Mat de Koning is the director of Meal Tickets, which will be screening at this year’s Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. We had the chance to chat to Mat about the film, and his experiences working in the documentary scene. For the chance to check out Meal Tickets, and other fantastic documentary films, head over to the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival website to grab your tickets!

What first got you interested in filmmaking?

I thought I wanted to be a police officer because I loved the Police Academy movies when I was a kid. . . Then I grew a little wiser and realized I just loved movies.

What are some of your main influences?

I’m part of that generation that saw Clerks and went – ‘I can do that’. . . However, script writing wasn’t my bag, so I set out to make documentaries that still have that ‘bromance’ appeal.

What element of filmmaking do you enjoy the most?

Those times when you’re in the right place at the right time, capturing a unique moment and you know your audio is working!

Mat de Koning

What are some of the bigger hurdles that you’ve had to face in filmmaking, either on a specific film or in a broader sense?

For Meal Tickets, it was getting all of the release forms signed. . . I jumped into this documentary without having a single release form – it was only once I started editing that we chased peoples’ releases. . . Some people were hard to track down, some didn’t want to sign off. . . Then when they did there was the struggle between making a good documentary and not over stepping the boundaries of friendship with the people who had let me document them for so many years. 

What do you think makes a great film? 

Striking a chord. . . I don’t watch a lot of movies, but I watch my favourite movies a lot of times. . . Films like Fubar, done on a shoe string budget that my buddies and I watch over and over again and quote on the regular.

Do you think success in short film translates to success in feature filmmaking?

A good short opens doors and proves a filmmaking team have the ability to complete a project. Go make those mistakes on some shorts!

Do you engage in social media as part of the filmmaking process? Do you think social media platforms are becoming a bigger part of filmmaking?

Much like the bands in my film, I have a hatred for promoting my film on social media. . . But festivals want to know that if they take a chance on an indie film, it’s going to pull an audience, and numbers on social media platforms are a strong indication of audience participation. 

Mat de Koning

What can you tell us about your film?

It took ten years to film, five years to edit and over 20 drafts until I was happy with it.

What’s on the horizon?

Projects that are more community focused, and give more back than just entertainment value.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants a career in filmmaking?

Build a body of work that you’ll enjoy watching in your old age.