By Casey Neill
A Dandenong filmmaker’s silent movie is making noise in Hollywood.
Matthew Victor Pastor, 28, is heading to the Academy Award qualifier Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
His film I am Jupiter I am the Biggest Planet has been nominated for the Golden Reel Award for Excellence in Short-Form Narrative Filmmaking.
“It’s set in the Philippines where my mum was born,” he said.
“We shot on location in the entertainment district.
“The film explores some of the trials and tribulations that women go through in the red light district of the Philippines.
“The characters don’t talk. Maybe they’re too damaged to say a word.
“The silence is used to place emphasis on visuals.
“To visually present it, I think it’s a more honest depiction of the exploitation of women.”
The film made its debut at the Monster Fest in Melbourne and also screened at the 14th World Film Festival of Bangkok in Thailand.
“It’s good to be encouraged. I’ve spent years trying to make films,” he said.
“This little film with no words is actually getting recognition.
“I feel arts should inspire, shed light on the harsh truths and realities.”
His love for film dates back to hiring VHS tapes with his dad in Noble Park.
“We’d always rent the same Jackie Chan films and the same Sylvester Stallone movies,” he said.
He was about 14 when he started using the video function on a still camera. It could record 30 seconds of video at a time.
“We didn’t even know how to edit as kids so we just watched them in order on playback,” he said.
Mr Pastor enrolled in a film degree at Holmesglen Institute in Glen Waverley and won the Monash Youth Film Festival about age 18.
“After that I went to Hong Kong for a brief stint,” he said.
There he made his first full-length film, Made in Australia, which won Best Guerrilla Film at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival in 2013.
“I dealt with the thematic of loneliness in another country,” he said.
From there, Mr Pastor returned to study.
“I wanted to pursue my masters. It was something I’d always wanted to do.
“I decided to apply at the Victorian College of the Arts.”
It was there he created I am Jupiter I am the Biggest Planet.
He explained that his film titles rarely followed convention.
“There’s got to be a bit of rebelliousness and playfulness with the English language,” he said.
“It’s like poetry, it doesn’t have to be grammatically correct sometimes, it just has to get the emotion across.”
Mr Pastor is wrapping up feature film Butterfly Flower: Please Wait to Be Seated and expects a release date later this year.
“The main story would be about an international student that starts off as a sex worker,” he said.
He’s also filming Maganda: Pinoy Boy vs Milk Man (Down Under) in his parents’ Dandenong home.
The world’s deadliest Filipino assassin is in Australia to get revenge.
“It’s like an action comedy,” he said.
“I’m making that one partly because I grew up watching so many of those fun films.
“The last film was so heavy, I wanted to do something a bit more playful.”
Watch the trailer for I am Jupiter I am the Biggest Planet.