Matinee is a multifaceted platform that acts as a bridge between film aspirants and established producers and directors in the film industry, says Shinoy Mathew, producer, actor and founding member of Matinee.
The platform offers OTT streaming and also provides a space for aspiring artists and technicians to showcase their work and portfolios. It was established in 2021 by Shinoy Mathew, along with renowned Malayalam producer and production controller NM Badusha. Matinee’s logo was revealed by actor Fahadh Faasil in March and the OTT site was launched by actor Prithviraj Sukumaran in June. So far, over 15,000 film aspirants, including actors, technicians, directors, and writers, among several others, have registered with the site.
In conversation with Silverscreen India, Mathew talks about Matinee’s beginnings, model of operation, current projects and future plans.
The conception of Matinee
“When I started out in the industry, I too struggled to find opportunities,” says Mathew, who was a banking professional before entering the field of cinema. His own struggles made him empathetic to the position of freshers in the industry and laid the foundation for Matinee.
Mathew eventually came up with the idea of creating Matinee in 2019, after he produced a Malayalam film called Lonappante Mamodeesa, starring actor Jayaram in the lead. Mathew and his team wanted to cast fresh faces in the film and the auditions they conducted for this cost them around Rs 2 lakhs. “That’s when I realised that other producers may also have such expenses every time they announce a casting call and conduct auditions.” He realised this could discourage filmmakers from casting new faces.
On the other hand, are all the talented film aspirants without access to filmmakers, says Mathew. “There are many talented individuals who are unaware of the right way to enter the film industry. Many of them give up due to improper guidance or after spending money unnecessarily. So, I thought that establishing an organised channel would benefit both artists as well as filmmakers.”
Soon after, Mathew pitched this idea to Badusha, the production controller for Lonappante Mamodeesa. “We decided to establish Matinee and our friendship grew from that point. Badusha has contacts with almost everyone in the Malayalam film industry and he has been very supportive in its development,” Mathew adds.
It is also worth noting that with the rise in fake online auditions, initiatives like Matinee can ensure a safe and secure space for film aspirants to find reliable opportunities.
“With Matinee, we hope to help budding artists safely enter the world of cinema,” says Mathew.
How it works
Film aspirants can register on Matinee’s website to avail a membership on a subscription basis. The site has various sections like acting, direction, script writing, camera, and poster design. “The individual can choose one or many categories and create a profile for themselves. They can add the links of their work and keep updating their profile. And if there are any casting calls or requirements for technicians routed through Matinee, we will scan through the profiles and connect the best-suited individuals with the concerned team,” says Mathew.
Another interesting aspect of Matinee is that they also have a provision for people to upload details of their personal properties, like cars, houses, or pets, that they are willing to loan out for shootings.
Additionally, the platform plans to organise workshops and set up audition spaces that can be accessed by filmmakers.
The platform is also conducting a programme called Director’s Hunt. Those interested in participating can submit their short films or other works and Matinee’s team will choose 30 directors, who will then go on to win several prizes.
“Out of the 30 directors, the top 10 will be given an opportunity to direct a web series that will be backed by Matinee and premiered on the OTT platform. In the next stage, one of the ten, will be given an opportunity to direct a feature film. In this way, we provide opportunities to talented and deserving newcomers,” Mathew adds.
Ongoing projects and future plans
A few months after its launch, Matinee managed to cast around 20 actors for an upcoming Malayalam film titled Voice of Sathyanathan, starring Dileep. Mathew tells us the platform also aided newcomer Sanusha land the female lead role in the upcoming film Marathakam, backed by Anto Joseph.
In November, Team Matinee announced its maiden production Oru Bohemian Ganam by filmmaker Tom Emmatty. “Matinee will also be backing an upcoming film titled Vedikettu that will mark the directorial debuts of the writer duo, Bibin George and Vishnu Unnikrishnan. For both these projects, 90% of the cast will be newcomers, whom we will select from the profiles registered on Matinee,” says Mathew.
“We have been getting requests for potential artists from the Telugu industry as well,” he adds.
The OTT platform, meanwhile, is currently streaming short films and the interviews of filmmakers and artists. Matinee’s in-house projects and more original content will premiere of the streaming platform this year.
Mathew adds that the boom in the Malayalam film industry thanks to OTT platforms during the Covid-19 pandemic has given great scope to budding artists. He hopes that platforms such as Matinee will help introduce more and more talented new people to the world of cinema.