Matt McCormick has a passion for film that has landed him in the professional and educational filmmaking landscape. 

Creating films and establishing film festivals from the ground up, Matt McCormick, an Assistant Professor of Art and Integrated Media at Gonzaga University, has made a name for himself in the competitive art world.

According to Matt McCormick's IMDB biography "Matt McCormick is a filmmaker and artist whose work blurs genre distinctions to construct witty, lyrical observations of history, culture, and geography. Working at the intersection of documentary and artistic production, McCormick investigates forgotten histories while exploring experimental cinematic formalism."

One of McCormick's most significant works is his feature-length documentary, "The Great Northwest," which explores the history and culture of the Pacific Northwest through a series of vignettes that are both humorous and insightful. McCormick also added that this documentary was the most fun he had directing.

“Two things I’ve always enjoyed, one is going on road trips and going to thrift stores,” McCormick said. “One day I was in a thrift store and found this old scrapbook from 1958, by four women from Seattle. They went on a 3,000 mile road trip and documented everything from receipts to brochure guides and even ended up going to Yellowstone National Park.” 

The documentary attempts to replicate this amazing journey stemming from the passion of McCormick’s love for road trips and filmmaking. 

“It’s not a perfect recreation, my trip was 50 years after the fact, and back then they didn’t have the interstates at all and their trip was before some of the dams were built around here as well," McCormick said. "The changes to the landscape and geography was immense.”

The film is a testament to McCormick's unique perspective and his ability to capture the essence of a place and its people.

In addition to his work in film, McCormick is also an accomplished photographer. He has been exhibiting his photography since the 1990s and has published several books of his work. McCormick's photography is characterized by its raw and unfiltered quality, which captures the beauty and imperfections of his subjects.

McCormick's mixed-media work combines elements of film, photography, sculpture and installation to create immersive and thought-provoking experiences for his viewers. His installations are often site-specific and are designed to engage with the architecture and history of the space in which they are displayed.

One of McCormick's most recent mixed-media works is his installation "Some Days are Better Than Others," which was exhibited at the Portland Art Museum. The installation consisted of a series of sculptures and video projections that explored the concept of memory and its relationship to place.

McCormick's work is often inspired by his time living in Portland, Oregon. His love for the city and its people is evident in his work, which often celebrates the peculiar and unconventional aspects of the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to his artistic practice, McCormick is also the founder and curator of the PDX Film Festival, which showcases independent and experimental films from around the world. The festival, which began in 2003, has become a significant cultural event in Portland and has helped to promote independent filmmaking in the Pacific Northwest.

“I saw what was going on in the music scene in the Pacific Northwest and I thought, there should be something like this for films,” McCormick said. “All the kids going to see these rock shows would totally be into going to see a program of these short local films."

McCormick began planning and putting on shows that drew interest. With this newfound success, McCormick was receiving calls from around the world to help curate film festivals ranging from the United States all the way to Venice, Italy.

McCormick's influence on the art world extends far beyond the Pacific Northwest. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Venice Biennale and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

McCormick said another factor of his journey as an artist is his commitment to collaboration. He would work with other artists such as musicians. Those most notably being, The Shins, Sleater-Kinney and Broken Bells.

McCormick described directing music videos as “self-contained projects” and “just an exciting experience overall.”

McCormick said that music videos are such a unique aspect of the filmmaking industry that he assigns students projects to create their own videos as a part of the courses he teaches at GU. 

A former student of McCormick, Jackson Scallen, described his experience in the classroom as, “an eye-opener.”

“Professor McCormick would recognize the level you were at and fit the lesson to you which I thought was very special," Scallen said. "McCormick's dedication to his craft and his love for his hometown has made him a beloved figure in the Pacific Northwest."

His passion for film has landed him in the professional and educational filmmaking landscape in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. 

Tony Hein is a contributor.