In this ongoing feature, our social media editor Vicki May Thorne meets and greets the staff and contributors of This Land Press.
Matt Leach is one half of the This Land film crew, the observant eyes and ears counterpart to boisterous, public Sterlin Harjo. Leach & Harjo have produced dozens of short films and documentaries for This Land in the year or so they’ve been working together. Leach’s camerawork has resulted in beautiful tributes to the city he grew up in- Tulsa- and the many different stories that fellow Oklahomans have to tell.
1. What influences you? (alternately, what are your “Must Read/Listen/Watch” items? Print or online.)
There is a whole sea of movies to push you or pull you in one way or another and make your work feel inferior but I love documentaries like Grey Gardens and Salesman that have something so real and raw that it couldn’t be faked and are so in-depth and spend so much time with someone they catch the magic of what makes a person truly unique. Then there’s something like Orson Welles’ F for Fake that is very playful on a conceptual level but also amazes you with its extremely low budget technical wizardry.
2. What inspires you?
I’d never really given the documentary form a lot of thought until I started doing them myself and have really fallen in love with the idea that you’re not making something up in your mind but uncovering an incredible story that’s already happened and saving it from fading into obscurity or being lost with time. So many times the stories we do are about someone you wouldn’t give another look walking down the street but I’m constantly fascinated by people’s stories and personalities and just the weirdness and greatness in stopping for a moment and capturing their story.
3. What is your favorite piece that you’ve done for This Land?
I think Indian Elvis is still probably one of my favorites because it seemingly had music, showmanship, oddity, tenderness, joy and sadness all at the same time.
4. What do you like about Tulsa & Oklahoma at large?
I love how unpretentious this city and state is. I love that for the most part, if someone walked into a bar with their nose up talking about how much they have in the stock market they would be laughed out of the place. There’s so much I would love to change about Tulsa, but the people here who are passionate about something are as genuine and “real” and talented as you could ask for.
5. What is your drink of choice? (Alcoholic or non)