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Filmmaker Series: Michael Matteo Rossi

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Filmmaker series spotlight
Michael Matteo Rossi

Introduce yourself

Hi, I’m Michael Matteo Rossi, a filmmaker born and raised in Los Angeles. I went to Campbell Hall in North Hollywood for high school then moved down to San Diego to attend San Diego State University before turning back to LA to continue my film career.

What initially got you into filmmaking?

My dad would show me a lot of the classic films growing up and just even going to the movie theatres in the 90’s as a kid and seeing so many that influenced me told me that I needed to get involved in this medium of entertainment. I wanted to tell stories as far back as I remember.

Michael receiving Best Action Film award
Best Action Film - "Chase"

Who are your biggest influences and why?

Stanley Kubrick is one of them because of his meticulous nature, the subjects he wanted to talk about in his films and the lasting and memorable visuals he was able to capture. He knew exactly what he wanted and although he might have been hard and eccentric, he made some of the greatest films we’ve ever seen.

How important is film as a medium and art form in the world, today?

It’s vital. I think we as human beings crave to be entertained and to enjoy watching spectacles and

that’s what filmmaking is. We love hearing and telling stories and it gives us something to enjoy and

bond with our friends and family about. It is a shared experience and a team effort.

Screen still of Chris Levine in "The Handler"
Chris Levine in "The Handler"

Do you have a set process when making film?

I like bringing a lot of my same team to each one of my films because you need people you can rely on that don’t have an ego and also understand your vision too and believe in the project as well. I like a positive environment and people actually having fun. We are all there to tell the best story we can and I do believe in positive energy and I don’t like any negative draining on set. Sure, things can get stressful, but when you’re around people you enjoy we think of solutions, not just problems.

What has been your favourite film to work on and why?

Pop art style poster of man with sunglasses
Shadows film poster

I would say it’s a 3 way tie between Chase, Shadows and The Handler and what they all had in common was the team overall was very supporting, believed in the film and we had a great plan of attack when it came to filming. I loved the actors I worked with as well and it gets getting better and better.

Which genre do you enjoy working in?

I would say mostly action crime thrillers and suspense drama films.

Is filmmaking your primary source of income?

Thankfully yes. Obviously with film it can be inconsistent sometimes, but I get commissioned to write a lot and have some creative side gigs that make it possible. It’s all about hustling and networking and building up your brand.

What is your definition of success?

Doing what you love and feeling whole from it. You set goals and are accomplishing them

consistently and you stay hungry and ambitious.

What advice can you give our readers, should they wish to pursue filmmaking?

Find likeminded creative people to collaborate with. Social media can be a blessing and a curse, but use it for a productive positive way of meeting other artists and seeing if you can link up and make something happen. Don’t be discouraged when you get a rejection; just learn from it and keep going.

Whatever you do, do not give up.

Chris Levine on the main poster for the handler
The Handler film poster

Do you ever suffer from creative burnout? How do you combat it?

Of course. Filmmaking can be very stressful and the waiting game is horrible and the close calls and the let downs when you think something is going to go through and then last minute it gets pulled from under you. I think it’s important to just breathe and look at the big picture that this happens to

a lot of us and if your passion is strong enough, you will know that the good out ways the bad in this business. It’s about having a positive mental approach and attitude.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently in post of two of my features “Shadows” and “The Handler”

Sons of Anarchy actor Francis Capra in Shadows
Francis Capra in "Shadows"

What are your hopes for the future?

To just continue to work on feature films and directing and working with an amazing cast and crew that brings my vision to life.

Lastly where can people find you?

Are you a filmmaker? Want to be interviewed? Please get in touch and fill out your contact details;

#michaelmatteorossi #filmmakerseries #interview #producer #director #screenwriter #filmmaker #hollywood #chase #thehandler #chrislevine #shadows #franciscapra #action #thriller #usfilmmaker #california #losangeles #filmmakingtips #filmmakingadvice

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