Matrrese (center) directs "Searching For Fortune" leads Brian Smolensky and Christina Moore.

Matrrese (center) directs “Searching For Fortune” leads Brian Smolensky and Christina Moore. Photo courtesy of Distant Thunder Films.

It’s always cool when you get to talk to an ambitious person who works in The Industry and is also a nice, grounded person with their head screwed on straight. I had the chance to speak with one such person when I interviewed indie director, Joseph Matarrese, for the HotPixel blog about his first feature film, Searching For Fortune. Not only do I see his promise as a director, but I love that he sees film as something bigger than himself and measures success not only by what he can accomplish, but what he can help others accomplish.


Joseph Matarrese and his twin brother, Philip, have been filmmakers since they were in fifth grade, growing up in the Bay Area. In fact, they’re still operating under the same production company name, Distant Thunder Films, that they came up with back then. Of course, things are much more Official these days. Their talents and skill level have evolved and grown since their youth, but their passion for creating stories for the big screen has always been oversized, and it seems that their lives have finally caught up to their youthful ambition.

Matarrese is in the process of directing his first feature film, Searching for Fortune, under the Distant Thunder banner (his brother, Phil, is one of the producers, along with Mandi Reno), and it’s clear to see even from the rough cut screening of the film I was invited to attend weeks ago that Matarrese prioritizes character-driven storytelling and has a particular respect for 1970s cinema. As I learned when I spoke to him for HotPixel, he also has a huge amount of respect for the hierarchy of a film set.

“We both have very similar tastes and feeling about how sets should be run,” Matarrese says about working with family. “And we also love the hierarchy of a film set and believe that there should only be one captain of the ship. It’s great to have somebody to bounce ideas off of, but also knowing that we both respect the hierarchy so much that if, say, Phil is directing something and he says ‘No, it has to be this way,’ even if I disagree, it has to be that way. And vice versa.

I know a lot of twins who don’t necessarily get along and would probably kill each other, but we’ve been working together since the fifth grade, so we’ve worked out a system.”

For the full interview, or to leave a comment, CLICK HERE!