|NOTHING CHANGES: ART FOR HANK'S SAKE|
|East Coast Premiere|
|Cast: ||Hank Virgona, Paul Solman, Bernadette Peters|
|Crew: ||Producers: Matthew Kaplowitz - - Editor: Matthew Kaplowitz
How far would you go to pursue your passion? At 87 years old, Hank Virgona commutes to his Union Square studio six days a week and makes art. Despite poor health, cancer, lack of revenue and obscurity as an artist, Hank is unrelenting in his quest to understand how life and art are the same.
Matthew Kaplowitz is a filmmaker based in NYC. He previously directed, produced and edited "Girl Fight: A Muay Thai Story." This feature-length documentary followed fighters from an all-female kickboxing academy on the Jersey Shore as they prepared for fights and worked through obstacles in life to attain their dreams. The documentary was selected in 10 film festivals, and won the award for best editing at the 2015 Rahway International Film Festival.
He followed that in 2016 with a joint production with Breakfall Studios to make the docu-short "Concrete & Crashpads: Stunts in New York", a 30-minute piece about stunt actors in NYC which was selected in 10 film festivals.
Matthew was a Top 12 Finalist in the Fusion Five Day Documentary challenge with his entry, "En Pointe". Showing the story of a male ballet dancer who breaks stereotypes and talks about body positivity, the creation of this film was sparked through this contest with a random prompt supplied by the competition - "You are never going to believe this, but..." Matthew had five days to shoot and edit the piece in order to qualify for the contest.
This short won 'best film in the category of biography' when it debuted at Slamdance 2017. The short has been in three other festivals so far, and won the People's Choice Award at AudFest 2017.
In addition to his film work, Matthew has been an Associate Producer and most recently a writer on MMA documentary & promotional programming on Spike TV since 2012, through various production companies.
One of my earliest influences was my Uncle, Hank Virgona. Born on the eve of The Great Depression in 1929, Hank became a commercial illustrator as an adult with work featured on book covers, The New York Times, Fortune, Harpers, legal journals, and received the Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators. His work is in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of the City of New York, The New York City Public Library, The Smithsonian and over twenty more important permanent collections. At the height of his popularity, Hank stopped producing commercial work and has spent the last few decades focused on making the kind of art that he wants to make for himself. I wanted to know why.