You probably havent heard of out filmmaker Matt Riddlehoover yet, but the odds are in his favor that you soon will. Only 21 years old, his resume already boasts two music videos for indie band Strays Dont Sleepone of which was featured on Late Night with Conan OBrienand a feature film which has been receiving quite a lot of attention, thanks entirely to the most viewed Web site on the internet, MySpace.
The buzz began when the DIY filmmaker posted a trailer for his film To a Tee on his MySpace Filmmaker page last April. Four days later he was nominated for a MySpace Film Users Choice Award, and by June he had won the prize. I didnt even know it existed, he says about the competition.
Filmmaker Magazine contacted him soon after and wrote a piece about the MySpace phenomenon and its impact on up-and-coming filmmakers. For four months his trailer was featured on MySpace, gathering thousands of hits daily. People kept asking, When can we see the film? he says. And he hadnt even finished editing the movie yet. Lots of free advertising came out of the contest. I put the trailer up just to put it upfor my friends, family, and the actors to see themselvesand people were expecting a finished product! The demand finally pushed Riddlehoover into action.
The final, edited film premiered in Nashville last November. Two local gay newspapers have since featured Riddlehoover and the filmone even taped a TV segment that aired this week on the local CBS affiliate. Smaller distribution companies started calling Riddlehoover (pictured above, with Jonas Brandon, the lead in his film). But the young writer, director, editor, and star of the film decided to wait on the various offers, opting instead to send To a Tee to numerous film festivals. At this point Im more interested in people seeing it and what they think, rather than the business aspectits all a little scary and intimidating.
The films subject matter is simple enough. Playwright (played by Riddlehoover) falls for dark and handsome, yet troublesome (read: cheating) guy. Rinse and repeat. Playwright then steals best friends dark and handsome, yet troublesome boyfriend (all four brooding men are played sublimely by the same actor, driving home the point that one is sometimes stubbornly fixated on the wrong type of guy). The film excels in
Riddlehoovers delivery as the self-absorbed, flawed hero. His timing is impressive, given that he was also directing himself. And the cinematography was equally impressive, given the budget.
IMDb is saying that it cost me something like $250,000 to make the film. When, in reality, I think they added an extra pair of zeros, Riddlehoover says about the limited budget. When asked about the expenses incurred on-set, he laughs and says, Feeding your cast and crew handsomely gets expensive. And I had a crew of 60. The crewNashville locals involved in the art sceneworked for free, Riddlehoover adds, because they all had a common goal: to help each other out.
When I moved to Nashville from Charleston, South Carolina, the city was so welcoming. You dont think of Nashville as the cultural, liberal arts center of the world, but it proves me wrong every day. Everyone is excited to help you out, its great, he says of the help he received with the film.
Up next for Riddlehoover is another film, set to start shooting in February. And its a matter of time before To a Tee finds its way into local theaters. Not bad for a MySpace competition winner.