Matt Close, Mattea Brotherton, Dana Hodgson, Connor Rueter, and Maxime Lauzon star in Happy F’K’IN Sunshine. A new Canadian feature premiering Friday, June 10 (9:30 p.m.), at the Dances With Films Festival at the famed Chinese Theatre in the heart of Hollywood.
Happy F’K’IN Sunshine centers on Ronnie and her brother Will who live in a one mill town. When the mill goes on strike, the future for their family looks bleak. Fortunately, Ronnie has found a brisk business selling weed. When Will wants to start a band, Ronnie uses her weed profits to buy Will an electric guitar. Against everybody’s advice, Will enlists local outcast Artie as the bass player. Artie’s lies cause instant conflict within the band, especially with Vince, the egotistical lead singer. But the musical chemistry is undeniable, and the band just might hit the big time. If they can survive each other first.
Matt Close was born and raised in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. Matt graduated from the Digital Cinematography program at Canadore College in 2017. One of his student films received the best in Canada award for drama/comedy short at the BEAC national student awards, and two films have gone on to showcase at film festivals. Since then he has acted in various projects, worked as a freelance video editor, and continues to create personal projects relating to film.
I had the opportunity to chat with Matt (who portrays Will) about his role, what he learned while filming, and his favorite memories on set.
Kat: Can you share a little about why you decided to pursue acting?
Matt: Acting more or less came as a side effect of going to film school. The best people to get to act in your films were usually other film students, and even after graduating I continued to act in projects. This eventually led to me being asked to audition for this film!
Kat: How did you prepare for your role?
Matt: Since playing the guitar had a lot to do with the role, and I had no guitar experience, I had to learn as much guitar as I could in a few weeks. I was also never into riding bikes so I started practicing that too. Plus, of course, reviewing the script!
Kat: Did you learn anything about yourself while filming?
Matt: I was told this in the past, but being told it again from multiple people on different occasions while doing this role helped me understand that what I’m trying to do works – my acting came across as “natural”. It’s nice to hear that since I tend to constantly replay the scene in my head until I can get it to come out of me while feeling like a real conversation, not just for the character I’m playing.
Kat: Was there anything about your role that was particularly challenging?
Matt: An amalgamation of learning guitar and bike, and getting the script to come out naturally. Other than that, I was stressing about having to wake up at 6am since I was usually nocturnal at that time. I think the stress of that helped me shut down fast the night before the first day of shooting as I was able to fall asleep at about 11pm. Oh yeah I also got sick after the first week of filming :)
Kat: Do you have any favorite memories from set?
Matt: My costar Maxime (who plays River) picked up a cat that was wandering around outside and knocked on a nearby house to try to return it to the owner. They told her it was an outdoors cat. She then stood there awkwardly holding their cat.
Kat: What do you hope the audience takes from the film?
Matt: That you too can get the hell out of whatever you’re in.
Kat: The film centres on music, who are some of your favorite music artists, and was there any particular song or artist you listened to while filming?
Matt: My favorite artists for a while now have been the whole Ed Banger Records crew – SebastiAn, Justice, Mr. Oizo, etc. Pretty much anyone under the bloghouse umbrella. I remember after the first day of filming I was stressing about whether I did a good job or not so I put on Mr. Oizo’s 1999 album “Analog Worms Attack” – his music really gets you out of your head.
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