Actor / Director / Producer Matt Norman.
|Born||Matthew Travis Norman
20 October 1971 (age 40)
Tallangatta, Victoria, Australia
|Spouse||Rebecca Downie (Norman)|
Early life and family
Norman was born in Tallangatta, Victoria, to Laurence (Laurie) Norman and Jillian (Jill) Norman. He is the middle of three, having an older brother Jamie (Jim) Norman and sister Selina Norman.
He moved to Melbourne from Bairnsdale in 1989 and worked many jobs including nightclub security, bodyguard to both Australian and international celebrities and became a member of Australia’s elite 1 Commando Regiment in the Australian army before embarking on a successful stint as an administration officer with National Mutual in Melbourne. In 1994, Norman started pursuing his dream of becoming an actor. While still working in the security industry, he started at the National Theatre Drama School in St Kilda, Melbourne where he met his wife Rebecca Norman (née Downie). After one year of drama school he left to pursue an acting career. Norman was also known for his singing and guitar abilities, playing in a Melbourne based rock band called Dirty Rotten Scoundrels which lasted a bit over a year with various gigs around Melbourne and rural Victoria.
After many years as an actor on television and film, Matt’s ambition to start writing screenplays started when well-known Australian Director Malcolm Robertson read one of Matt’s first screenplays Imperial Myer. Robertson and Norman worked closely on the screenplay for over a year which honed Norman’s skills to look into directing both theater and film as well as branch out to write more stories for the screen.
Norman’s career started as a filmmaker when his first film All the Kings Horses won several international awards in Australia and overseas. Since then he has gone on to write, direct and produce several other award-winning films such as The Writer starring one of Australia’s best known actors Kym Gyngell, Shank starring Rob Carlton, and finally The Umbrella Menstarring Blue Heelers star Damian Walshe-Howling and Neighbours star Benji McNair.
By this time, Matt Norman and his wife Rebecca had four children. Hunter, Riley, Azure and more recently Charlie. Matt also has another daughter Imogen from a previous relationship.
One story that was influential to Matt Norman’s career is a film about his famous uncle, Australian sprinter Peter Norman. Peter was the Silver Medalist in the 200m at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. With Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos, he became part of one of the 20th Century’s most photographed moments: The Black Power Salute.
Matt Norman realised that the full story of his uncle had never been told. There had been attempts by American filmmakers but they all lacked one major ingredient, Peter Norman. Matt started filming Salute at the end of 2002. With no budget, no funding and no help he went about making a film that he hoped would get picked up by a local film festival. Instead, Salute is now considered one of the most ambitious and most expensive documentary films ever made in Australia. With the help of the FFC (Film Finance Corporation- now Screen Australia) and his local funding body Film Victoria, Norman raised close to two million dollars to help with the post production of the film. In October 2006, Peter Norman died of a heart attack. Matt Norman’s life was turned upside down when his film that was to honor his uncle would now be regarded as a memory of his uncle and the stance he took at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.
In 2008, Andrew Mackie and Richard Payton of Transmission Films were signed on as Australian Distributors and later brought on board Paramount Pictures Australia to release the film nationally in cinemas throughout his native country.
Starting from scratch with nothing, and losing his uncle in 2006 as well as his own home to make the film, Matt Norman has held onto his promise to Peter Norman to finally tell the World the true story of events of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
Salute had its World Premiere at the exclusive Sydney Film Festival on the 8 June 2008, and was released Australia-wide in cinemas on the 24 July 2008, with the rest of the world to follow shortly after. The DVD release of the film came out in Australia on the 15 January 2009 and is set to screen in the United States in the coming months.
One of Salute’s major achievements for 2008 was being #1 at the Australian box office for a documentary and in the top ten box office of all Australian films such as “Australia”, “Black Balloon”.
Salute screened in Vancouver during the Winter Olympics as part of the festivities and will be released in the United Kingdom during June 2012, again through the 2012 Olympic Games and in the USA for it’s official North American launch during July 2012.
The future looks good for Norman and his film production company Wingman Pictures. The Australian CEO of Wingman Pictures Pty Ltd opened up a second office in New York City at the start of 2010 with associates in Los Angeles with plans for a UK Office shortly.
The company is involved in film production, film sales and film distribution.
Whilst making films is the most important thing for Norman, he believes in also helping those filmmakers who never see support from the Australian funding bodies boy’s club. TheWingman Pictures slate of projects can be viewed online for more information.
2011-2012 Film Projects
Norman has several films currently in various stages of pre-production and production for 2011 to 2012. Again Norman’s subject matter deals with standing up against injustice. His latest project The Human Race Film deals with banking greed and his own experience dealing with the National Australia Bank fraudulently foreclosing on his own home. When a message on youtube by the filmmaker generated over 25,000 hits on the webpage in only a few days, Norman made the decision to investigate banking fraud and also the role the Courts have in helping the banks cover up the fraud. There is a lot happening in the World today with an emphasis on home foreclosures, especially in the United States. Norman says that Securitization is the main factor in fraudulent banking practice by having your mortgage sold to investors on the stock market firstly without permission and secondly guaranteeing much profit for the banks without loaning the mortgagee any money at all. It is therefor believed that if the bank hasn’t put its own money in that it has no claim on the asset being the home.
With many forums online starting to take up this fight, it seems Norman is standing up to go the extra mile by filming the experience in court and at home to educate others on the role of the bank and the need for tighter laws that stop the banks making claim to assets that don’t belong to them.
Upcoming projects listed on the film company webpage are: Scab Girl Asylum – The Sue Treweek Story (Drama) to be shot in Queensland during 2012, and the feature 1968 the feature drama based on Norman’s International award winning documentary Salute, to be shot in Mexico late 2013.
Actor – Television
- Neighbours (2000–2001)
- Short Cuts (2002)
- Eugénie Sandler P.I. (2000)
- SeaChange (1998)
- Stingers (1999–2003)
- The Mercury (TV series) (1996)
- Blue Heelers (1995–1997)
- The Glenn Nicholas Show (1996)
Actor – Film
- Ghost Rider (2007)
- Shank (2004)
- The Bank (2001)
- My Brother Jack (2001)
- Dog Woman (2000)
- Moby Dick (1998)
- Hotel de Love (1996)
- Silver Strand (1995)
Writer / Director / Producer — Film
- 1968 (drama) (2012) (writer, producer, director)
- Scab Girl Asylum (drama) (2011) (writer, producer, director)
- Salute (2008) (writer, director, producer, editor)
- The Umbrella Men (2005) (writer, director, producer, editor)
- The Writer (2005 short film) (2005) (writer, director, producer, editor)
- All The Kings Horses (2004 short film) (2004) (writer, director, producer, editor)
- Shank (2004) (actor, writer, director, producer, editor)
- SALUTE – “BEST SOCIAL DOCUMENTARY” DOCUFEST ATLANTA USA. 2009.
- SALUTE – GRAND PRIZE JURY AWARD “BEST DOCUMENTARY” SANTA CRUZ FILM FESTIVAL. 2009.
- Salute nominated Best Documentary FCCA Awards (2009)
- SALUTE – BEST DOCUMENTARY (AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD) (2008) RHODE ISLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
- SALUTE – BEST AUSTRALIAN DOCUMENTARY (AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD (2008) SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL
- SALUTE – RUNNER UP BEST DOCUMENTARY (AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD (2008) SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL
- The Writer – BEST FILM (2005) DARWIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
- The Writer – NOMINATED BEST SCORE (RICKY EDWARDS) (2005) APRA AWARDS
- The Writer – CINEMATOGRAPHY GOLD AWARD (MARTIN SMITH) (2005) ACS AWARDS
- All The Kings Horses – BEST FILM (2004) DARWIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
- Shank – BEST FILM (2005) BALLARAT INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
- New York Times – For Australian Athletes, a Voice From the Grave 23 May 2008
- In-flight film will urge Olympians to protest – Sydney Daily Telegraph 24 May 2008
- Sydney Morning Herald “white man becomes hero on film”
- Sydney Morning Herald 13/5/2008
- Sporting Life
- Fox Sports
- USA Today
- The Courier Mail
- The Herald Sun
- Sydney Morning Herald
- Wise Words
- ABC TV – 7.30 Report
- Sydney Morning Herald 13/5/2008
- “’68 protest more than a memory”, Kevin Blackistone, Dallas Morning News, 29 September 2000
- “Peter Norman dies after heart attack”
- “He Didn’t Raise His Fist – But He Did Lend A Hand”
- “Bitter price of Olympics’ iconic image”
- “Clenched Fists, Helping Hand” by Mike Wise, Washington Post
- “Norman Remembered as an Unflinching Champion”
- MSNBC article on Carlos and Smith’s pallbearer role
- World Socialist Web Site Article on Peter Norman