Filmtools Filmmaker Friday featuring Filmmaker Matt Bendo

An Insiders Perspective On The Creative World of Filmmaking

With hundreds of careers and opportunities, the filmmaking industry can be a unique experience for a filmmaker. Filmtools decided to take a deeper look into the world of a filmmaker. This week, we had the opportunity to speak to filmmaker Matt Bendo about his work. This is what he said:

What is your name?


My name is Matt Bendo and I am a 25 year old Cinematographer/Director based out of Toronto, Ontario Canada.


Where are you from?


I am originally from Windsor, Ontario Canada, but I moved to Toronto to pursue a career in the film industry.


What’s your primary role on set?


My primary role on set is as a Cinematographer.  I have always been obsessed with storytelling and Cinematography proved to be the medium in which I could express myself the best. Through the use of precise camera movements, compelling compositions, and strokes of light, a cinematographer evokes feelings in the audience that transcend simply displaying images on a screen.  I have always been fascinated by techniques Cinematographers use to subconsciously manipulate an audience’s emotions.  Growing up, I wanted to be a traditional animator, but luckily, I found that I was best suited as artist with a camera that could paint with strokes of light. I am also a budding commercial Director.  I found that the best way for me to execute my visual vision was to Direct as well as DP.


Who is a person in the industry that is on top of his or her game in your role?

In terms of Cinematography, Roger Deakins is someone that I really admire.  He has an incredible ability to paint a picture with light.  I am really looking forward to seeing his work on “Blade Runner 2049”.  I believe Deakins will win the “Best Cinematography” Oscar in 2018 for this film. Some other Cinematographers whose work I admire are Bruno Delbonnel, Robert Richardson, Emmanuel Lubezki, and Sebastian Wintero.


If you had to impress someone with your work, what would be the most  “well-known” content that you’ve worked on? – Could be a local TV spot or Youtube piece. 

I would say that my most “well-known” work would be “Storm” which won a Canadian Society of Cinematographers Award in April of 2017.  I was a Director as well as the Cinematographer for “Storm”.




Current TV Obsession?

Although it might not be the most cinematic show, I’m currently watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.  It makes me laugh and lets me relieve a bit of stress after a hectic day.

Do you binge-watch new shows or pace them out?

I tend to binge-watch new shows while I edit and write emails.  When the series is finished, I tend to fill the void with another show.

What piece of gear do you have your eye on?

I am currently looking to invest in some anamorphic lenses.  I really do enjoy the Cooke SF Anamorphic lenses.

Camera – Should you own or rent?

A camera is a scary investment since the technology is developing rapidly.  The gaps between high-end cinema cameras and mid-level cinema cameras are becoming smaller and smaller.  Luckily, my investment in the Arri Alexa Mini proved to be the right decision.

Lenses – Should you own or rent?

I like to typically rent lenses since the type/style of lens needed tends to be different for each project.  I love to shoot with anamorphic lenses for my cinematic style commercial projects, but most of my jobs require spherical glass.  Lenses are investments that typically have longevity


What is your preferred camera system? Lenses?

I own the Arri Alexa Mini and I prefer to shoot with the Cooke SF Anamorphic lenses.

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on before?

I’d say it would be a toss up between “Storm” and “Legacy”.  For “Storm” we shot with a custom Lamborghini Aventador SV for a few days and did some pretty wild camera and lighting setups.  For “Legacy” it was a great experience working with Steve Rolls, an undefeated pro-boxer, to tell a story of human resilience.  It was really exciting to experiment with the light and composition inside a variety of exciting locations.

What is your greatest accomplishment in the film industry?

In April of 2017, I won the CSC (Canadian Society of Cinematographers) Award for “Best Cinematography in Branded Content”.  This was a National Award.  The CSC is the Canadian equivalent to societies such as the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) and BSC (British Society of Cinematographers).  It was such an honour to be in the same room with such an abundance of talented Canadian cinematographers, let alone being nominated.  Winning Best Cinematographer in this category is something I couldn’t even imagine happening at such a young age.  I plan to continue to develop my cinematic style and in the process gain a better understanding of myself as a visual storyteller.


What are you currently working on?

I just finished production on “Legacy” a Branded Content project for the boxing academy Kombat Arts.  I was the Director, Cinematographer, and Editor.  This is probably my favourite work to date! I had such a fantastic time shooting and developing the visual style for this project.  I took some risks with the lighting, which I believe paid off.  I had complete creative control over “Legacy” because the clients trusted me enough with their brand.  Being the Cinematographer, Director, and Editor made things much easier when it came to achieving the vision I had in mind.  I am pursuing commercial Directing and Cinematography because I enjoy the challenge of creating concise and cinematic stories.  I would like to transition towards feature film Directing and Cinematography in the future.



Prod Co. MattBendoCinema/TrePalm

Where can people find you on social?




Instagram @MattBendo



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