Featured Filmmaker: Matt Sadowski, Director/Producer/Writer of PRETEND WE’RE KISSING

Matt Sadowski - Director of Pretend Were Kissing

Matt Sadowski, Director of PRETEND WE’RE KISSING
(Photo by Matt Carr/Getty Images)

We had a chance to interview Matt Sadowski, the director, producer, and writer of PRETEND WE’RE KISSING, the 10pm film at tonight’s Celestial Cinema.

Matt is here on Maui represent his film, will be introducing it in person on the Celestial stage tonight, and will be speaking at a filmmaker panel tomorrow, as well.

Take a moment to get to know his process, and how this film came to be.  

1. How did your film come to be? How did you get involved in making it? Where and when did you start?

I wrote the film in 2004, originally as a vehicle for me to write, direct and star in. That was the same year Garden State came out, a film which covered similar territory and was written by, directed by and starred Zach Braff, so it totally reaffirmed that I could go down the same road. At the time, I had only directed some plays and a short film about a 12 year old heroin addict, which wasn’t going to convince “the brass” that I could make my non-traditional romantic comedy 😉 As an actor, they also felt they couldn’t sell me as the lead. My biggest credit was at that point was in Disney’s Power Rangers. So, with dogged determination, I set out to make more films and be in more stuff. Meanwhile, I worked at perfecting the script. Long story short, 10 years later I had fallen out of love with being on camera and had begun to carve out a real career as a filmmaker. Telefilm was launching a new initiative for microbudget feature, and my script and I just happened to meet all the requirements. I submitted, and now I’m here!!!

2. What was the most challenging thing about making this film? About filmmaking in general?

Anything challenging is worthwhile, and lets say that making this film is proving just how worthwhile it is because I’m finding myself presenting it in Maui at this amazing film festival. There were lots of things that made the film challenging: our limited budget, the way I wanted to shoot it, the amount of shooting day we had (14), the time of year, the fact that I had a newborn at home. In filmmaking in general, I would say there’s a constant challenge to figure out when you shoot stick to your singular vision vs being collaborative, when to make changes to the film that will please you vs when to make changes that consider your audience, and finally the challenge of being happy with the film once it’s completely finished.

3. What type of experience or message do you hope the film will bring to viewers?

I hope that it inspires people to be more confident, stop thinking so much and fall in love.

4. How do film festivals play a role in the release and promotion of a film? What do you most look forward to about film festivals?

It used to be that you needed to play in festivals just to be seen or find a distributor, but now with social media and digital/VOD releases it’s changed. Festivals play a huge role now in spreading the word of mouth for our film. Small films can now make big impacts because of how people are watching films and talking about them online .

5. Describe your connection to Maui if you’ve got one? If you’ve never been to Maui, what are you most looking forward to about your trip to the festival?

I’ve never been to Maui before and I’m incredibly excited to be close to the magic everyone who HAS been talks about. I’ll only bring a piece of it in my heart back with me though, cause I know the curse of bringing something physical back with you is real!


The Featured Filmmaker series is coordinated and written by the Maui Film Festival’s Filmmaker Liaison and Social Media Director Sara Tekula. Click here to see all of the Featured FIlmmaker posts and be sure follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to get live updates from the festival.