The last time Mainers got to enjoy the work of actor Matt Gibson was last summer when he starred in Maine State Music Theatre’s Hello, Dolly! as Cornelius Hackl. The New York based actor with a string of Broadway and off-Broadway credits has spent the last year, writing and acting in film and sweeping the Film Festival circuit awards for DOGMATE, a short that Gibson has written and in which he stars together with Ken Jennings, Cadden Jones, and Monica L. Jones. The short, produced by Patrick Bishop of Bishops Gate Entertainment and co-directed by Mollie Vogt-Welch and Amanda Thickpenny has received thirteen honors at nine festivals so far, including three wins and one nomination for “Best Comedic Short,” one win and two nominations for “Best Acting Ensemble,” two nominations for “Best Actor ” for Gibson and one win and two nominations for “Best Supporting Actress” for Cadden Jones. DOGMATE, which has received a non-exclusive distribution deal, makes its next debut at The Cutting Room International Short Film Festival on December 5-6, 2020.
DOGMATE tells the story of Tim, a young man disenchanted with his NYC life and the world in general until the dog-walking app he works for brings him to the perfect apartment, potential housemate, and dog – all of which he decides he wants to make permanent in his life.
Asked what intrigues him about writing, he replies,” Writing has been a cool vehicle to show the world the types of roles, styles, and stories that I find compelling. I think of these films as calling cards for the type of work I’d like to do more of. In the entertainment industry, people are often mad to categorize folks – he’s good at this so he’s probably not as good at that – so writing has been a useful way for me to expand people’s idea of what I’m capable of as a storyteller. It’s also been great to create opportunities to collaborate with and learn from other artists I admire.”
This passion and skill have proved especially useful during the pandemic because Gibson, like actors everywhere, has seen stage work disappear. Having the opportunity to continue to be creative and continue to tell stories has been a major sustaining factor for Gibson as an artist. And he believes that his work on stage and that of all his colleagues and fellow creatives on DOGMATE is what has made the film rather special.
Citing the differences between the two mediums, he opines, “The most glaring difference for me is that, from a performance perspective, theatre is an actor’s medium and film/tv is an editor’s medium. You have the final word as a stage actor of how your performance will be sculpted. In film, you shoot your footage, usually as quickly as possible to stay on budget, and your performance is cobbled together by the editor. But this difference is actually why I think stage actors make such brilliant film actors. Through the repetition and camaraderie required for quality stage work and the invaluable feedback of a live audience, they become expert collaborators and storytellers.”
And while he recognizes the differences between stage and film, Gibson believes “good storytelling transcends mediums more easily than folks who only work in one medium would have you believe. One festival asked how I thought we were winning award recognition over films with much bigger budgets, and I said I think it’s because almost everyone who worked on our film, both in front of and behind the camera, has extensive stage experience.”
DOGMATE is the fifth short film script Gibson, who holds a degree in journalism and drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, has written and that has been produced. During quarantine, he has completed a sixth which has already been awarded Honorable Mention at the Reale Film Festival, and he hopes to bring it to production soon.
Photos courtesy of Matt Gibson
DOGMATE can next be seen at The Cutting Room Short Film Festival, December 5-6, 2020. For details or to purchase tickets to view online, visit https://thecuttingroomnycisff.com
Watch the trailer for DOGMATE at https://vimeo.com/452713759
Dogmate Official Trailer from Matt Gibson on Vimeo.