Interview - Matthew Bristow

Interview: Matthew Bristow, Director, Bristow Films - 15th May 2003

What's your background?

I was born and raised on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Grew up and educated in the North shore. Attended university, graduating with Bachelor of Economics in accounting and mass communications. My first year after university was spent working for an accounting firm with clients in the film and television industry. Thereafter worked for a season at the snow before leaving for the UK to work and travel around the world for four years.

How did Bristow Films develop?

I love films and all aspects of production. I developed a company to make films and offer production and financial services to the industry. The film and television industry is structured around projects and operates mostly with contractor services. Bristow Films developed by contracting a variety of services to the industry both in England and Australia whilst making films. It became incorporated as a company in 1999.

What are your biggest accomplishments - life and business?

Traveling around the world to many countries with vastly different cultures to Australia and making it home safely. During the journey, I traveled from London to Guinea-Bissau in West Africa and shot an independently financed film titled XAFRIKA. It took many years to complete and was a finalist in the 18th Annual ATOM Awards 2000 in the category of Creative/Innovative Production.

What types of films do you prefer, and why?

I prefer film noir thrillers. I enjoy the tight scripting, quirky camera angles, the atmosphere, suspense and intrigue. I also love epic films for their sense of adventure and escapism.

What are your favorite films, and why?

My favourite films are by Alfred Hitchock; I have seen 39 of his 52 features. I also love films by Orson Welles and David Lynch for their sheer brilliance. Foreign and cult films for their innovation and fresh approach. My favourite film is Elephant Man directed by David Lynch.

Who are your favourite actors and why?

My favourite actors are Orson Welles, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Gregory Peck and Humphrey Bogart. I enjoy their choice of films, style, talent and charisma.

What is your favorite crime film?

'Once Upon a Time in America' directed by Sergio Leone.

What can you disclose about a potential underworld / private investigator feature film or doco?

My uncle, Tim Bristow has recently passed away and he was a colourful Sydney identity and notorious Private Investigator. Several projects have developed including a book by author, Kevin Perkins. There is a documentary currently in production by Richard Friar, which is an oral history on 'Big Tim'.

Furthermore, three writers including myself have written a feature screenplay, a film noir set in Sydney and based upon a short story. The inspiration for the idea came from a 1992 magazine article titled 'Dangerous Professions'. Interviews with a Lion Tamer and a Private Investigator were on opposing pages. The juxtaposition of the two worlds appeared excitingly colourful, surreal yet sinister. The screenplay is titled, The Piece and the Quiet.

Tim Bristow had agreed to make a cameo appearance in the film, so a character was written into the script called 'Uncle Tim' whose role essentially adds back-story and further intrigue to the tale. I am currently looking to workshop the screenplay and some great Australian actors have already lent their support so it is naturally a reflective but exciting time for me.

What do you like to read?

When I read I like to read Classics.

What is your motto and favorite saying?

'Life is too short to be unhappy'.

What motivates you?

The quest for knowledge.

Who have your drawn inspiration from?

Orson Welles, Dali, Picasso, Miro and Max Bristow.

What has been the turning point in your career?

Traveling around the world changed my perspective but more recently focusing my attention on the craft of production as opposed to the business of production finance.

What are your biggest challenges?

Creating inspirational feature films and fascinating paintings.

What kind of person was "Big" Tim?

A challenging, complex, gifted but at times a hard man. Tim was loyal to friends and family but had a quick temper and wicked sense of humour. A shrewd and well-connected Private Investigator and to many a legend and Samaritan.

What technologies do you like and why?

Movie cameras and digital editing equipment.

What has the Internet done for you?

The Internet has connected me to 'shop fronts' in the 'global village'. Great for research, e-mails and downloading files.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

'Be careful what you wish for'.

What is the biggest misconception about you?

That I cannot be both creative and business minded.

What do you like most about my website?

The website's professionalism, detail and your sincere quality of journalism reflect your motivation, and that impresses me.

How do you see your professional future?

Producing and directing feature films.

What else would you like to share with our audience?

Tim Bristow's biography written by Kevin Perkins is currently at the publishers and due out in October this year. The book's current working title is 'The Enforcer' and has been a long time in the writing; in fact I am told Kevin Perkins is the sixth writer to attempt to document Tim Bristow's colourful life. Kevin is a good man and gifted writer and thoroughly researches his biographies. Understandably by choosing to write a book about Tim's life, Kevin became well acquainted with 'Uncle Tim'. My family and I are naturally interested to read Kevin Perkins' perspective on Tim and hear the side of Tim Bristow he has chosen to share with his readers.



Media Man Australia - Matthew Bristow telephone interview

Melbourne Super 8 Film Group: Matthew Bristow profile

Media Man Australia: Matthew Bristow profile

Read our Tim Bristow article in the feature articles section.

The Tim Bristow Story


Tim Bristow updates

October 2003

Tim's book, Tim Bristow - Last of the hard Men, is now released.

Tim Bristow. A legend. They called him Earthquake. The Enforcer. Bruiser Bristow. Last of the hard men. The toughest private eye in the world.

Bristow’s beat was the mean streets of Sydney which he ruled with iron fists and cunning inside knowledge. Working on the seamy side he bribed cops, belted criminals and bent the law to get justice for those who couldn’t find it any other way. Never backed away from danger or a challenge.

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Bristow - Last Of The Hard Men, by Kevin Perkins