MSFF

MSFF

Sunday, May 23, 2021

2021 Films: Lessons With Martha

Lessons With Martha by Matthew C. Johnson
Los Angeles (Milwaukee Premiere)

Running Time: 13 minutes
Screening Time: TBA
Drama


A young man visits his grandmother at her home and discovers she is suffering from dementia and will soon be moved to a nursing home. She cannot recall recent events, but they share memories of piano lessons she gave him as a child. Her struggle to remember confronts his complacency. Based on the director's life, the film explores the toll both dementia and modern life take on relationships.




Director's Bio:

Matthew C. Johnson - Matt is a director specializing in scripted comedy, so "Lessons with Martha" has been a new adventure in dramatic storytelling. He directed the feature film "Beerfest: Thirst for Victory" for CW Seed, Blue Ribbon Content, Gerber Pictures and Kids at Play - the first feature to debut on CW's streaming service. Matt has extensive experience creating digital content for outlets including ABC, Hearst Publications, Vice, Abso Lutely Productions, Yahoo!, Facebook Watch, Eko and CollegeHumor. He directed the interview series "Meet My Mom" for Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine. Prior to that he directed the sketch series "The Gaggle" for ABC Digital, Maker Studios and Ryan Seacrest Productions. Other highlights include YouTube versions of "Family Feud" and "Password" for FremantleMedia, game show format "Tattoo Roulette" for Maker Studios, and the Yahoo! "Sketchies" comedy series. Along with Kimmy Gatewood, he produces content through Nerd Ranch Productions. He was the showrunner for the YouTube Channel BuzzrGames, which recreated classic game show formats featuring prominent YouTube influencers, and won the 2015 Cynopsis Model D Award for Best Original Channel.

Director's Statement:

The last time that I saw my grandmother inspired this film: she was unable to remember events from the prior five years, and her conversation would reset after five minutes. She had been a huge part of my childhood, which made it a heartbreaking experience – I felt like I was saying goodbye to someone who had already left, and was suddenly filled with questions for her and regret that I had left home to pursue my career. Years later, as a parent, I’ve had time to reflect on that experience, and understand her perspective on our relationship better – as someone trying to nurture a young child. I’m surprised how little we understand about dementia and cognitive decline, considering how prevalent it is. Moreover, it’s a topic we don’t discuss or deal with very often in society, either on film or in how we structure our lives. This film is an expression of the love I felt for an inspiring member of my family, a celebration of our time together, and a quiet tale of the regret that marks the passage of time and life.







 

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