How Does A Filmmaker Get The Opportunity To Work With An A-List Movie Star? — Matt Eskandari

Film Courage: You have two movies coming out that star Bruce Willis. How did this happen?

Matt Eskandari, Writer/Director/Producer: Sometimes when people ask me You just did two movies starring Bruce Willis? and they think it just happened overnight or just one of those things that kind of hit, but as a filmmaker I’ve been grinding and doing it for more than a decade. I went to film school awhile ago. I’ve been telling stories, writing scripts, making movies. So to some people it feels almost like this overnight thing but no, I’ve been at this for awhile and it’s taken awhile to get to that point where my work is established enough where people will come to me like Oh we want you to direct this film or We’ve seen your work and we feel like your style (your vision) would really fit into the content that we’re creating. How those films came about is I did several independent films that got a lot of buzz (a lot of attention) and they attracted producers were like Oh hey we’re doing these other movies, are you interested? We’ve love to hear your take on themand it’s a process. It’s like a job interview, right? You go in there and read the script and come up with your vision for how you think that film should be directed.

Film Courage: Can we hear more about this pitch?

Matt: Yes. As…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).



Bruce Willis and Matt Eskandari. Matt and Bruce have two upcoming films 
together in post-production 


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.


Related videos:

How To Direct Actors — Jason Satterlund

How A Talented Actor Can Be A Problem For A Director by Mark W. Travis & Michael Hauge

Advice To First Time Directors On Directing Actors — Andrew Guerrero

Directing An Authentic Acting Performance by Mark W. Travis & Michael Hauge



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