Family Ties

For Oaks Christian siblings Joe and Catherine Matthews, a passion for film instilled since birth has gone on to yield incredible collaboration, not to mention an LA Film Fest award.

By Holly Bieler

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For as long as they can remember, Joe and Catherine Matthews have loved watching movies. Growing up in a family with Hollywood roots that go back a generation, Catherine, now 18, and Joe, 16, were exposed to an array of genres and filmmakers from an early age, everything from classic documentaries to cult horror. “All across the board, just good movies,” Catherine said. “And we grew up admiring the industry, and culture in itself. So it’s in our blood for sure.”

The siblings’ affinity for film would soon manifest in divergent ways. By the age of four, Catherine was combining her passions for both film and music, recreating film scores on her piano, and eventually composing her own scores. Joe became interested in producing and directing from an early age as well, after helping his older brother, Justin, film a school project when he was just 6 years old.

Catherine Matthews began playing piano at the age of four.

Catherine Matthews began playing piano at the age of four.

And if Joe and Catherine ultimately embarked on different creative paths within the form, their shared passion for film has allowed for some incredible collaboration. While working on his first film, a short called Fillmore, Joe knew exactly who to ask when it came to scoring. Game, Catherine began working with Joe in a process both described as seamless.  “I just told her the feel I wanted and she did everything else,” he said. “It was perfect.” Fillmore would be accepted at a number of festivals, eventually win Catherine Best Original Score at the LA Film Festival and win Joe Best Student Film by the Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival.

Nearly a year later Joe is already deep in production of his second film, a documentary entitled From the Land of In-Between which follows his good friend Semusu as he returns to Uganda for the first time since being adopted at 9 years old.  25% done with the rough cut, Joe says he’s excited by how the film is turning out. As is Catherine, who’ll be contributing an original score, and serving as music supervisor.

Looking ahead, both Catherine and Joe say more collaborations are surely on the horizon. And with an actress sister, Rachel, and writer/actor brother Justin, who’s to say future projects won’t become even more of a family affair? “I think because of how artistic all our siblings are and how well we work together, we could be embarking on some huge group projects,” said Catherine. MM

Joe visited a Ugandan orphanage for his documentary From the Land of In-Between.

Joe visited a Ugandan orphanage for his documentary From the Land of In-Between.

Holly Bieler