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Matt & Guy Awards photo COSTUMES3rd Culture Film Festival


Of wild desire with the success of


Matt & Guy Awards RHODE IS

Last Friday, mid-afternoon I had the pleasure to interview the creators of “Sick to My Bones” in Starbucks just down from Lang Kwai Fong, the trendy up-market entertainment district of Hong Kong. And true to form, both Matthew NOMATTSLAND Leonhart, who wrote the screenplay and created the world behind the concept, and his co-director, Guy Davies, whose expertise with the technical side of film making is second to none, both were speeding at a million miles an hour between engagements to talk about their aims, concepts, development, and how they both entered into the film-making business as teenagers. Their schedule at the time, having just returned from setting up their clobber at the Third Culture Film Festival, it was time for the interview then off to take some drone footage over high-rise Hong Kong Central for use in their next movie, and then freshen up for the excitement and intense local and international press coverage for the official opening of the festival that was to take place a few hours hence.

Matt & Guy Awards Puppet

Sick to My Bones trailer   http://www.sicktomybones.com/the-film.html 

Matt & Guy Awards Filming SCOTLAND

At the award ceremony at the end of the festival their efforts were roundlyapplauded as they took out the top two coveted awards; the People’s Choice Award and the Outliers Award. The first things that one notices about this dynamic pair is the unwavering commitment and direction they employ in focusing on their work. They have this infectious youthful positivity about them that radiates in the way they discuss ideas, concepts and possibilities. One gets the feeling that no obstacle too huge or implacable could be placed in their path to hinder their progress in the slightest.

Matthew began his life, and his first 18 years, in Hong Kong to a British father and a Chinese mother. There is something special about the way these two bloodlines has fused into forming his character and personality in a blending of the Ying and Yang to produce an achiever whose glory days are still way ahead of him as he sets about building on each success with another step foward in his constant journey upwards.

Educated at the prestigious English Foundation Island School on Hong Kong Island where he first began to develop his interest in acting and multi-media, the moment he finished his final year of secondary education, the stable door burst open and he was off and flying to study acting in Los Angeles at the Californian Institute of the Arts. It was here where he first gained his love of puppetry, an element of his signature work which has featured to a high degree in his films, music videos and live theatre shows. After completing his course of study at the Institute he worked professionally in films and theatre garnering his skills and experience, and connecting with a wide range of professionals employed across the theatre and visual arts spectrum.

Later he returned for a five year spell to Hong Kong where he completed a Master’s degree in Multi-media Technology and re-entered the world of visual arts where he set about curating and creating many solo and group exhibitions, some of which were toured through the Asian region. At the end of that five year period, seeking new fresh fields, ideas and experience, he was off to London where he hit the ground running involving himself in a variety of projects in film, live theatre and acting. After some time in London he was to experience that classic Robert Frost ‘fork in the road’ dilemma that was to shape his future in a really significant way. Responding to an ad for an acting job, on the morning of the day of his interview he tossed over in his mind whether he filled the right requirements for the job, or should he just give it a miss. At the last moment he decided to take the road less travelled, and it was purely through making that choice that he came in contact with Guy Davies whose film, ‘Emily’ he was to be interviewed for. Of course he got the job and the rest is pretty much history as that was the basis of their formidable and productive relationship. Soon after , Matt was on board Zebrafish Media Productions , the company established by Guy Davies and Matt Brawley, as a storyboard artist and director. http://www.zebrafishmedia.com/

Matt& Guy RTHK

Guy, who is seven years younger than Matt, actually had a much earlier start in the film industry, beginning as a child actor at the age of 11 in a leading role in a short film, “Benjamin’s Struggle”. The film was about a German Jewish boy who came across Hiltler’s manuscript of Mein Kampf, and tells of the struggles and persecution that beset Benjamin’s life, and the poetic justice it renders in the end. The story begins in 1934 while the Nazi reign of terror is running white hot, with Guy as the young Benjamin while Andrew Sachs, well-known for the Manual character he played in the British classic comedy series Fawlty Towers, takes over the role as the adult Benjamin. After premiering at the Californian Palm Springs FF in 2005, it screened at several Oscar qualifying festivals worldwide and won the Audience Award at ‘Encounters’, UK’s leading short film and animation festival. Already bitten by life in the film industry he spent his teenage years making films and being involved in many film projects. By the age of 18 he was awarded the Brett Ratner tuition grant to study at the New York Film Academy’s Cinematography programme. After graduating from this he returned to London to continue his passion of working with cameras to gain greater experience and opportunities. By 2014 Guy had expanded his range of skills to include directing and shooting his first short film, Emily, which had its premiere in New York and was then subsequently shown on the international short film circuit.

‘Sick to My Bones’ is the first film in a trilogy of films that, while not connected by storyline, are linked thematically to cover fundamental concepts of human perception and behaviour such as the struggle between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ using allegory and uncluttered imagery to present a set of opposites, and by the end of the film arriving at a point of resolution. Set a billion years in the future when the earth, after much evolutionary change, is unrecognisably to the world we know today. In our timeframe, it was 570 million years ago that life forms that we are familiar with today began to evolve, and it wasn’t until 200,000 years ago that homo sapiens first started to take shape with the major religious beliefs that surround us today having their beginnings a mere two thousand years ago. Therefore as the film begins, much change both through war and climatic cycles, has taken place, and opens on an earth that has just cooled down enough to allow the two tribes of surviving humans to once again walk upon its surface. Prior to this one tribe had to tunnel into the land to seek relief and survive while the other had to live in the upper atmosphere to escape the earth’s heat. The earth people, as represented by the nine foot mole-like puppet with a demonic appearance, had to grow horns in order dig through the soil and rock to survive. Meanwhile the sky people, as represented by the aviator angle-like figure, developed wings to survive in their aerial domain. At the end the opposing forces are resolved and assimilated into the one state for, in essence there is both the good and bad in everyone and when that is acknowledged, the differences that divide them fade away and are taken over by the positive elements they share. Matthew’s deft hand at storytelling and with the extensive research he had put in on the world’s major religions and belief systems, and combining that with his visual arts and performance skills have all come together to a thoroughly plausible conceptual framework for the film.

The ethereal yet foreboding voiceover that underpins the tone of the film adds a new dimension to the story. If the narration was only spoken in English, perhaps that would have, to a greater or lesser degree, lessened the impact of the film to an English speaking audience. Doing it this way, the short clipped lines of English subtitles flash on the screen to make bare simple statements on the development of the action in the story. Presented in Japanese by Reina Tokura http://www.reinatokura.com/

 Matt & Guy Awards Rheina Takura


It adds a glow of timelessness to the film that gives it the authority of a classic morality play or a children’s classic story. Added to that is the sensational panoramic landscape scenes taken in the Scottish Highlands by cinematographer Sil Williams which bring a breath-takingly stunning location to life with mountainous terrain, ancient woods, drifts of mists, floating clouds and other elemental features.

 Stil Williams


A brilliant cinematographer, Stil Williams brought amazing depth and created beautiful shots with his talent using the ARRI ALEXA camera.
Check out his reel and past work at  WWW.STILWILLIAMS.COM

Another point worth mentioning that further enhances the icing on the cake is music. That was composed by Xiaotian Shi who has written music for the Royal Ballet School, London Contemporary Dance School and the Sacconi Quartet. Xiaotian was the Winner of 1st Prize in the 6th Annual International Composition for Orchestra Competition, in LA, California, his orchestral work was premiered by the Asia America Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Benoit. He was also a prizewinner of the Sibelius Student Composer of the Year competition.

He was the youngest finalist of the Transatlantyk International Film Music Competition for 2 years running, open to all composers aged up to 35. The judges were made up of A-List composers such as Jan Kaczmarek, Mark Isham and Marco Beltrami.

Over the last few years, he has been working as an assistant composer for both Series 1 and 2 of the Discovery Channel’s Emmy Award Winning “Stephen Hawking’s Universe”. Xiaotian’s music has been used by Greenpeace International and UNICEF.

 Matt & Guy Awards COMPOSER Xiaotian ShiXiaotian-Shi composer


Kristina Lao, a Hong-Kong born actor and singer-songwriter gives a formidable appearance as the lead actor in the film. She studied at the London School of Musical Theatre, and has worked on a number of theatre productions, commercials and short films in the UK and Hong Kong. She is currently living in Vancouver and recently signed with Principals Talent.

Angel Song

Sick to My Bones website   http://www.sicktomybones.com/the-film.html

As well as playing the lead role in this film, Kristina co-wrote the theme song to ‘Sick To My Bones’ with her long-term co-writing partner, Elli Parish at Spotty Snail Studios.  www.principalstalent.com  .





Third Culture Film Festival Pt B (Word download for winning films and information of the festival judges: Cntrl + click)


This is the official selection of Films for TCFF 2016, curated by TC co-founder, Faiyaz Jafri.

In its first year, there were over 1800 submissions from around the world.

The films selected were done so based solely on merit, artistic vision, creativity, originality, professionalism.  Maybe one element of the film stood out, the story, the acting, the production, the direction.  What we made sure of however, is that we gave all films a fighting chance, irregardless of where they were from, or what budget they had.  If the film was good, it would be considered, and in this way we strive to stay true to our desire of being a genuinely independent festival.

#LINGO Vicente Nirō Portugal 2015 10m 30s
All Rot Max Hattler Hong Kong 2015 7m 0s
An Angry Man Jannik Dahl Pedersen Denmark 2015 19m 59s
An Unforgettable Day Brian A. Crandall Korea 2015 21m 57s
And We’ll Eat Flowers Logic Paillard France 2014 24m 50s
Back Hometown Li Bin China 2015 19m 59s
Body Hair Archive Dorothy Lee USA 2014 4m 17s
Broken Mirrors Nacho Recio Spain 2014 4m 59s
Coordinated Movement Michael Pelletier Canada 2015 3m 11s
Dark Bile Nuno Sá Pessoa Portugal 2013 17m 41s
Das Katzenjammertal Ara Jo Germany 2014 4m 0s
Dawn Leon Le USA 2014 10m 0s
Disobedience Baris Alp Turkey 2015 10m 0s
Doctor Pafke Kris Verdonck Belgium 2015 12m 30s
Doggy Love Wong Ping Hong Kong 2015 6m 0s
Emily’s Diary Shu Zi China 2016 14m 58s
Extreme Pinocchio Pascal Chind France 2014 22m 44s
False Allegory Greg Doble Canada 2014 1m 43s
Family Meal Park Soo-Min Korea 2014 20m 40s
Fatvolution Adam Ng Wei Sheng Singapore 2015 9m 23s
Fleischwelt Ara Jo Germany 2015 0m 52s
Followers Gints Zilbalodis Latvia 2014 7m 36s
God’s Work Joseph Angelakis Hong Kong 2015 15m 54s
Haiku 4: STILL Lyle Pisio Canada 2014 6m 25s
If They Had Eyes Carlos Polo Menárguez Spain 2015 14m 55s
Il Fascino di Chiamarsi Giulia Samuele Alfani Italy 2015 20m 5s
In a forest Fons Schiedon Netherlands 2014 2m 30s
Insomnia Bernardo Lima Portugal 2015 11m 0s
Into the Dark Lukas Hassel USA 2014 14m 24s
Ivan’s Need Manuela Leuenberger Switzerland 2015 6m 20s
Jussey, France 2009 André Thijssen Netherlands 2012 2m 3s
Marionettes Tamas Waliczky Hungary 2007 7m 0s
Marius Pierre-Julien Fieux France 2014 4m 8s
Mediation Francisco Lorite USA 2014 14m 10s
Memories of a Hitman Sebastian Vuye Belgium 2015 13m 0s
Microwave Neil Champagne USA 2015 13m 14s
Mischa Remy Kooi Netherlands 2015 12m 33s
Oneiria Jeroen Cluckers Belgium 2014 3m 52s
Pianos Aleksandr Kirienko Russia 2015 2m 10s
Ratio Murat Sayginer Turkey 2013 2m 4s
Religatio Jaime Giraldo Canada 2014 3m 22s
Rita Valery Yuzefovich Israel 2013 4m 10s
Sick To My Bones NOMATTSLAND UK 2015 14m 28s
Stark Electric Jesus Hyash Tanmoy India 2014 12m 7s
Still Yin Liu USA 2015 5m 10s
Stop Serdar Cotuk Turkey 2014 3m 0s
The 8-Bit Cup Paul Johnson Canada 2014 2m 37s
The Chicken Una Gunjak Croatia 2014 15m 0s
The Fisherman Alejandro Suarez Hong Kong 2015 20m 0s
The Horse Raised by Spheres David O’Reilly Ireland 2014 2m 38s
The Hose Mansour Foruzesh Iran 2014 14m 20s
The Little Match Girl Kyoko Yamashita Brazil 2014 9m 13s
The Punishment Nelson Fernandes Spain 2012 3m 30s
The Real American Darya Zhuk USA 2015 13m 9s
The Stomach Ben Steiner UK 2014 15m 0s
The Wheel Menna Ekram Egypt 2015 13m 53s
To See More Light Kurtis Hough USA 2015 15m 20s
Unhappy Happy Peter Millard UK 2015 7m 7s
Up Route Jordan Wippell USA 2015 5m 7s
Urban Conformation 31:41 Rouzaud Cornabas Florian France 2014 2m 49s
Victoria Mathilde Marc France 2014 13m 26s
Vitreous Robert Seidel UK 2015 3m 30s
Vivid Guillaume Foresti France 2014 22m 0s
Wayward (org. title ‘Rodløs’) Kira Richards Hansen Denmark 2014 20m 0s
While You Lower Your Head Anastasia Tsang Hong Kong 2015 8m 0s
Wolf Nadan Pines Israel 2015 10m 0s
You Are Not Alone Yufeng Li USA 2015 6m 1s
Zeitnot Ernesto Rowe Argentina 2015 11m 0s
Zero M2 Matthieu Landour France 2015 18m 16s


Third Culture Film Festival Pt B (Word download for winning films and information of the festival judges: Cntrl + click)

Stanley Butler
Stanley Butler
Currently a writer of ESL materials and a teacher of English and Japanese in Hong Kong, his journey to the East started in the 1850's goldfield town of Ballaarat where the Eureka Rebellion took place on Dec 4 1854. After 2 decades there he then went on to spend three decades in Melbourne to pursue studies at Monash Secondary Teachers College (Rusden) and La Trobe University before taking up an active role in (Asian) furniture making and design, alongside running a business with his partner that had a dramatic impact on migrant education in Australia, the opening up of the overseas student market to Australian schools and institutions, and provided a link for Australian educators to establish their expertise throughout the Asia region, particularly in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. On the way to Asia with an obligatory trip around Australia in mind to see his own country, Darwin and the Northern Territory captivated him. Shortly after arriving, he found himself resident in Alice Springs, in the heart of the Australia, where he had for the first time, contact with Aboriginal people and the problems that confront them in a land that has largely left them marginalised. That was a real learning curve for him and is something that empowers him to see they have their problems redressed in a just and equitable way. For a culture that has existed for over 60,000 years, the world's oldest continuing living culture, that had never been messed with prior to the 1788 British First Fleet of convicts, of whom some of his roots came from, the takeover of their land and their culture deserves nothing less. However the East has always been something that's fascinated him since childhood. After many trips to Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, The Philippines and Indonesia over the years, it wasn't until 2008 that he was finally able to live in the heart of this region, in Hong Kong.

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