Being a film student offers a very unique college experience, and few people know that better than Mathew Foss.
Foss is a third-year graduate student in the Digital Filmmaking department who also teaches Film Appreciation in Stanley Russ Hall as a part of his graduate assistantship requirements.
Matthew is currently planning his graduate thesis film while simultaneously preparing to showcase his first feature length film, “Roman Bickerstaff: The Rise and Fall of an R.A.,” which he wrote, stared in and directed. “Roman Bickerstaff” was inspired by the draconian RAs in his dorm at Ave Maria University.
“They were nuts,” Foss said.
Foss said, he was accused of such felonious activity as cocaine use, copious amounts of sex, and anything and everything in between.
However, when simply looking at Matthew, sex addicted cokehead probably isn’t exactly the assumption you arrive at. His tall, slender frame is complimented with a face that radiates genuine sincerity. His overall demeanor says honest and fair. He is the prototypical nice guy. It makes perfect sense that he aspires to start a career in academia after his time at UCA.
Last Friday, Foss and his collaborators and roommates Steven Oder and Cameron Philip screened Roman Bickerstaff in Stanley Russ Hall. For Foss, this was a moment ten years in the making.
Since the seminal inception at Ave Maria, he began to pitch the idea to several friends and colleagues he knew while working in reality TV. With a growing interest the film was almost produced while Foss was living in Texas, but production never came off the ground.
Foss found his outlet here in Arkansas after initially getting rejected from the film program.
“I wouldn’t have gotten it done if I didn’t come to UCA. It was providential, really. I feel like I am supposed to be here with Cameron and Steven and everyone else,” he says. “It was worth it for me to stay in Arkansas for film, believe it or not.”
Not only was it beneficial for him to shoot in Arkansas, but being at UCA allowed him to utilize resources that otherwise would not be available, like using the campus as the main setting.
UCA is every bit a character in this story as the film’s brash protagonist. Foss used a mostly UCA centric cast and crew, and he utilized the film department’s equipment and editing suites to shoot and finalize the movie.
His passion for his craft is evident by how animated his face becomes when talking about film.
“It’s really amazing the feeling you get when you’re on set. There’s nothing more exciting to me,” he said.
For the rest of the year Foss will be shooting and editing his thesis film, which is about a man who lived his life as a science experiment only to discover there is more to this world than he has been told.
Matthew will debut his thesis in May when he screens it with the other graduate thesis films.