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“Rent Boy”

Hi Everyone!

With “Highway of Tears” finally getting some screen time in a few cities, I’m now busy working away on a few projects that I’m excited to bring to life. We just announced the development for “Rent Boy” by Catherine O’Sullivan Shorr, which is a project I’ve been working on for a number of years.

I look forward to sharing more information about the project in the next couple of weeks.

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“Highway of Tears” wins BEST DOC at the Malibu Film Festival

"Highway of Tears" win Malibu Film Festival for best documentary
“Highway of Tears” win Malibu Film Festival for best documentary
Director Matt Smiley's "Highway of Tears" Winner: Best Documentary at the Malibu Film Festival 2014.
“Highway of Tears” Winner: Best Documentary at the Malibu Film Festival 2014.
Mavis Erickson and director Matt Smiley
“Highway of Tears” wins BEST DOCUMENTARY at the Malibu Film Festival. Happy to share such a wonderful moment with Mavis Erickson at the Malibu Pier Restaurant & Bar.
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“Interference”

Be on the lookout for “Interference” directed by Christoph Lehmann that was shot in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. You can get updates directly from the filmmakers on their official Facebook page.

"Interference" starring Matthew Smiley, Alicia Gerrard, Derek Dean, Nadine Vinzens & Jurgen Prochnow.
“Interference” starring Matthew Smiley, Alicia Gerrard, Derek Dean, Nadine Vinzens & Jurgen Prochnow.
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Canada AM: Unraveling ‘Highway of Tears’ | CTV News

Director Matthew Smiley

With the premiere at the TIFF Human Rights Watch Film Festival on Thursday  March 6, director Matthew Smiley visits CTV News. He details how he came to tell the story of missing women and whether the police have done enough in these cases.

Matthew Smiley on CTV News talking about "Highway of Tears"
Matthew Smiley: Director of “Highway of Tears” on CTV News.

Here is a link to the interview: 

http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=301946

Terry Teegee
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Chief Terry Teegee in “Highway of Tears”

Narrated by Nathan Fillion, “Highway of Tears” chronicles the notorious, decades-long string of murders and disappearances of young Aboriginal women along British Columbia’s Highway 16, and how the systemic racism that defined their lives also contributed to their deaths. Since the late 1960s, at least eighteen young women — many of them from disadvantaged First Nations communities — have disappeared or been found murdered along the 724-kilometre stretchof Highway 16 in northern British Columbia. None of these cold cases were ever solved until 2012, when a special RCMP investigation was able to link DNA from one of the murder victims to deceased US criminal Bobby Jack Fowler; but this single answer has done little to heal the wounds of Aboriginal communities who have seen dozens of their young women vanish along the “Highway of Tears,” victims not only of murderous predators but of the systemic racism of a federal government that keeps them trapped on impoverished reservations and, as critics charge, evinced little interest in apprehending their killers. “Highway of Tears” not only movingly relates the personal stories of the victims, but investigates how the legacy of generational poverty, high unemployment and endemic violence in their communities contributed to their tragic fates — and how contemporary First Nations leaders are striving to cure those ills.

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Tic Tac Night at the Writer’s Room in Hollywood

Tic Tac Night at the Writer's Room
Tic Tac Night at the Writer’s Room

I’m excited to host a fun night at the Writer’s Room, located in the back alley of Supperclub in Hollywood tonight with my good friend and excellent DJ, Discowhat. Come by, have drink, check out the Mr. Brainwash artwork on the walls and dance the night away. Get inspired to create and never forget to smiley.

For any sepcial requests or guest list rsvp, please email: info@smileysodapop.com

Have a wonderful weekend! Can’t wait to share my new artwork soon!

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120 Hour Film Festival Frank Sinatra Auction

On Saturday February 23, 2013 I participated in a raffle fundraiser for The Sherry Theater in North Hollywood. The theater is run by a good friend of mine, Scott Haze. When Scott rung me up and asked if I’d be interested in donating a piece to help raise money for the theater during their 1st 120 Hour Film Festival, I gladly accepted.

Director Ben Austen holds up an original Smiley artwork before auction
Director Ben Austen holds up an original Smiley artwork before auction

Feel free to read about the event on the NoHo Arts District website and don’t forget to support your community theaters. There’s always some amazing new talents to discover, especially at The Sherry Theater. I can’t wait to check out some of their upcoming shows!

Frank Sinatra by Matt Smiley raffle piece.
Frank Sinatra by Matt Smiley raffle piece.

 

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Smiley’s 2012 Oscar Race Predictions

It’s almost Christmas, so I figured I’d leave my two cents about what films I enjoyed this year as everyone is rushing out to see films during the holidays. The Oscars this year should prove to be a great show. I’m thrilled that Seth MacFarlane will host the show. As long as he doesn’t get into some sort of public relations disaster like Brett Ratner last year, then we should be on course for some fun entertainment. MacFarlane brings old-school Hollywood class, with a heavy modern day punch.

Here’s the list:

“Silver Linings Playbook” Directed by David O. Russell tops the list of my favorite films of the year. Tackling the subject of mental health disorders, O. Russell and his cast churn out a charming film that will leave plenty for the viewers to think about when the curtain closes. Great performances by Cooper and Lawrence. She will most likely be nominated for an Oscar.

David O. Russell’s "Silver Linings Playbook" with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence
David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence

“Argo” Directed by Ben Affleck. This has been one of my favorite films of the year. I had the good fortune of watching this film at the Academy with a Q&A after with Ben Affleck and a few members of the cast. I’ve been very impressed with Affleck’s career as a director. All three of his films have scored above 90% in user approval reviews. “Gone Baby Gone” scored 94%, “The Town” 94% and “Argo” ranking in at 95%.

Ben Affleck in "Argo"
Ben Affleck in “Argo”

“Django Unchained” Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. I’m on the fence about this film, but not having it on my list this year would be a sin. Tarantino delivers a knock-out sucker punch late in the Oscar race with a heavy N-bombing script that is hugely entertaining. The performances in the film are fantastic, namely DiCaprio who may find himself in the running for a best-supporting actor nod. If you loved “Pulp Fiction” and “Inglorious Bastards”, you’re bound to love the “Django Unchained”.

There’s also some controversy surrounding this film. Already, Spike Lee, a director that I greatly admire has expressed publicly that he will not see Tarantino’s film out of respect for his ancestors. (see video below)

 

Leonardo DiCaprio in "Django Unchained"
Leonardo DiCaprio in “Django Unchained”

“Les Miserables” Directed by Tom Hooper. Starring Hugh Jackman. Jackman should be nominated for an Oscar this year alongside co-star Anne Hathaway who gives a brilliant performance. It’s one of the first industry screenings I’ve ever been to where people were weeping in the theater.

Hugh Jackman les Miserables
Hugh Jackman “les Miserables”

“Any Day Now” Directed by Travis Fine, starring Alan Cumming. This film was a huge surprise for me this year. I waited a while before making time to watch it and boy was I floored. It’s a beautifully sad story, but worth watching. Isaac Levya gives a great performance alongside Alan Cumming.

Garret Dillahunt, Isaac Leyva and Alan Cumming in "Any Day Now"
Garret Dillahunt, Isaac Leyva and Alan Cumming in “Any Day Now”

“Flight” Directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Denzel Washington. I’ve seen this movie three times already. While it would rank higher on my life, there was some stiff competition. Denzel is excellent in this film. There’s no question that he’s one of the best actors of our generation and he should be in the top rankings for the golden Oscar statue this year. John Goodman delivers a strong scene stealing performance in “Flight”. He was great in “Argo”, but the theater was roaring with laughter every time he graced the screen. Goodman is a master at work. If excessive booze, cocaine and girls are your thing, “Flight” will deliver, only, but ready for a lesson in life.

Denzel Washington in Flight.
Denzel Washington in Flight.

“Zero Dark Thirty” Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Another film I’ve seen three times this year. Who wouldn’t want to watch what led to one of the greatest assassinations in modern history. Bigelow tackles a huge topic: the hunt for Osama Bin Ladin and delivers. She’s certainly one of the toughest directors working in the business at the moment. You’ve got to have strength to pick this topic and not pull your punches. I wouldn’t be surprised if this film wins the Oscar. Jessica Chastain gives a great performance.

"Zero Dark Thirty"
“Zero Dark Thirty”

“The Intouchables” Directed by Olivier Nakache won the hearts of the French and broke box office records in 2012, moving on to win 9 César Awards. The film is based on a true story of a paralyzed French aristocrat Philippe, played by Francois Cluzet who hires Driss, a charismatic young con artist brilliantly acted by Omar Sy. This is a great feel good film. Rennie Dyball of People.com lists five reasons to see the film in her article.

"The Untouchables"
“The Untouchables”

“West of Memphis” (documentary) Directed by Amy Berg is an amazing documentary. It is no surprise mega-successful filmmakers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh are behind this project. Jackson was also personally responsible for taking care of the defense fees for the trial of Jason Baldwin, Jesse Misskelley Jr., and Damien Echols who were convicted of murder. With major advancements in DNA testing, there is an amazing twist to the story.

Now that I am in my final stages of editing my first documentary, this project was a great blueprint in master-storytelling. It comes out on Tuesday, so be sure to check it out. Also, be sure to read about how “West of Memphis” helped free The West Memphis Three:

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/12/24/how-west-of-memphis-helped-free-the-west-memphis-three/

"West of Memphis"
“West of Memphis”

 

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Acts of Violence

In late April, I made a commitment to myself and a few close friends that I would produce a documentary about the missing and murdered women in northern British Columbia. We started shooting in May and the stories of loss and sorrow began to pour in. I felt like a sponge on certain days. A sponge soaking up all the hardship the families and communities have had to endure following the loss and disappearance of their loved ones. Oftentimes, I found myself wondering how it could be possible to inflict such heinous acts of violence upon another human being?

Now, we find ourselves in another moment in history where communities worldwide are coming together to morn the loss of the victims in Aurora, Colorado, where a gunman opened fire on a innocent group of moviegoers, eager to see “The Dark Knight Rises”. The scary thought is that any one of us could have been in that movie theater.

In my quest to uncover a mystery behind the missing and murdered women in northern Canada, I discovered that there is not one single person to blame. We are all sometimes guilty of not paying enough attention to the early signs of violence within our communities, no matter where we find ourselves in the world.

My heart goes out to the people affected by the shooting last night. It saddens me to think that someone could inflict such pain on people. I feel a great respect and honor was displayed to the victims when the filmmakers of “The Dark Knight Rises” canceled their Paris premiere following the news reports of the shooting. It shows the world that we cannot turn a blind eye from tragedies, no matter what part of the world we live in. We are all interconnected.

"In my Life" John Lennon
“In my Life” lyrics by John Lennon