A fire for filmmaking

Jones hopes latest project leads to work on larger scale

Matthew Gregory Jones has wanted to be a filmmaker since he was 4 years old. Now 27, the Rockford native premiered his third film, “The Albert Pick,” in the hopes of garnering enough attention to do what he loves on a larger scale.

“The Albert Pick” is an intentionally lo-fi grindhouse thriller, featuring visual effects like reel switches and burn marks in the film.

The movie, which is almost entirely in black and white, follows a handicapped writer and his quirky assistant. The two are on their way to a conference on Christmas Eve when they have to pull over for the night because of snow. But when their hotel’s maintenance man sees that the two look weak and defenseless, the evening takes a turn for the terrifying.

“It’s basically a thriller along the lines of ‘Psycho,’” Jones said. “I made it seem kind of old-fashioned.”

“The Albert Pick” premiered for free at 7:30 p.m. on March 1 at the West Side Show Room, 410 Mulberry St. Jones said he hopes to show the film again and release it locally at Toad Hall, 2106 Broadway. He said he also plans to make it available to purchase online.

Jones and a team of five other Rockford residents worked on the film for a little more than a year. After coming up with the plot, Jones started working at a hotel in order to have a place to film. He quit once shooting was complete.

The small team Jones worked with consists mainly of old friends. He has known his assistant director since sophomore year of high school. He has been friends with the actors since he was young.

But this is not just a group of friends playing around with a video camera. The actors have worked with Mike Webb, director for Rock Valley College’s Starlight Theatre. Jones recruited a cinematographer he met online. All of the team members worked with no pay.

“I have such a fire for filmmaking that people just kind of flock to me,” Jones said, adding that people enjoy working with him enough that they aren’t discouraged by not being paid.

But Jones’ ultimate goal is to make a career out of filmmaking. He hopes to get a producer to read one of his scripts so he can “make a movie with someone else’s money,” he said. As for “The Albert Pick,” he just wants people to have a good time.

“I just kind of want recognition I guess, and for people to say, ‘That was a good movie,’” Jones said.

He also plans to enter “The Albert Pick” in contests and film festivals. He said he was invited by the Beloit International Film Festival to attend the award ceremony, and he plans to enter his film in the festival next year. He feels confident he’ll be able to win a few prizes, and he said the real benefit will be getting his film out to as many people as possible.

For further information about “The Albert Pick,” and when it will be available for purchase, visit www.facebook.com/albert.pick.9?fref=ts.


–Article by Jessica Cabe, a Rockford native who studied at Northern Illinois University and is now at Syracuse University.