This week’s filmmaker spotlight is on Matt Smukler of The Hiccup. Smukler’s film was selected to be part of the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles screenings at Sunset Gower Studios this month. Learn about the film, his inspirations, goals and current projects.
Name/Position: Matt Smukler
Film: The Hiccup
Tell us a little bit about your project and how long you’ve been working on it.
Rob Chester Smith approached me about doing something a bit longer then the standard thirty second commercials we both had been working on. (I met Rob when I tried to cast him in a Budweiser commercial but the client thought he was “too fey.”) We sat down and went back and forth for a few months, finally settling on this idea where Rob was essentially pinned against the wall and we’d watch him wiggle and squirm his way out.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank for helping out with this film?
I’d like to thank the actors and my crew who worked with me for next to nothing for two days. We had just finished a four day commercial shoot and they kept their spirits and energy high despite the lack of a proper paycheck. I also would like to thank my amazing editor Jim Ulbrich and my producers Carr Donald and Carl Swan. Without their dedication and passion for the project it never would have happened.
How does it feel to have your film part of the NewFilmmakers Screening at Sunset Gower Studios?
I’m super excited to be part of the program and thankful they appreciated the film and that we share a fairly twisted sense of humor.
What inspires you?
Improvisation, a perfectly cooked meatball, films, books, art, my family.
Who are your influences and who do you admire?
Paul Thomas Anderson, Martin Scorsese, David O Russell, Paul Auster, Woody Allen, Lynn Shelton, The Duplass Brothers, Hal Ashby, Jane Campion, Francois Truffaut, Harris Savides, my wife.
What lessons have you learned from the industry so far?
It can always be better.
If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?
Susan Sarandon from the Bull Durham days.
What is the toughest experience you’ve ever had to overcome?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?
Work begets work.
What advice would you give to new filmmakers starting out in the industry?
Write something that you love and grab a camera and just go make it.
Where can we expect to see you next?
I’m working on a feature version of the Hiccup but my commercials are running all the time except on Dish.
Let our readers know where they can find more information about you and your projects.
Anything else you’d like to add?