How to carve a Sundance-worthy document out of hours of archive footage
If you’re creating documents or want to learn more about LA, Matt Yoka and Vertebrate are perfect for you.
I spoke to Matt for the first time before Sundance 2020, in a completely different world. He had finished his first feature film, the documentary Vertebratefollowing a family and the city of Los Angeles via archival footage from high-speed car chases. It’s a crazy story, not just the story of the movie’s themes, but also the story of Matt who made it.
He started out with an interest in documenting the city of Los Angeles through archival footage and it eventually led him to a chopper and filmmaker couple who made reporting really innovative.
Matt had to patiently and carefully follow this thread because years how it unwound. But shortly before a certain finish line, a world premiere in Sundance, new curveballs came up to him … and the well-known Hollywood chorus of “hurry up and wait” was in the foreground again.
COVID-19 grounded Vertebrate, and now it’s finally released. It was great to get back in touch with Matt after all the added hurdles to discuss how he handled this aspect of this sometimes insane industry. He learned the hard way that good things come to those who wait.
In this episode we talk about …
- As Los Angeles is playing itself sparked the emergence of. the end Vertebrate
- Focusing on high-speed activities and providing an emotional, character-oriented experience versus intellectual experience
- 45 minutes of beautiful VHS interference
- Matt’s experience at the Sundance Film Festival and the impact COVID had on the film’s marketing
- How excessive movie viewing during quarantine inspired Matt as a filmmaker
- Why it is almost impossible to finish a documentary
- Filmmaking advice that focuses on the story you want to share with a “less is more” mentality
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