Director, Little Ugly Films Los Angeles | Age: 29

Director/producer Matthew Palmer grew up in Sacramento, “which, as many people know now due to Lady Bird, isn’t necessarily the most exciting place,” he admits. He credits his mother as being a major influence in his later career path; “My mom’s a painter, and she made a point to expose me to all kinds of art from an early age. I remember watching The Godfather trilogy when I was eleven or so. When I was twelve, she showed me Fargo and something just clicked. I couldn’t believe how funny and violent and strange that movie was and I began devouring the work of the Coen Brothers. That’s when I knew I wanted to make films and I’ve been making them ever since.” 

Palmer kick-started his career by making a feature-length documentary, Friends of Mine straight out of college. “I was in way over my head - I was essentially the producer, line producer, PA, director, editor, and overall hype-man for the project and it was really tough. That said, I am proud of the film and I learned so much making it.” Since then he’s directed and produced several short documentaries, an animated film titled The Star, a narrative short, and a few experimental films. “I learn something on each project, which is what makes filmmaking so exciting and fun,” says Palmer, who has also directed a variety of branded content pieces for clients such as Def Jam, The Boys and Girls Club and Accenture. “I think that directing is, in a lot of ways, like running. The more consistently you do it, the more comfortable it is. Each project presents its own challenges - conceptually, logistically, creatively, and so on – but flexing the “problem solving” muscle makes it stronger.” 

In terms of his directing approach, he says: “I’m drawn to people and try to base my approach and process around them and their stories. My biggest influences are probably Werner Herzog, as I love his authenticity and the variety of his work. I’m also very inspired by music video and commercial directors like AG Rojas, Vincent Haycock, Miles Jay, and Nabil. I really enjoy the surprising twists and turns of this industry. I hope I always get to make films in a variety of styles – documentaries, music videos, narrative pieces, and everything in between. I’d like to continue making branded content pieces that tell powerful stories and, eventually, direct a narrative feature.”