Cannes Film Festival Premiers UT Senior’s Short Film

Published: May 15, 2012
Matt Goldberg ’12, right, produced a short documentary on professional wrestler Elijah Burke. The film is being shown in this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Matt Goldberg ’12, right, produced a short documentary on professional wrestler Elijah Burke. The film is being shown in this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Matt Goldberg ’12 planned to go with the UT travel course to the Cannes Film Festival this week. What he didn’t plan on was watching one of his own movies being premiered.

“It was a big surprise,” said Goldberg, who found out on April 22 that his film was accepted to the Cannes Short Film Corner, selected from thousands of entries. “I was really excited but taken aback by the situation. It was just so surreal. I’m very proud my work has gotten this far.”

The short documentary, Pope: Against All Odds, follows Impact Wrestling professional Elijah Burke, also known as “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero, during one of his monthly pay-per-view events, Against All Odds.

Goldberg said the film follows Burke from before the show, to the show and after the show while displaying the wrestler getting into character, working out, signing autographs for fans, going out to perform and recovering from his match. Goldberg, a film and media arts major, made the film in April 2011 for his documentary production class at UT taught by Professor Dana Plays.

“I thought it would be great to show wrestling fans and non-wrestling fans what goes on in the mind of a pro wrestler during such a big event,” said Goldberg, who has interned with Impact Wrestling in Orlando since February 2010. He also hosts a YouTube channel featuring his original stop-motion animations of wrestling.

Goldberg, of Vernon Hills, IL, said it was the first time he’s ever done a documentary, which was very different from his stop-motion animations and the shorts he has done for Campus MovieFest (one of which made it to the International Grand Finale in 2010).

“Most of the documentary filming was on the fly, spur of the moment, because it’s live,” he said. It was shot over an eight-hour span and took about three months to edit. “I loved doing it because it was a whole new experience. It was a lot of fun.”

Goldberg’s professor, Tom Garret, assistant professor of communication, helped him with the submission process for Cannes and helped him land an internship while at the festival with Nu Image/Millennium Films. Garrett also helped Goldberg meet with the president of WWE Studios, Michael Luisi, during the Sarasota Film Festival, and will be working with Luisi during Cannes as well.

“For someone Matt's age to have his film in the Cannes Short Film Corner is rather unique. But it is the payoff of his commitment to creating content that has appeal,” said Garrett, noting that Cannes will open up opportunities for other international film festival invitations, give him exposure to workshops and special master classes and will be a huge asset in making industry connections. “It is the beginning to understanding how the film industry and community works.”

Matt Goldberg ’12, right, produced a short documentary on professional wrestler Elijah Burke. The film is being shown in this year’s Cannes Film Festival.


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