Interview with Filmmaker Matthew Lenz (Bleed for Me: Art of the Death)


What Does it cost to make great art? A lot of Blood apparently. This documentary follows various deathmatch wrestlers as they put their bodies on the line to make compelling art.

Interview with Filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

It started in 2017 when my friend Christian had the idea to start holding these deathmatches in bars as a way to stand apart from other wrestling promotions. I suggested that as a means to cover our asses legally, I bring a camera and say we are shooting a documentary and that this is performance art. That way, it got around the gaming commission so the event was cheaper to produce since we didnt need to have medical personal on staff and if anyone was injured it would be covered under my production company. Loopholes are a wonderful thing. After filming the first couple shows I said, “Holy Shit, I should make a documentary”

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

I starting shooting it and most of the filming was done from 2017-2020, when the pandemic hit I took the year off and fled Brooklyn after getting my Trump Bucks from the PPP loan, relocated to Florida and spent the year and all the money on drugs, Dewars, and debauchery. I sobered up after waking up in the back of a pickup truck bruised and pantless, I dont remember passing out in. I realized i needed to get my life together. After things started coming back in 2021 I remembered I had a film to finish and came back to reality and returned to New York.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Brutal and Bloodthirsty.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The biggest obstacle was dealing with the face of the film, Casanova Valentine. He is a friend but a very destitute and destructive individual. At the time of filming he was living in a closet, in squalor, a drunk and a drug addict. We both were, but he would oversleep and miss scheduled shoots and events. Or show up hungover and unable to perform. He was dependent on me to buy him food and drugs. I dont remember filming most of the matches and events cause I was high as a kite for most of the filming. Shaky camera work isnt noticed when you are dodging light tubes, blood, and barbwire filming a fight only 5 feet from the action.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I wanted to make this film to illustrate to people this art form they have no experience with and show the masses what crazy shit and innovative art is going down in Brooklyn. Watching the audience’s reactions to the film was cute, to say the least.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

Well my name was always Lenz, so that directed my entire career path. Clients remember it. If my name was Matt Wrench, I would have been a plumber.

7. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Pie eating contest

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Easy and efficient. Streamlined the process which i appreciate

9. What is your favorite meal?

I’m not picky but i would have to go with a Beetroot & Blackberry Cured Salmon and

Watercress & Celeriac Soup With Goat’s Cheese Crouton. Next coarse could be a Chilled-Marinated Pork with Vietnamese Brussels Sprouts.And for dessert A Coconut Custard Tart With Roasted Pineapple would be divine.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Find my keys, i think they are under the couch


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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