Film Courage: Matt, was there a moment in your life where you knew you wanted to be a filmmaker?
Matt Eskandari, Writer/Director/Producer: There wasn’t one exact moment in my life when I realized Oh? This is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was sort of a culmination of events and experiences. Going through college like many people you are trying to figure out Okay, what do I want to do? What am I good at? How can I put my talents to best use? It was one of those things where I took a screenwriting class, I took an introduction to film class and started looking back at my life (some of the things I did, my writing, my talents and things that I was interested in) and realized…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Matt Eskandari immigrated to the United States as a child with his family, following the Iranian revolution. He is an alumnus of the University of Southern California, and would direct several award-winning shorts; including “The Taking” (Screamfest Award for Best Student Short). The film propelled him to nationwide exposure when he was chosen by Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett; from a pool of 12,000 candidates, to participate in the Fox filmmaker competition ‘On the Lot.’
Matt would go on to make his feature directorial debut with the psychological thriller “Victim.” The controversial work was distributed by Ifc Films for theatrical release and hailed by Ain’t it Cool News as, “a thinking man’s Saw” and “both original and disturbing.” Eskandari’s next feature, “The Gauntlet,” starring international stars Bai Ling and Dustin Nguyen was produced and shot entirely in China. It was one of the first China/US co-productions recognized by the Beijing Film Bureau and after a successful worldwide festival run was distributed as “Game of Assassins” by Lionsgate Studios.
Matt’s third feature, the self-contained swimming pool thriller “12 Feet Deep,” starring Tobin Bell and Alexandra Park was praised by critics as, “a tensely directed hidden gem that will leave you struggling to breathe,” and has gone on to become the single top selling title for MarVista – having amassed a record 40 million trailer views in its first months release.
Coming from a unique cultural perspective and honing his directorial craft in genre films, Eskandari is ready to use his distinct voice to embark into a further exploration of human nature and delve into the relevant fears and themes of our modern day world.
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