aspirational director, matthew frost talks kirsten dunst, selfies and #fashion
Matthew Frost is the filmmaker and photographer who makes fashion films, takes the piss out of fashion films and has won the fashion industry over with his video shorts starring A-list actresses, poking fun at the perils of fame and the internet...
Film still from Aspirational by Matthew Frost
It's a theme that has been explored over and over again but Matthew's hilarious, tongue-in-cheek take on it gives a more light-hearted and totally relatable observation; don't say you've never tried to take a sneaky pic of a celeb you spotted on the tube or Googled the answer to a question before you reply so as not to sound stupid. Because Jessica Chastain and Kate Winslet have! His latest release Aspirational stars Kirsten Dunst as the victim of a drive-by selfie attack from two girls whose social statuses go up with every '?'. We ask Mr Frost what he thinks of selfies, Tinder and #fashion…
Have you ever sneakily tried to take a picture of a celebrity you've spotted?
No, but I literally just had a dream last night in which I met Jerry Seinfeld and instead of a selfie I asked someone to take a picture but they couldn't figure out the camera and Jerry kept putting his face in front of mine for some reason.
Have you ever Googled yourself?
I just did it (again) and the most exciting thing to come up is this guy, "Dr Matt Frost, Marine Biological Association of the UK".
Do you think it's narcissistic if people Google themselves?
No, I only check to see if anything explicit of myself has leaked yet.
What about if they take a selfie?
Yeah, so what right? It's just funny to see people do it. It's as if it was now completely acceptable to stop and look at yourself for a while in a window reflection as you walk by on the streets instead of glancing discreetly like everyone does… The selfie is a weird new behavior that is completely acceptable.
Do you think it's a bad thing that you can use social media to show the world a 'perfect' you?
If that's how you really feel, sure, but I don't think it works that way all the time.
Is social media making us less social?
My friend was making a case to me that Tinder broadened his social horizons as he was able to meet people he never would have met otherwise. For me that sounded like getting a lap dance at a strip club - which is sick, in a good way.
How much do you care about 'likes' on your own Instagram account?
As long as I hit triple digits I don't give an F, at all, like at all…
If you were famous and someone asked to take a selfie with you, what would you do?
I would act humble and nice as well as make my eyes look super earnest and caring in order to make sure they left with a good impression when they tell their friends and family, but inside I'd be all: "I'M REALLY, REALLY FAMOUS BIATCHES."
What do you want people to take away from Aspirational?
I like that it's been taken as some kind of cautionary message, but in reality it's an observation that I thought was funny. I have a lot of dear friends who live in this semi-popular, semi-sycophant world and who exist somewhere in the middle of these characters. It's fun to think of them watching it and saying to themselves, "I don't do that".
How did you come to work with A-List actresses such as Kirsten Dunst, Kate Winslet, Jessica Chastain, Cate Blanchett etc.?
I got extremely lucky. They're able to elevate what you're trying to say in the best way possible. Unlike B, C, D or F-List actresses of course.
What's the cringiest/silliest fashion film you've seen? (If you don't want to name names, you could just say what happened in it…)
I'm a big fan of that shot where the girl's hand skims something as she walks. What's really funny to me is the way the length of some of them is managed. They start to feel so pretentious when they get too long, like this endless photo shoot with sound aesthetics but no story. Everything suffers and the overused references seem like a great idea on a page but become transparent on film.
What are your favourite film shorts?
This is a great short film 14eme arrondissement by one of my favorite directors.
What was it like working with Larry Clark?
Interesting. I realised the difference between being an artist with really no choice but to express some deep down stuff that only you could be going through, and a creative person. A lot of very creative, talented people desperately want to be called artists but you should look into Larry's eyes when he's working - that's some fucked up shark week shit!
Are there any feature length films on the cards for you?
I'm thinking of making a couple more shorts and just stringing them all together into a feature. Maybe call it Fashion Feature. But seriously, I'm looking forward to a longer format and working towards that, yes.
Have you ever used Tinder?
No, but any App that's able to give me a shot of endorphin from people responding to me in a positive way, I'm into. I'm actually in LA on a job for several weeks and a friend told me (not the same friend as my other Tinder story), "You're in a hotel in LA? You have to go on Tinder. Girls are random there but you'd kill it!" So I'm still on the fence.
Do you think you can fall in love over the internet?
I think people love to project an idealised version of themselves and what they think they'd want their lives to be. Watch Catfish (2010) by a good bro Rel Schulman. But it's sometimes hard to meet or reconnect with people so I'd say The Internet is the best match maker these days :(@_matthew_frost_)
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently shooting some commercials in LA and working on a screenplay. I'm pumped.
Text Felicity Kinsella
Film still from Aspirational by Matthew Frost