2015 Outstanding Young Alumnus
Matt Watterworth (FVP '08), is the co-founder of Calgary's Full Swing Productions. In early 2014, Watterworth, 29, and fellow SAIT graduate Scott Westby went "all-in" to launch their company, which produces corporate and creative video. Armed with Westby's movie screenplay, Synapse, they were the first Calgarians in 16 years to land a spot in the National Screen Institute's NSI Features First program — a "development accelerator" for producer-writer teams whose film holds strong commercial promise.
And Watterworth, as anyone in the local reel culture can attest, is one of the strongest advocates for the creation of a strong, vibrant, self-sustaining film industry in Alberta. He is working to cultivate an environment where more homegrown Alberta names in positions like director, writer or producer, are in the industry spotlight. Watterworth has taken a leadership role in the regional film industry over the past few years. He chairs the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers' production committee, sits on CSIF's board of directors, and has helped to launch a weekly podcast celebrating Alberta's filmmaking industry.
Matt Watterworth, Executive Producer, Full Swing Productions
"Being named Outstanding Young Alumnus in 2015 felt like an honour I didn't deserve. I said in my speech that I hoped to go forward and earn it after the fact. If you are a filmmaker, one of the big goals is to make a feature film. When I got the award, I hadn't, but I have now. Without SAIT, I wouldn't have been able to complete that goal.
'In Plainview' is a revenge thriller about a young cop who went down the wrong path. We funded it through Telefilm Canada's Micro-Budget Production Program. I got to direct the film, and it's produced by my partner, Scott Westby. We met at SAIT and graduated the same year. He's the one who nominated me for the alumni award.
The biggest challenge has been the money. They want you to pull out all the stops and make it the best you can without a ton of resources. Hopefully, in the end we come out with a $250,000 film that looks like a $2 million film. We're in post-production and have had some great feedback from industry professionals. It's in a pretty decent place and it can only go up from here.
When Scott and I started, we both wanted to be a director, but we've found we both love to produce. So, the next thing to do is produce a feature film with Scott as the director. We do have another film somewhat like 'In Plainview,' which is by the same writer. Hopefully, that can be our next step."