Archive for the ‘Personal Updates’ Category

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the World Premiere of PANDORA’S PARADOX at the 2004 Fantasia International Film Festival.

What is PANDORA’S PARADOX, you ask? Why, it’s the 2nd film I directed after my award-winning debut THE MANIPULATOR AND THE SUBSERVIENT.

For those only familiar with EROTICIDE or AMY’S IN THE ATTIC, this may come as a surprise to you, but “back in the day,” I was very much enamored with surrealism and was very influenced by David Lynch, almost to the point of imitation, rather than emulation.

But even Lynch himself couldn’t conceive of a film in which an old woman gives birth to a giant toe that upon being fed milk, hatches like an egg and pops out a young boy who needless to say, “has issues.” One night this young boy witnesses his parents getting it on like only they can, via a homemade Frankensteinesque machine with a pair of electrodes attached to the woman’s breasts while the man sends volts of electricity through them at regular intervals. This obviously leaves an impression on the young boy, but rather than seek professional help or perhaps even ask his parents what on earth they were doing, he decides to return home to his mother’s womb. But before he can do so, he has to tie up a few loose ends.

Starring Joesph Ranger, John M. Thomas, Danielle Berthiaume, Mark Evin, Glen Alexander (of RONNY AND CINDY infamy), Paul Rogic, Shelley Stevens and Elias C. Varoutsos, PANDORA’S PARADOX was a shot-on-16mm, 24-minute mindfuck of a film that managed to snag a pair of awards at the Moonrock Student Film and Video Festival for BEST ACTOR (John M. Thomas) and BEST ACTRESS (Danielle Berthiaume) and screened at Burning Man and even in New York City!

In the case of NYC, I’ll never forget when we were trying to cross the border. The agent asked us the reason for our visit, and we handed him a flyer explaining that we had a film premiering in the Big Apple. He let us go but then seconds later, we heard sirens blaring and a cop car coming after us. We joked that he must have read the flyer and the plot description and decided there’s no way in hell he’s letting us into the States. Fortunately, the car ended up chasing someone else and not us.

I’ve come a long way since the days of PANDORA’S PARADOX, but I think it’s important to celebrate your roots rather than bury them or pretend they don’t even exist like some artists are wont to do. This was a film that opened a lot of doors for me, including landing me my first commercial gig for Nokia of all companies and for that I will always look back on this film with sincere fondness and gratitude for the success that came my way in its wake.

So if you ever wanted to know what an old woman giving birth to a giant toe looked (and sounded) like, take a moment and check out the opening scene of my 2004 film PANDORA’S PARADOX.


Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the World Premiere of my first film THE MANIPULATOR AND THE SUBSERVIENT at the Bearded Child Film Festival in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. My film was screened to such great acclaim that it was awarded the Grand Jury Prize of Best Picture. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine getting my film accepted into a film festival, much less winning an award.

But lo and behold, THE MANIPULATOR AND THE SUBSERVIENT would then go on the next day to have its Canadian Premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival where it was nominated for 4(!) awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Editing as part of a short film competition sponsored by Vision Globale.

Since that fateful weekend, I have gone on to make seven films, all of which have screened the world over winning prizes and kudos all around. But in the end, any shred of notoriety I have managed to gain over these past 10 years is due to the unexpected success of my very first picture, THE MANIPULATOR AND THE SUBSERVIENT.

Here is the opening scene from that film, which in itself has gone on to become quite the cult item on YouTube with over 850,000 views and counting.

Yours Truly on the set of Philippe Bourret's FIRST NIGHT. Photo taken by Eric Bourret.

Yours Truly on the set of Philippe Bourret’s FIRST NIGHT. Photo taken by Eric Bourret.


Hey guys! It’s been a long time since I last updated my blog, but it’s been for good reason. Very good reasons actually.

For starters, I have a brand new job working full-time as a writer and video editor for an e-marketing firm based in NDG. It’s a field in the film industry that I never dreamed of working in while in school, but it seems like all the professional gigs I get as far as paid film work goes, seem to fall under this banner and quite truthfully, I really don’t mind. When you consider that 3/4 of graduates in Communication Studies, Film Production, Film Studies, etc. usually end up working in retail, call centers or restaurants, I consider myself quite fortunate to have found a job in which I work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, getting paid to be creative. I’ve been keeping fairly mum on the content that I work on at my job, but longtime searchers of work in video editing, particularly in Montreal, will be able to read between the lines and recognize what “e-marketing” really stands for. 😉

Secondly, I was cast as the male lead in a short film by director Philippe Bourret entitled FIRST NIGHT. It’s a drama with a bit of an exploitation film motif in which I play an evil cop who’s leading a revolution of sorts against the world. I was on set for five of the six days of shooting and I have to say that while there were tense moments from time to time, all in all, it was one of the best shoots I can ever remember being a part of. Right up there, if not higher than my first experience in a lead role (ZOOM LENS way back in 2005-2006). Phil was very generous and open to suggestions as evident by the many improvised monologues he allowed me to come up with and the cast and crew were second to none, many of whom I plan on asking to be a part of my next film.

And speaking of which, yes I will be shooting a new film, just in time to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sinema Saliba. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been hyping that the “Seventh Sin by Saliba” entitled EROTICIDE was in the works, only for the hype to die just as quickly due to me not having the time to develop the project. But being on set of FIRST NIGHT really inspired me to get off my ass and finally put pen to paper and get this script done. Well, with the exception of the last couple of scenes, I’m proud to announce that I’m on the verge of finally completing the EROTICIDE screenplay. Once we’re officially ready to enter pre-production (which I’m hoping will be in April), I plan on creating a Facebook and Twitter account which will provide you with all the info you’ll need to know in order to follow my latest cinematic exploits. I must say that I’m quite proud of the screenplay as it’s by far, the most honest and bleak material I’ve ever written. Perhaps a bit too much so, which is why it’s been taking me so long to finish it. But the fact that I was able to secure financial backing AND a free film equipment sponsorship from two generous producers who haven’t even seen a finished screenplay, is enough incentive for me to go through with this. Casting should begin in April with a shoot planned for late-April/early-May.

So where does this leave the blog? Well, if nothing else, it should shortly turn into the official EROTICIDE “making-of” blog where I plan on posting updates on a more regular basis. Sort of an expansion on the FB and Twitter accounts. I haven’t had much time to go to the theaters and catch any new films. When I’ve found time, I’ve been watching a few films I recently picked up on DVD, including the surprisingly entertaining and well-done PSYCHO quadrilogy. Hands up, how many people knew that not only was there a sequel to the Hitchcock classic but three of them, including a made-for-TV prequel directed by mother lover, Mick Garris. I also had a chance to rediscover Brian de Palma’s BLOW-OUT, featuring a pre-crazy John Travolta starring as a heroic sound guy. If there was ever an American film that truly captured the Giallo asesthetics of Argento and company, it’s this film. Pino Donaggio’s score really helps too. I am hoping to find time to check out Park Chan-Wook’s English-language debut STOKER. You might stay I’m stoked to see it. 😉

So for those of you who do read this blog on a regular basis, I thank you for your patience with my frequent lack of updates. When I wasn’t working and/or had little interest in re-entering the glamorous world of unpaid indie filmmaking, I had all the time in the world to write eloquent film reviews on a somewhat daily basis. But now that I’ve found my “second wind,” if you will, I find myself living life with a renewed sense of vigor and now I want to be out there creating art in addition to consuming it. That doesn’t mean, I won’t be contributing to this blog, but when I do, it will most likely be updates on how my latest project is doing.

Hope you’ll enjoy following me on my latest filmmaking adventure! 🙂

The second most asked question at my wedding back in September after, “How does it feel to be married?” was unquestionably, “When are you going to make another movie?” This question led me to think about two things:

1. Wow, I really must have some fans out there!

2. Have I really been gone that long as far as my contributions to the indie film community go?

Upon further reflection, I’ve realized that there’s a bit of a misconception out there (undoubtedly perpetrated by yours truly) as to what I’ve been doing all this time.

The last time I was physically on a set directing a picture was back in the Fall of 2009 when I directed my contribution to the OUR FOOTLOOSE REMAKE anthology film.

But while it’s been a good three years since I last directed anything, Sinema Saliba has been alive and well and thriving more than ever.

My last film, AMY’S IN THE ATTIC was shot at the end of August of 2009 and was then in post-production for a good year or so before premiering in November of 2010. But in between then, I was out and about promoting FRANKENSTEIN UNLIMITED/DARK LOTUS throughout 2010. Then when AMY’S IN THE ATTIC was ready to be unleashed upon unsuspecting audiences, it had its festival run through 2011. While the short was making the run around the world, I was developing the feature-length version of the film throughout the first half of 2011 with the idea we were going to shoot it in the later part of 2011 and release it in the summer of 2012. Unfortunately, when the feature fell through, so did my plans for 2012. However, the feature falling through did end up being somewhat serendipitous as I was getting married in 2012 and given the enormity of organizing such a thing, I couldn’t very well be out and about gallivanting on a film set all day. Of course, being someone who’s completely and utterly driven by all things artistic, I couldn’t really stay away from the world of creativity and I ended up teaming up with the Montreal School of Performing Arts for a theatrical production of my play DEATH SPARES NOT THE WICKED in June.


So upon reflecting on all of this, I realized that while it has been three years since my last production, due to the weird release dates and film festival runs my works have had, everything does kind of work out in the end and truth be told, it’s really only been a year since I’ve last released something and given the circumstances which have occupied my time in 2012, it’s perfectly understandable.

But that’s all going to change in 2013!

2013 marks the 10-year anniversary of Sinema Saliba. Can you believe it? I certainly can. It seems like only yesterday when I visited the Fantasia International Film Festival’s website and read about how they accepted local films and how that inspired me to get serious about making my first short film. Flash forward 10 years later and I have six short films, two commercials and numerous acting and technical credits under my belt. Not too shabby!

As I alluded to in an earlier post, the next film I’m developing will be 20-30 minute short film entitled EROTICIDE. This is going to be my most personal film to date and it will inevitably attract the same kind of controversy that my last film AMY’S IN THE ATTIC did as well much discussion and debate as to whether the events in the film pertain to certain relationships in my own life. But I’ve learned to trust my instincts and every fiber of my being is screaming, “Shoot this fucker!”

What’s also very encouraging is that my DOP, Kamel Khalifa (who shot and lit AMY) has told me that I would have complete (and FREE!) access to a Canon 5D camera and lens kit, lighting equipment, sound equipment and possibly an editing suite as well. As anyone who’s ever made an indie film can attest, equipment more often than not consists of 3/4 of your budget.

What’s even more encouraging is the fact that I may have found a financial backer for my film. This is the same guy who was initially planning to bankroll a second run of my play DEATH SPARES NOT THE WICKED. We tried to get it into the Montreal Fringe Festival but unfortunately, we placed 45th(!) on the waiting list so needless to say those plans fell through in a jiffy. But he really believes in me, likes working with me, and best of all, didn’t file a restraining order against me when I told him my idea for the short.

So with a few bucks and free equipment in my corner, EROTICIDE looks like it will become a reality and mark my triumphant return to the director’s chair. If all goes according to plan, we will be shooting in March and hopefully make it in time to submit to Fantasia in May.

But the really big news is that in addition to discussing EROTICIDE, we also discussed the infamous AMY’S IN THE ATTIC feature film that’s been sitting on my hard-drive for the past year or so. He really seemed to dig the idea and said he’d be interested in investing in the film. But due to the rather large budget ($200,000 or so) it’s not something he’d be able to do at this point and time. He’d rather start with the short and then work our way to the feature. Makes sense to me as having re-read the feature recently, it’s a very ambitious film and given the three-year gap between directing gigs, I may want to dip my toes in the water first with a short before tackling this cinematic leviathan.

2013 is really shaping up to be one hell of a year! I’ll be starring in a short exploitation flick by Philippe Bourret entitled FIRST NIGHT alongside my wife. Rehearsals have been going well and we really have an amazing team! Shooting will take place over the first two weekends in January. After that, we jump into pre-production on EROTICIDE with a little break taken on the 28th of January to go see Marilyn Manson in concert at the Metropolis.

I love my wife, I love my life and now that my passion for filmmaking is slowly creeping its way back into my everyday affairs, for the first time in a long time, I think I can say that I may be on the road to true happiness.

About a year ago, I was cast as the lead in an indie werewolf flick called HUNTED, directed by a friend of mine named Julien Desrosiers. Well, one year later the film has been completed and is now available online just in time for Halloween. Check it out at the link below and let me know what you think!

Hi folks!

Wow, I’m really bad at keeping this thing up-to-date. I guess it’s hard to blog when you’re living life to the fullest and keeping busy doing the things you love. In my case that’s spending time with my beautiful wife, our two adorable cats and watching and writing about films.

I’ve been spending a lot of time recently at Cinema du Parc, Montreal’s #1 repertory cinema catching all kinds of classics on 35mm, including: Andrei Tarkovsky’s SOLARIS, ANDREI RUBLEV, IVAN’S CHILDHOOD and THE MIRROR, Wong Kar-Wai’s FALLEN ANGELS, HAPPY TOGETHER and IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE and Francis Ford Coppola’s THE GODFATHER. Watching all these wonderfully crafted, philosophically imbued works of art have made me realize that a diet based purely on trash cinema is enough to cause one indigestion and that every now and then, it’s nice to “clean the palette” and watch some truly engaging and challenging films.

Moreover, these films have really inspired me to get off my ass and finally get cracking on my next screenplay. Which is what I’ve been trying to do for the past couple weeks. The only problem is that this idea I’ve had is not “short film material.” If developed and treated properly, we’re looking at a feature film. And truth be told, I have neither the financial resources nor the confidence to pull such a project off at this point and time. Yet at the same time, I’m constantly bombarded by images of scenes that are just begging to be shot and characters that are meant to be played by some of the most gorgeous and talented actresses I’ve ever been fortunate enough to encounter on my travels that I have to find some way of making this script happen.

So we’ll see what happens. If this ends up being one of those *gulp*, medium-length films, which is to say a film that falls in the no man’s land domain of the over-15 minute/under-60 minute that film festivals seem to shun like the plague then so be it. I could always organize my own screenings and make the film available online as bypassing the festival circuit seems to be all the craze these days.

The other option, would be to put this idea on hold and tackle another project of mine which is to adapt the three stories in my anthology-play DEATH SPARES NOT THE WICKED into individual short films. The benefit of this is that since these were stories written for the theatre, the number of locations are minimal, the number of actors involved are sparse and with the exception of the third story that would need to involve some elaborate special effects, they’re all very doable and affordable to make.

Another advantage of going this route, would be a chance for me to spread my wings as a filmmaker and actually shoot something outside of the “sado-erotic” style that I’m known for. I’ve always believed that the truly great filmmakers are the ones who were/are able to transcend their roots and adapt their approach to filmmaking beyond the parameters of the genre they’re comfortable working in. As much as I love the aforementioned idea I’ve been toying with, it’s very much another “sado-erotic” piece, albeit, one that plays more like a human drama than my previous films. So perhaps I ought to throw caution to the wind and try something new.

However, there’s some recent news that may cause me to put whatever script I decide to write next on hold as my wife and I have recently been cast as the leads in a new short film by Montreal-based filmmaker, Philippe Bourret. I play a cop who’s a little too in love with his power and my wife plays the unfortunate soul who has to experience firsthand my character’s abuse of power. We have our first script read-through scheduled for next Friday and I can’t wait! Not sure when we’re shooting but I imagine it’ll be sometime soon.

I love acting and have always seen it as a way to improve my skills as a director because all too often filmmakers come out of school with the technical knowledge but no emotional intelligence as evident by their inability to communicate what they want out of their actors. By having acted in numerous films and plays over the years, I feel I have gained an invaluable insight into the craft and have come to realize that along with your script, your cast is the most important element of your film because that’s who your audience sees and immediately associates with the success or failure of your film. Therefore it behooves any responsible and serious filmmaker to make sure he/she understands actors and is able to empathize with any struggles or questions they may have about their characters if he/she expects to make a great film.

So that’s pretty much where things stand on my end for now. Will keep you posted on the progress of my next script as well as my upcoming role as the psychopathic cop. 🙂

It’s been a while but I’m happy to say that THE CELERY STALKS AT MIDNIGHT is back and open for business again! I’ll try my best to keep this blog updated on a more regular basis. I’m also going to try to make this blog a little less formal than it’s been. Upon reading some of my earlier posts, I can’t help but feel this is one of those things that started to slip away from me and turn into something I hadn’t planned on this site becoming. There’s far too many blogs out there with reviewers pontificating for words on end about their favorite movies, books and what have you. This was originally conceived as being a venue for me to express my thoughts and feelings on a plethora of topics while giving you, the reader, some insight into who Matthew Saliba, the filmmaker is. And I plan on doing just that, beginning with this piece.

Well, as you may or may not know, I got married! On Saturday, September 22nd, 2012, I married the love and the light of my life, Andree-Anne Forgues in front of our closest friends and family at the Pine Beach Park Gazebo in Dorval, Quebec. When we booked the venue almost one year ago, we did it under the assumption, nay, hope that the weather would be pitch perfect. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t. But with everyone attempting to reassure us that rain on a wedding equals good luck, we were able to look past the miserable weather and realize that we were taking our relationship to the utmost level and that was what we ought to be concentrating on.

Now, onto the bigger question, why did I get married? Truth be told, I really never thought I ever would. But if there’s one thing in life that I’ve learned and continue to learn to this very day, it’s that it’s easy to have an opinion when you don’t stand to have it challenged. In other words, until two and a half years ago, it was very easy for me to say I would never get married because up until I met Andree-Anne, I never met anyone or was in any kind of serious relationship that I could ever envision evolving into marriage. The closest thing to a “relationship” I had at the time was being my ex’s dirty little secret that she would toy around with whenever she was bored with her boyfriend. I could never imagine myself ever having any kind of real relationship where someone would actually be proud to be with me and love me as much as I would love her.

But when Andree-Anne came into my life, everything changed. My perspective on life, love, women, relationships, everything was irrevocably changed, and for the better. Andree-Anne is truly a remarkable woman. She’s beautiful, intelligent, funny, adorable, an amazing cook, an imaginative and awe-inspiring lover and best of all, someone who loves and supports me unconditionally and having never experienced this kind of thing in a relationship before, I knew right away that this was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I could see myself marrying her, starting a family with her, growing old with her and passing on to whatever may lie for us when our time on Earth is over with her. She is my soul mate, my confidant, my best friend and now she is my wife and I couldn’t be happier.

People ask me has life changed since getting married. To be honest, not necessarily. I suppose back in the proverbial “old days” marriage meant moving in together for the first time and in many cases, having sex for the first time too so there was a very obvious feeling of change when two people would get married. Andree-Anne and I, on the other hand, were well versed in the ways of love and living together by the time we tied the knot. Hell, we lived together in my old 1 1/2 apartment early on in our relationship and managed NOT to kill each other. That’s how we knew it was true love! 😉

So while there’s been no obvious change in the relationship, there’s been some subtle ones. There’s a level of commitment and seriousness to our relationship that is undeniably the result of having gotten married. Not to take anything away from unmarried couples, but marriage just seems to be the next logical step in the evolution of one’s love for one’s partner. It just seems to make things more “official.” I also feel a profound sense of pride in referring to “my wife” in conversation. The ring on my finger serves as a daily reminder that my quest for true love is at an end but not to take that love for granted. So while my quest to find my soul mate has reached its climax, my new journey of maintaining and sustaining the love that binds us together has only just begun and will continue for the rest of our lives.

Anyway, the wedding ceremony was a big success as was the reception dinner. There were plenty of lovely speeches by friends and family members but the one thing that was made abundantly clear by everyone in attendance, other than how happy they were for us was the desire for me to get off my ass and make another film.

The last time I shot anything was back in the Fall of 2009 when I directed a segment for OUR FOOTLOOSE REMAKE, an anthology-style project composed of scenes from the original FOOTLOOSE directed by filmmakers from around the world, or mostly from Los Angeles. 2010 was mostly spent in post-production on AMY’S IN THE ATTIC, 2011 was spent writing the AMY’S IN THE ATTIC feature with the idea that we were going to shoot in the Fall and 2012 would have been when I would be touring with the feature. Obviously things didn’t pan out, so it seems like there’s been a long gap between projects for me when in reality, it’s only been about a year as the AMY’S IN THE ATTIC short was touring the festival circuit throughout 2011.

I’ve gone on record as saying that I’ve “retired” from making movies; the question of whether you can really “retire” from a hobby notwithstanding. Between crippling financial problems and the emotional toll of working with people who don’t really want to be there, the prospect of shooting another film hasn’t been one I’ve terribly been looking forward to. However, that doesn’t mean I’ve never stopped thinking about ideas for future projects. I’ve had this one story floating around that I was planning to turn into a novel. And while that would have been an interesting challenge, let’s face it, I grew up on film, I love film, I love telling stories, I love the “fame” that comes with touring with a film and being interviewed and reading reviews of my work and above it all, I love being a filmmaker. That’s what I am through and through.

To have so many people come up to me and ask me when am I going to make another film and how I shouldn’t let my talents go to waste and what a “crime against humanity” it would be to do so really made me rethink whether I may have been a little hasty in claiming that my moviemaking days were behind me. That said, there is the pragmatic reality of things to take into consideration. I don’t have any money to make another movie. Nor do I have any wish to collaborate with people whose first question when they arrive on set is when can they leave. But there may be some hope. I was informed by one of my grooms who also served as my DP on AMY’S IN THE ATTIC about how I would have access to FREE cameras and lights and potentially an editing suite. Free, you say? A very intriguing prospect indeed. And certainly one that would lower the costs of making a film considerably. Granted, there’s no such thing as a “free film” but if my only costs would involve catering, some SFX and other miscellaneous things, I could see myself pulling off another self-produced project. Or better yet, pitching one to a would-be producer.

At any rate, there’s a reason for me to boot up my copy of FINAL DRAFT 7 and get cracking on this story that I’ve been dying to write for some time now. Where this will all lead, I can’t say, but I have an idea, I’ll eventually have a script. I have the equipment and a DP. And perhaps by the end of 2013, I’ll have a new film. 🙂