1. To those few people out there, who haven't heard of Matthew Saliba,
please introduce yourself in a few sentences.
Well, first and foremost, I'm a filmmaker. Since 2003, I've been slowly
building a name for myself as a filmmaker specializing in films which
combine elements of sado-eroticism (which is to say the erotic
representation of sadomasochistic imagery as opposed to the vulgar and
pornographic fashion in which it's unfortunately presented in most films)
I've made five short films to date (with a sixth in post-production and a
seventh heading into production real soon), all of which have screened the
world over from the Netherlands to the nether regions of the Nevada desert
winning festival prizes and praise from critics and audiences alike. They
DARK LOTUS (2010), VAMPYROS LESBOS (2008),
SHE WAS ASKING FOR IT
PANDORA'S PARADOX (2004)
and THE MANIPULATOR AND THE SUBSERVIENT
I'm very interested in subversive art, gender studies, sexual appropriation,
sadomasochism, fetishism, surrealism and theatre of the absurd and these
interests are very much reflected in my work in addition to very eclectic
plots ranging from elderly women giving birth to giant toes to yours truly
getting raped by cherry-red dildos!
On the off chance that I'm not involved with filmmaking, I can sometimes be
seen moonlighting as an actor, a fetish model, a part-time contributor to
The Montreal Gazette, a playwright, a stand-up comedian, a gentleman and a
2. You recently finished up "Frankenstein Unlimited". Tell us the genesis
behind the project. And where can we view or get our hands on a copy of the
FRANKENSTEIN UNLIMITED is a feature-length anthology film composed of six
independently produced shorts by six filmmakers from Montreal all using
themes from Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN as inspiration. In addition to
myself, these filmmakers include: King-Wei Chu, Matthew Forbes, Martin
Gauthier, Peter James and Maude Michaud. One of the shorts, FLESH FOR KUNG
FU, directed by King-Wei Chu, was actually shot on location in Hong Kong
with the legendary Gordon Liu in the lead role!
The project was launched back in the Fall of 2007 with the idea of gathering
a team of talented young filmmakers who would pool together their resources
to make a truly independent feature film WITHOUT the assistance of
government grants or private investors. It's extremely difficult here in
Canada to get financing for a feature film, particularly if you're working
in genre. Unless you're making a film about a young woman struggling to find
herself while living on a wheat farm in Saskatchewan and coming to grips
with her budding lesbianism and emotionally crippled husband, it can be next
to impossible to get funding for films people actually want to see. All the
filmmakers involved in the project had at one point or another made a short
or a series of shorts and had subsequently tried to get a feature film off
the ground but to no avail due to the fact that their work was primarily
based in genre, which is something of an artistic faux-pas here in Canada.
So we figured that if we all band together and each make a short film based
on a central theme, we would finally be able to make our elusive first
feature, albeit, one made as a collective.
Of course, then the issue of what that central theme would be came up. I
figured that since this would be an anthology rooted in genre, it would have
to be a horror archetype that lent itself to being interpreted in an
eclectic fashion and the first thing that popped into my head was FRANKENSTEIN. While many associate FRANKENSTEIN with "the guy with bolts in
his neck", anyone who's read the original novel knows that FRANKENSTEIN is a
story bursting at the seams with universal themes and a mind-blowing subtext
that can be applied in a wide variety of situations including those that
don't necessarily require the monster at all. And that was the key there. If
this were DRACULA UNLIMITED or WOLFMAN UNLIMITED, we would be constrained by
the requirements of having a vampire or a werewolf in our films. Whereas in
the case of FRANKENSTEIN UNLIMITED, even if we wanted to, legally we
couldn't make a film about "the guy with bolts in his neck", which only
forced all the filmmakers to delve deep down into their imaginations and
pull out a story that took the themes of Mary Shelley's original creation
into bold new directions, which is something I feel all the filmmakers
involved have done, and how!
3. What inspirational advice do you have for others who wants to get into
the filmmaking business?
Don't rush things. I know we're living in the "Quentin Tarantino/Kevin Smith
generation" where everyone feels the need to make their first feature before
they turn 30, but the fact of the matter is, making feature films is hard.
So hard, in fact, that the experience in trying to get one off the ground
can be so heartbreaking and discouraging that you may swear off filmmaking
I remember back in my first year at Film School, some friends and I had just
made a short (a really pretentious piece complete with a Pink Floyd
soundtrack, extreme close-ups of people smoking in black-and-white and yours
truly playing a priest!) and thought we were on top of the world! So much
so, that we thought we could shoot a feature film over the summer. That's
right! Apparently we were going to raise money, cast, shoot, edit, mix and
release a 90-minute feature film over the course of 3 months! Needless to
say, we failed. But the experience taught me a valuable lesson, one that I
still abide to this very day: take baby steps when it comes to pursuing a
career in filmmaking.
By the time I started my second year at Film School, I approached filmmaking
in a much more cautious manner by setting a realistic goal for myself. I was
going to shoot a short film and try to get it into the Fantasia Film
Festival (a genre-based festival here in Montreal and the largest of its
kind in North America). That film was THE MANIPULATOR AND THE SUBSERVIENT
and as I focused on getting it into Fantasia, a friend of mine told me about
another festival called the Bearded Child Film Festival, an experimental
film and music event based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. I figured, what have
I got to lose and submitted my film to both Fantasia and the Bearded Child.
Not only did my film get into both events but it won the Grand Jury Prize
for Best Film at the latter and was nominated for 4 awards (including Best
Picture and Best Director) as part of a short film competition in the
former! I was shocked and beyond thrilled with the news! I had never even
thought of winning an award for my film, much less getting nominated for 4
of them! I only wanted to get into Fantasia. But by setting a realistic goal
for myself and achieving it with a little cherry on top, my confidence in
myself as a filmmaker grew tenfold and for the first time I truly believed I
was on the right path as far as my career choice went.
And I really believe that's the way to do it. Set realistic goals for
yourself. That way when you achieve them you'll be encouraged to aim even
higher the next time around as opposed to giving up on the business
altogether when your dream of making it in Hollywood or getting your
"Trilogy of Features" completed in a year goes down the drain.
4. What is the scariest thing that you have ever xperienced?
Watching PET SEMATARY as a child. In particular, any scene involving Zelda.
To this day, I cannot and will not watch this film. It's a shame, as I
remember it being quite good actually and I'm sure as a filmmaker today I'd
be able to appreciate the outstanding SFX involved in creating Zelda's look.
But there are some things that scar you as a child that are truly
irreversible and this would be one of them!
5. If you were stuck on an island populated by the living dead, what would
you do to survive?
I'd screen them an episode of ACCORDING TO JIM, which would hopefully incite
them to the point where they'd forget about me and go after the Belushi that
God should have taken.