Arts & Entertainment

West Orange Resident's Film Selected As A Director's Cut For Black Maria Film Festival

A still from Matt Stryker's film Crosshairs, selected as a Director's Cut at the Black Maria Film Festival. Credits: Matt Stryker
Filmmaker Matt Stryker Credits: Tynia Thomassie

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Matt Stryker is a 21-year-old resident of West Orange, a graduate of West Orange High School, and a  Radio/Television/Film major with a focus in film at the University of Texas in Austin. His short film, "Crosshairs," has been selected as part of the Black Maria Film Festival tour, which arrives in West Orange via the West Orange Classic Film Festival on Sunday, February 10, 2013, at 2:00 pm, at the AMC Essex Green Movie Theater.

"I was always a fan of movies growing up," Stryker said, "The the first time I thought that I'd like to be a filmmaker was in 7th grade when I made a 'Jurassic Park' parody for an English project. It was about proper grammar going extinct over the years. I shot it on my Dad's camcorder with friends around the area and used our pets as the extinct words that come back to wreak havoc. My Dad and I edited it on our VCR. The credits were recorded pieces of paper taped to the wall. It was all terrible and I loved every second of it. After that, I knew I wanted to further explore movie making."

Stryker continues by describing his film showing at the Black Maria Film Festival.

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"The film is called 'Crosshairs,' and it's about a son seeking his father's approval when brought along for his first hunting trip, including the subversion of what the audience is actually seeing," Strkyer said.

Doing this film was important to Stryker.

"At the time I was interested in making a story about someone being raised with certain traditions and questioning how positive simply accepting and adhering to those traditions were," he said "Sorry I'm being vague, I'm just trying not to spoil the movie. I also have some interest in the idea of innocence being challenged. That is also one of the themes that the film I'm currently working on reflects."

Stryker is currently a junior at the University of Texas. When he graduates, he plans to keep making movies, work on other projects he enjoys, and find enough success to make some sort of career in the industry.

Of his selection to the the Black Maria Film Festival, Stryker said, "I'm so honored that 'Crosshairs' was selected as a Director's Choice. It's the first bit of festival play it's gotten, but hopefully not the last. I really wish I could be there to see it play in front of an audience. I hope people enjoy it. No matter what, I know I'm still proud to have my name on it."

Stryker's brother, Will, is a freshman majoring in screenwriting at  Emerson College in Boston. His Dad, Dave Stryker, is a musician, and his Mom, Tynia Thomassie, is a teacher at West Orange High School. She was named Essex County Teacher of the Year in 2010.

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