Five Questions With Filmmaker Trevin Matcek

As-You-Were---webBorn in a small Texas town, Trevin graduated USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. He is a Film Independent Fellow in Directing and Screenwriting. His feature film scriptThings We’ve Made was a finalist for IFP’s Emerging Narrative Program. His music video The District Sleeps Tonight for The Postal Service, was Fuse TV’s #3 Video of the Year and nominated by the Music Video Production Association for Best Video under $10K. Trevin’s short Sylvia won the Gold Award for Best Short at Houston Worldfest, played over a dozen festivals around the world and aired on Showtime. He wrote/directed You, Me & We, a short about human clones in group therapy which played film festivals including Sci-Fi London, The Future is Now, Icon International in Tel Aviv and screened at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Life Beginsat Rewirement for Season 3 of Futurestates, premiered at Tribeca and will be featured in the upcoming Valletta2018 art exhibition “Culture of Ageing.” For more, go to

Matcek’s film, As You Were, is playing at the 2015 GI Film Festival.

Where are you from and what is your film background?

I’m from Caldwell, a small town in Central Texas, population 4,000. I’ve been making movies since I was 10 years old. I went to USC film school. In addition to directing short films and music videos, I work as a previs editor on movies such as The Avengers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Oblivion and Poltergeist.

Who are your biggest influences in film and why?

Hal Ashby – working as an editor, then director, he created hyper-stylized films about eccentric oddballs, but made them palpable and human.

David Cronenberg for his ability to elevate body horror into high art.

Kurt Vonnegut – his stories were filled with mind-blowing, earth-shattering ideas, but he somehow made them relatable by wrapping the science fiction in humor.

Carl Sagan – for making poetry out of science.

What was the hardest part about getting this film made?

It’s always difficult making high concept, science fiction on a small budget and I work in VFX, so am my own harshest critic when if comes to effects. We used practical effects for the protagonist’s robotic limbs and, though I’m happy with the results, the process was definitely stressful. Most set ups with the robotic props had to be shot three ways: once with the actor wearing the prosthetic, then again wearing a green sleeve or sock (for comping purposes) and a final clean plate without the actor in frame. Our budget allowed for only a handful of digital prosthetic work, which I used in the establishing scene. If you can sell the robotics in the first few minutes, the audience will accept them as realistic and jump on board for the rest of the film.

What do you want viewers to take away with them after watching your film?

This story is set in the near future, but it is very much about our world today. I wanted to show one soldier’s struggle and how his family could help him reconnect with himself. Advancements in technology can improve our lives, but they can also complicate them by creating new problems. We’ll never build a mechanism that will erase the physical or psychological effects of combat. So it’s a good thing we already have one that can help the healing process – family (in all its various forms). 

What is a fun fact about you that would surprise people?

For the scene where Johnner punches the wall and then he and Erica talk through the hole — we couldn’t put a hole in the wall of the location, so we actually built a set in the backyard of that house. Our amazing production designer Ayse Arf built a set that matched the two bedrooms. Our DP Pablo Berron and Gaffer Chad Cohlmia matched the lighting and we were able to seamlessly blend the separate locations into one convincing scene.

Another fun fact is the foreman who hires Johnner is played by Jeff Daniel Phillips – also known for playing the Geico caveman.

As You Were, directed by Trevin Matcek, is playing at Angelika on May 24, 2015. Click here for tickets.