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  • Bright Spark | Movie Premiere and Behind the Scenes with the Director

    Friday, January 14, 2022   /   by Rachel Green

    Bright Spark | Movie Premiere and Behind the Scenes with the Director

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    When the dedicated and talented director, Matt Black, invited us to see the movie he'd been working on for nine years, we immediately accepted. It wasn't until more than halfway through seeing the movie that we had only regret  not inviting each and every one of you to see it. 

    In a moment when everyone is having a tough time, but experiencing life differently with divided beliefs and opposing perspectives, I can't help but wish for something to get us all talking – to bring us back together. And then this movie happens. It has absolutely nothing to do with a pandemic, but everything to do with the human experience and the vastly differing paradigms from which we operate. This movie is about art and belief – in fact, very specifically, about the "Art and Belief" movement, one of its founders, and how life, religion, family, creativity, and art intersect. 

    In the movie, the storytellers, Nathan and Matt, capture the real life of an artist, but authentically and fairly tell all sides of the story. It's a must see!  

    We sat down (digitally – thanks to the germs) with Matt for his story and perspective on this project. Here's what he shared: 

    Bright Spark is in Megaplex theatres beginning January 14th. Click here for showtimes and tickets.


    I met Nathan Florence, my co-director and partner on the film, about 10 years ago. I mentioned I was a documentary filmmaker and his ears perked up. He’d just started a documentary film and immediately asked for my help, as he’s a painter and had no filmmaking experience up to that point. My first inclination was to politely decline but the more he talked about the story the more intrigued I became. The story had a very personal resonance for me as it was about the struggle of trying to make art and be religious. I grew up Mormon and went to film school at BYU where I really tried to figure out how to tell stories about the faith in authentic and honest ways but I found it really difficult. I found the stories of these artists trying to do similar things very inspiring. I also really loved that each of the four artists found a different path to their ongoing relationship with the church from leaving entirely, to staying active as an agnostic, to just getting along and being a faithful, active member. And Trevor’s personal story was dramatic enough that I knew we could actually make a movie that would be interesting to watch.
    Being a classically trained documentary filmmaker, my first inclination was to tell the story of these artists entirely through their interviews, but after months (okay years) of banging away at an edit I finally came to the conclusion that these interviews weren’t going to be able to tell the story on their own. I’d edited myself into a dead end. Also, my co-director was starting to get involved in the story in some weird ways and I had no idea what to do with that. I didn’t really want to do some generic narration to fill in the gaps. That’s when it hit me that I could make Nathan Florence a character in the film. Nathan will be the first to tell you that he has major misgivings about putting himself in the film but he also saw the potential there and agreed to do it. I ended up writing the entire film out on paper  (a combination of interviews and narration in Nathan’s voice) in a couple of weeks. He and I then went back and forth on his lines to make them more his own. That was when the film really started taking the shape it is today. 
    It’s been a real honor to tell this story and I’m really pleased with the way it’s turned out. We’ve had some really great response to the film so far and I just really hope people see it and it reaches the audiences that will connect with the story and its themes. We worked really hard to tell and honest, nuanced story that doesn’t pull punches but also is filled with respect and compassion. That’s something that Trevor Southey excelled at in his art as well.

    Bright Spark is in Megaplex theatres beginning January 14th. Click here for showtimes and tickets.

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    Behind the scenes with Director Matt Black. Courtesy of Matt Black. 

    Bright Spark is in Megaplex theatres beginning January 14th. Click here for showtimes and tickets.