We all love a film with a good story. This is a story about filmmakers.
Nils Myers was born in Downey, the ninth of 10 children. He describes his childhood home as, “Structured, an environment of controlled chaos. I was shy and introverted and didn't get a lot of ‘me’ time at home. Playtime was creating elaborate scenarios using imagination and a G.I. Joe doll. Looking back, I was destined to be a filmmaker.”
In high school, he joined a group of rambunctious kids who obtained a video camera, pooled their money to buy cartridges and spent their free time shooting video shorts. With a growing passion for making videos, Nils entered a community college where he met his first mentor, who convinced him that he not only could - but should - pursue a film career.
With newfound confidence, Meyers applied to California State University Long Beach as a radio, TV and film candidate and was awarded a coveted director’s slot. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree and an understanding of the how and why of directing.
Born in San Jose, Mattie Scariot moved to Gilroy at age 6 when her parents decided to build their own house in the country. The oldest of three girls, she was creative but shy and liked her time alone to enjoy music and art and to imagine. In fifth grade at El Roble School, she was thrilled to receive the lead in “Miss Louisa and the Outlaws.”
“It was the first time anyone picked me,” she said.
At Gilroy High School, she appeared onstage as the dumb blonde in “Love Thy Neighbor.” Inspired by her art teacher, Carol Peters, Mattie entered a poster contest, won and was awarded the first Theater Angels Scholarship.
After graduation Mattie attended the Fashion and Design Institute in Los Angeles where she studied visual presentation and space design. A chance meeting with someone who worked on “Star Search” introduced her to the world of TV production and a position preparing clothes for photo shoots. Meeting actress Kim Basinger and photographer Greg Gorman was a “dream come true” for the country girl. Moving to a wardrobe position on a Jason Alexander film, Mattie was included in production meetings. Wanting to learn more about producing, she took an office job at the College of Design in Pasadena and received free classes in art and film.
Mattie happened to rent a room in the same house where old Gilroy friend Kevin Rubio was living. At the same time, Nils went to a film screening and met up with former classmate Kevin Rubio. Thinking the two would be a good match, Kevin arranged for Nils to help Mattie with her resume. The two clicked, their first date was a double feature film and a year later they were married.
The couple lived in Los Angeles, Mattie working in Pasadena and Nils working at Barnes & Noble, and they pooled their money to finance a film that Nils wrote and Mattie produced. They won the New Filmmaker award from Panavision and were expecting their first child. Hoping to break into Indie films, they found nothing but rejection. With a newborn and no money, it was time to leave LA When Mattie's parents offered a house in Gilroy they took the deal. Nils found work with eBay and did video work on the side.
After eight years the film bug hit again. They produced and edited “Ocatilla Flats,” which sold overseas. With new skills in visual effects, Nils decided to quit his job and the couple started 152 West Productions making marketing and wedding videos.
“Every project matters,” Nils said. “Nothing is mundane.”
As a producer, Mattie strives to make filming an enjoyable experience, allowing the personality of the actor to come through.
“Even the most outgoing people get nervous in front of a camera,” she said. “We strive to create a comfortable environment.”
The couple tries to make film accessible to everyone.
“There is no more direct way to preserve and reach out than through video,” Nils said.
This past summer the couple taught a youth film workshop at the Gilroy Center for the Arts. The resulting video features students miming Bruno Mars “Lazy Song” while dancing through landscapes by local artists. Nils used a green screen to create the effect. It is magical.
Carol Harris represents the City of Gilroy Art and Culture Commission.
Carol Harris serves on the City of Gilroy Arts and Culture Commission. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.