Film Courage: I think you said earlier that documentaries are kind of…this is their time right now. Why do you think now so?
Matthew Miele, filmmaker [Always At The Carlyle]: I think because with the streaming that is happening, they are able to get out their to a bigger audience and there is also this notion of a doc series that’s been popping up and is very popular now where you can tell longer-form things like HBO is doing things that stretch over a few nights.
Netflix and other streamers are doing things calling doc-series where it’s four-to-six episodes of certain subjects.
But I do think that reality these days is somewhat more interesting than what fiction can even dream up. I mean there are so many cool things happening in the world you kind of have to put a magnifying glass on it to examine it and to me we are living in such an amazing time where there are all these compelling things everyday.
And there’s a certain thing where you don’t really want to chase a headline because it will be irrelevant tomorrow. But if you look at certain things that are hit upon sometimes like The Carlyle Hotel where you continue to see stories happen there, where you continue to see history unfold, those are the kind of things you want to grasp onto. For me, they are not only relevant for historical reasons but they are constantly current.
So that’s why I think for a film like this, something will happen with the streamers and how accessible it will be to everyone eventually besides the pockets that the theaters are appealing to audience-wise because I just feel like it’s always going to be in the news in sense, they are always going to be something that occurs there and that’s just the magic of the place.
So that’s what I feel like a film like this [Matthew’s latest documentary film ALWAYS AT THE CARLYLE] will appeal and be popular. Similar with Bergdorf’s [Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s], that happened. I think there is this fashion hunger out there, people just can’t get enough of it. And when that film came out in 2015 I think it was at the height (I think it’s fallen off a little bit). I think people are kind of getting over-saturated it.
But I don’t know (docs to me) I mean they are selling, so I know there is a marketplace for them and they are selling at a decent enough level that you can continue making them. And I think that’s exciting for any filmmaker to just continue telling your story and if you have bidders on your content, you can’t be in a better spot because you continue to do what you do.
So I feel like that golden period, you can’t really recognize it when it’s happening but I think when we look back on this decade…I would say from 2010 to 2020 we’ll be like “Wow! That was an amazing moment where we were telling amazing stories.”
Film Courage: Plus we came out of a recession (or supposedly we’ve come out of one) so during that time it’s a relatively inexpensive way to get a film made if you’re doing it in piecemeal.
Matthew: It definitely is and what’s so interesting about The Recession is so THE BIG SHORT comes out and it kind of examines what happened there. And I love filmmaking like that, too. It’s like the biopics and the journalistic studies of things like ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN and SPOTLIGHT, like those to me (if you do them right) they feel like a documentary almost.
So I feel like we’re in that mode of storytelling right now more than ever where even Hollywood is on to the notion of let’s tell real stories, let’s tell what’s happening.
But the balance is of course that you’re in the Marvel world…I feel like the indie scene and the ones that are the more renegade pictures are the ones telling the real stories but they’re balanced well with this whole Marvel universe where it’s this imaginative fiction and sci fi etcetera where we are really getting a great blend.
And I feel like (as I said) when we look back on it we’ll be like “Wow, that was a really great moment.”
A lot of people bemoan that the seventies are over and that storytelling is not happening any more. I think it was ’66 to ’76 people look at and the eighties had all those comedies, right? But I don’t know, I feel like right now we’re having a really great moment and we’ll look back on it and say “Wow, that was terrific to be a part of.”
Question For The Viewers: Have you thought about making a documentary? Why or why not?
ALWAYS AT THE CARLYLE, a documentary by Matthew Miele about the famed hotel on Madison Ave released in New York on May 11th and Los Angeles on May 18th with additional cities to follow.
For the past 88 years, The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel has been the definition of class and a calling card for Manhattan’s elegant Upper East Side. But while it has housed some of the world’s most famous clientele, the stories within the walls of the hotel rarely leave the premises. Until now. In Always at The Carlyle, writer/director Matthew Miele (Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s, Harry Benson: Shoot First!) presents the untold stories and well-kept secrets of The Carlyle in a feature length documentary to be released worldwide in early 2018. In the works for more than three years, Always at The Carlyle offers an exclusive and provocative peek into the pop culture history of the renowned hotel, all from the mouths of The Carlyle’s own guests and employees. George Clooney, Anjelica Huston, Tommy Lee Jones, Vera Wang, Anthony Bourdain, Roger Federer, Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, Jon Hamm, Lenny Kravitz, Naomi Campbell and Elaine Stritch join the more than 100 personalities sharing their favorite stories and unique insights in this exposé of New York City’s legendary hotel.