about

Matt Thomas Lavine lived in NYC for most of 30 years. During that time, he studied writing, lit and education - And, even as an undergrad, did some intense activism. Initial activism was around housing and homelessness; later working with Conscientious Objectors to the Gulf War. He kept a legal and social-issue support office going for them, while they were declared political prisoners by Amnesty International (purportedly the first folks to earn that distinction in the U.S.) and eventually released from the brig.

 

(Note that Matt's middle name - and Hebrew name Kalman - come from maternal grandfather Tommy, who was in the newspaper distribution biz.  Before coming to NYC, as wee teen-lad, Matt got an internship and later a job at private AM news-feature station. Matt loves radio.)

At the same time? Matt began interning and working with Teachers and Writers Collaborative, and various orgs - including the Children's Aid Society, to empower young people from diverse backgrounds to write, radio record and film/edit their stories and media docs.

This eventually led to running the school at Film/Video Arts - at the time the largest, and most diverse, community media arts center and school, on the East Coast.

As much as Matt loves empowering and facilitating the support for voices, he also wanted to experience the other side. Aside from making some shorts and experimental films in his 20s - Matt's first real venture into the commodified world of media production was as the AP on the whole series of 'Real Scary Stories' - true stories of teenagers and the paranormal. Tracking down, scouting and pitching the episodes - he felt like a weird variant on Fox Mulder. And, in fact, his very first segment of television ever was broadcast nationally on Fox, as part of their Saturday morning kids line-up, before the series continued on Fox Family.

Sometime before that job - Matt helped conceive and initiate the documentary TYING THE KNOT. After Scary Stories and field producing some eps for 'Fine Living' network series, Matt returned to the doc - helping plan, shoot, write, sort it out - get in the newspapers and film festivals... After the film was in Tribeca, it was picked up for theatrical distribution, and made Variety's top-grossing films its opening weekend.

Later on, Matt would pair with a NYT reporter to create another award-winning documentary, FOUR SEASONS LODGE, that was also picked up for theatrical, and PBS (and iTunes, Netflix, etc). That latter film was a verité look at a community of Holocaust survivors throwing parties in the Catskills - women doing their hair, men in jackets and ties, a house band... Essentially revising the narrative around that group - re-humanizing them as folks who did not consider themselves victims.

In his 30s,  Matt also returned to McGraw-Hill, where he'd copy-edited a weekly trade in his 20s, as the fill-in news editor for another weekly science trade, 'Aviation Week & Space Technology.' This provided the chance to practice the writing trade craft, helping to maintain author's voices and styles, while working out clarity and meaning, brevity and more.

Later, Matt went back to television (His fourth true love.... after comic books, radio, and vintage Americana objects...), to field produce on series that were spun out of American Pickers, and related ephemera/history series.

Throughout all this? Matt somehow kept up various activist practices (see One Thousand Coffins, docs on kids in squats), teaching-admin, and powerful enthusiasm for all things Geek. His comics collection probably nears 20,000. He learned to program in Basic at age 13. Chose to take Molecular Biology and Nuclear Physics in college - despite being an arts-lit radical left-wing boy. Learned Dreamweaver and Drupal and how to produce websites. And has won Teen Titans trivia contests. Being an avid insomniac is an essential element to keeping up all these interests.

His special magical particular gifts? include: finding ways to connect with all manner of human beings around the globe; from the urban to the random-est off-grid wilderness. From the deeply religious evangelicals, to the most radical socialists and anarchists. He enjoys nothing more than getting people talking, interviewing them in ways that let them open up.

He's also done thousands of hours in docu post, with an odd second-vision for how to put doc-films together.

matt@realness.com   917-512-1433