Foxtail Entertainment’s Matthew Malek Wants To Bring Meaning Back To Movies
Foxtail Entertainment focuses on passion first with their films.
Foxtail Entertainment partners Matt Malek and Anita Gou are striving to bring the heart back into cinema with their company. Formed with the intent of bringing meaning to a film while striving for entertainment value, Foxtail Entertainment is paving a path for cinema that true cinephiles can get behind. We had the chance to speak with Matt Malek on his goals for the business and his benevolent mission for the film industry.
In his own words, I started things off with asking Matthew about the beginnings of Foxtail Entertainment from his perspective.
“Foxtail Entertainment started because my business partner and I, Anita, we met each other on the set of Martin Scorsese’s film ‘Silence’ in Taiwan where she had just returned home from graduating NYU and there were two big movies being shot on her family’s film studio, ‘Silence’ and the Hsiao-Hsien Hou movie ‘The Assassin’. And in Mandarin, Hsiao-Hsien Hou is like the equivalent to Ang Lee and [Martin Scorsese] in the Chinese world. So she had an opportunity to work on both of those films and during the time our film was there, I ended up having to stay for the entirety of the movie because of an accident that happened on set the day before we started shooting and during that time I got to know my partner Anita. She speaks very fluent English and Mandarin and she helped me with things that only someone who knew the country could and I did not know who she was until two weeks before we left production. Let’s say she got a bird’s eye view of how I work without any clue what her future intentions were. Three months later, we started the company.”
Both Matthew and Anita share a passion for film which is the foundation of their collaboration. They hope to bring audiences films that make them think and reflect upon their lives and the lives of others.
“Anita and I share a common vision that we want to make commerce and successful films but then also you have to have something about them that goes beyond popcorn. We want to make movies that we think help audiences look at the world that we’re in and not just entertain them but maybe transport them into a place that they haven’t been before or to engage a topic they haven’t engaged before or to reflect on their own life in a way that they haven’t been able to. All the movies we’ve done thus far…we’ve been lucky enough to find movies that are economically viable but also socially have an impact.”
So far Foxtail Entertainment is behind some very thought provoking films. With topic surrounding anorexia, our attachment to social media, and a highly praised documentary that debuted at Tribeca, Matthew Malek is holding true to his values.
On “To The Bone:”
“I really believe it’s going to help a lot of young women and probably men in the world who struggle with eating disorders and I don’t know anyone who would not be entertained by it because it was just so brilliantly executed by Marti Noxon. “
On “Assasination Nation:”
“It’s a very deep critique on modern nature of social media and our attachment to it. And there’s a lot more to be said about that but I don’t want to give too much away. “
On “The Last Animals:”
“We couldn’t have been happier with how [The Last Animals] turned out because it’s a film that so many people wouldn’t expect. It combines two topics that are not normally put together, conservation of certain species (rhinos and elephants) and global war on terror and how this one photo journalist concluded after being a war photographer and inspecting what was going on in Africa, there was a direct link between the extinction between both elephants and rhinocerous at the exact moment and the global war on terror because of the money that’s [gained] by that extinction. “
While many filmmakers strive for the perfect film, it is difficult to find that combination of artistry while aiming for box office success. As someone who is not playing the safe route and seeking monetary returns first and foremost, I was curious about Matthew’s plan for Foxtail Entertainment’s success.
“If I had a formula that I could give you, I would be wealthy and probably the biggest producer in the world, but I can only give you what my idea is; The balance has to come from partially an intuition but also a really exhaustive market research that you really try to see where the spots are that the market is not being fed by the studios. And you find those spots and you try to find content that feeds that niche in a way that you know will be entertaining regardless of the niche you’re trying to fill. So does a piece of art stand up on its own merits as a piece of entertainment? You have to be able to detach yourself from the issue because if you care about the issue or the topic so much that you lose sight of the entertainment value, that is something that you and I could probably chronicle 100 movies that have that mistake. And it’s very easy to spot when someone’s mission has overcome their artistic integrity. You can never let one or the other get in the way.”
With studios like A24 and Lionsgate becoming relevant from a few quality films, I was curious to know what Matthew thought would be Foxtail Entertainment’s transitional film.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a film, I think we’ve got two or three that are together are going to form a very formidable force that are going to start ramping up in our phase 2. So I would think phase 1 of our business is wrapping up with the first slate of projects that we accomplished. Phase 2 is now and we got a movie called ‘Thirty Eight’ which I’m sure you’ve read about that’s going to go in a direction that I think everyone is going to very much like. And that movie has the potential as an individual movie because it’s probably the one that will get made before the rest of the slate. That movie does have the ability to be transformative and reach across the entire country because of the issues that it is dealing with. Which is how the United States and our people relate to the police officers and the issue that we’re dealing with now that is so obvious in our country with racial tension and police distrust. [Thirty Eight] is a little bit of ‘Crash’ meets ‘End of Watch’.”
Matthew’s passion for film heavily outweighs his pursuit of financial gain. He is someone in the business for the right reasons and strives for artistic integrity in film.
“If my movies don’t make people think about something after they leave the cinema, I probably would have to leave the business because there’s just too much difficulty in making a film to only get a dollar for a ticket sale. The two things that have been the most powerful driving factors in maintaining my position in the entertainment business is that response I have gotten from people who have watched ‘Silence’ and told me they watched it five times because of how it has changed their life and that’s been very helpful after it did not succeed at the box office in a way that any of us would have expected by any means of the word. And then after Sundance and ‘To The Bone’ premiered, I won’t mention her name because I don’t know if she would approve although I think she’ll be involved in our promoting campaign; an actress that has dealt with the issues of eating disorders after seeing the film came up to me and was very ardent that this film was going to help change young girls’ lives and those moments are what keep me in this business.”
With projects already established with Foxtail Entertainment, Matthew has even bigger plans for the second phase of the company. With high profile actors and film industry leaders attaching themselves to upcoming projects, Foxtail Entertainment is a player to keep an eye on.
“There are some projects that I think we are very close to being able to announce that we have control of. The documentary that we just made, I can say without compromising the materials or the situation, that there’s a potential feature film that relates directly to the documentary we just made that is quite amazing. It would be a popcorn movie but with much more to it than just entertainment.”
“Then we’ve got a slate of projects with Terry Rossio and Bill Marsilii. And each one of them has a very strong leaning in the direction of what we’re discussing because Terry Rossio is one of the biggest popcorn movie writers ever and I can’t speak for him, I can only speak to his actions with us and he’s very very interested in getting movies made that he believes in that do not make him do ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 18’. And he would be the last person to ever complain about the fact that the Pirates franchise has been very good to him and very good to his family, but he also wants to be able to do more than just that. So Foxtail is attempting to help artists that even have been successful, accomplish things that they haven’t been able to do until this point. And that is get movies made that the studios aren’t making and quite frankly I understand why they aren’t, but that’s all the more reason why there’s opportunity for producers like myself to actually have a career in this field which is a lucky lucky thing. I’m blessed to be able make movies for a living and especially blessed to be able to make movies that matter.”