Interview with Travis Matthews Part 1

San Francisco-based filmmaker Travis Matthews is well known for his documentary work and his on-going In Their Room series, which he describes as a ‘voyeuristic take on urban gay men.’ In 2010, he released a teaser scene from the in the works feature film I Want Your Love. A refreshingly contemporary and candid take on gay men, the short quickly gained thousands of views helped by a soundtrack courtesy of Girls, and of course, explicit sex. The short was acclaimed by gay and indie film press alike, played at a slew of film festivals and racked up over three million views. Over a year on and Travis is ready to screen the feature.

We’re excited to present the UK premiere of I Want Your Love as the Fringe! Film Festival 2012 opening night film.

In I Want Your Love, after a decade of living in San Francisco, Jesse is forced to move back to his Midwestern roots because he can no longer afford the city. On his final night in the city, friends and ex-lovers gather for a going away party that promises
to heighten Jesse’s already bittersweet feelings about leaving.

Travis generously agreed to be interviewed for our series by Fringe and I Want Your Love Director of Photography, Keith Wilson. In part 1, Travis and Keith talk about the production and pre-screening nerves.

Travis: I’m planning to wear as little as possible. Some trainers and a jumper

Travis Mathews

Travis Mathews

Keith: I’m curious about how you’re feeling to see and experience IWYL with an audience for the first time?

Travis: Hmmm. I’m predictably all over the place with it. Very excited and nervous about being with a big audience that’s mostly folks I don’t know.

I hope it looks great on the big, big screen and that the Blu-ray doesn’t fuck up.

Keith: Oh gosh me too. At screenings, I’m always terrified the tape or file won’t work and that it looks horrible or the sound is out of sync. More importantly… what are you going to wear? And how and when do you decide this?

Travis: I’m planning to wear as little as possible. Some trainers and a jumper

Keith: Good choice for the East End me thinks.

Keith Wilson

Keith Wilson

Travis: That’s hard to answer. I’ve been working so non-stop since 2009 that I haven’t had much of a chance to reflect on anything. I’m hoping to do that over the summer, somewhere. I do feel a pressure to work with or against some of what’s been written about my work, but it’s mostly pressure I put on myself. I think it’s made me more paranoid to be really honest. But on the positive side, any press and general contact with people who like what I’m doing reminds me to trust my intuition.

 

Travis: I know we talked at length about what we’d shoot on and how much would be verite-like versus pure set ups and I’m wondering how you feel about the final result. Would you do anything differently?

Travis Matthews Behind The Scenes (Credit: Geof Teague)

Travis Matthews Behind The Scenes (Credit: Geof Teague)

Keith: That’s a great question. When I look at the final film, there is very little I would do differently. Oh, of course, there are a few shots and one scene in particular that drive me crazy, but overall I think it’s quite lovely and the right look for the story. Especially given our tight budget and even tighter shooting schedule. This being both of our first features, I think we both learned a lot about how to make a movie with limited resources. But I try not to get all hind-sighted or down about the few things that aren’t perfect or stellar picture-wise. There are plenty more films to make and perfection is boring.

Travis: Totally. I agree with that.

Keith Wilson Behind The Scenes (Credit: Geof Teague)

Keith Wilson Behind The Scenes (Credit: Geof Teague)

Travis: You know, we were life partners forever, forever ago now, and I think all of that intimate knowledge of each other (while making things difficult at times) made for a better film ultimately. I suspect that we both would have compromised more easily if it was a stranger we were working with. What do you think?

Keith: I completely agree with that. Knowing each other as well as we did was a big plus. We can speak in short-hand, we can be honest with each other, we can call each other on bullshit, all that stuff. And I think we both have complementary strengths and weaknesses, which but may not have been so copacetic romantically but serve us well in producing honest, beautiful films.

I remember you calling me the “resident dream crusher” in an interview, to which I’m both proud and apologetic. Did this make the credits?

Keith Wilson Behind The Scenes (Credit: Geof Teague)

Keith Wilson Behind The Scenes (Credit: Geof Teague)

Travis: I said that with a wink, but I mean it in the most affectionate way! You know, you’re one of very few people whom I actually (err, sometimes) listen to when you’re wiping away the fumes of whatever excitement I’m playing out. I think it’s just a testament to our friendship that it really never feels personal at this point, but more about “the work”.

Travis: No, Dream Crusher did not make the credits, but maybe that
could be the name of your first directorial feature.

Keith: Starring Travis Mathews?

Travis: LOL. Yes, starring me. Okay, so I’m gonna be in London for a whole month shooting an ITR episode. Anything you’d personally like to see from ITR London?

Travis Matthews Behind The Scenes (Credit: Geof Teague)

Travis Matthews Behind The Scenes (Credit: Geof Teague)

Keith: I would, of course, like to see the usual ITR standards like honesty and variety and intimacy and some skin. And and and I want to be surprised by something – formally, subject-wise, I dunno.  Someone with a third nipple? A hoarder? Keep me and all those other ITR devotees on our toes Mr. Mathews.

Be sure to read more I Want Your Love at Fringe interviews with Travis at Wonderland Magazine and The Rumpus and come back on Friday 15th to see the second part of this interview.

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