

Who is (are) your favorite filmmakers?
It seems to be shifting all the time, but for HANGDOG my wife and I were really inspired by Albert Brooks, Bill Forsyth, Tamara Jenkins, Elaine May, Ken Loach, Vittorio De Sica. Filmmakers who have a lighter, curious touch. There are no heroes or villains in most of their work, only people. And no one really has anything figured out, just momentary relief or satisfaction.

What are you working on that no one knows about?
I’m working on a new feature script called BRUISED BANANA. I’m mining lots of things from my childhood, interviewing family. As for the story, I’ll keep that to myself for now.

Who would play you in a movie? What’s your go to movie snack? What’s the film title that best describes your life?
Favorite movie snack, Raisinets. Though I don’t love the noise the box makes when you slide them out. If they could make a noiseless Raisinet box, they’d be unstoppable.

I think FELLINI’S ROMA is a pretty good description of my life. Loud, colorful, and completely bonkers.