Matthew Modine – KCRA Common Ground Profile – Part 2 of 3
Every now and then in the business of TV news you get a chance to meet and do a story on someone who’s work you admire and who had been a part of something historic.
Matthew Modine is an actor and filmmaker who has been working in films for almost the same length of time that I’ve been working in TV news. His most well-known work is quite possibly in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. It was a film an an experience that left a lasting impression on Modine.
Kubrick’s independent style in filmmaking went much deeper than in the types of films that he created, but also to the very personal, hands-on method with which he crafted his work. As I detailed in an earlier blog on the work of Stanley Kubrick, he was a filmmaker who was a writer-producer-director-cameraman.
Matthew Modine was already interested in photography when he started working on the sixteen-week schedule for Full Metal Jacket, which then went on to become a sixteen month shoot. Modine documented this in the excellent book, Full Metal Jacket Diary. I think the experience of working so intimately with Kubrick also inspired him to want to explore filmmaking himself, and to make his own deeply personal films in the same very hands-on filmmaking style.
Matthew’s most recent example of that is Jesus Was A Commie, a fifteen-minute short film which he shot with a few collaborators on the streets of New York, totally guerrilla style, shooting discreetly with the Canon 5D MkII DSLR camera and editing in Apple’s Final Cut Pro.
His film screened in Sacramento last weekend at The Crest Theatre and Matthew took the time to spend a few days here, promoting the film and Health Corps, Dr. Oz‘s health awareness movement. Matthew appeared as a live guest on KCRA’s morning news program and very generously gave me access to him to interview for a story that I wanted to shoot on him and his film, as well as filming him at the screening.
Jesus Was A Commie is not a political film in that it is bent towards the political left or right. It is a personal monologue about his views of Jesus and his teachings and how we as humans should consider in our dealings with each other and our planet. It is sincere and heartfelt and his argument reaches across all boundaries, uniting all kinds of people in a non-denominational plea for unity and fairness. Perhaps that is what is more controversial than it’s title. It is personally challenging. And I am writing this as a person who is not religious by any one defined religious or philosophical doctrine.
If you can, please try to see Matthew’s film. He speaks much more articulately than I can. And his film is only fifteen-minutes. It will be time well-spent. And it is visually stunning to look at.
My thanks to Matthew Modine for his generosity and his accessibility. I hope he enjoys the story I did about him as much as I enjoyed the opportunity to do it.
For the above TV news story, I reported & wrote, photographed and edited. The exterior shots of The Crest Theatre and the footage with the protestor were shot by KCRA photographer Kelly Wright.