We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Matat and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jessica, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind my success is the networking skills I’ve accumulated during my career. Over this past year, I created an online networking page in response to the pandemic, which jump-started the beginning of my profession. In a matter of weeks, the page had garnered over a thousand members comprised of working professionals from all different backgrounds. As a first-generation Muslim-American from an Egyptian and Peruvian family, connecting to creatives from different backgrounds gave me the incentive to hunt for representation for those who have never received it. Between the platform, I’ve created for like-minded individuals, i.e., Networking for Career Filmmakers, and my networking abilities which landed me my position at The Enclave Entertainment Group, I’ve created my own personal hub of creative contacts. Ultimately, I feel that Hollywood currently primarily hires based on an “ethnically diverse” merit – But I yearn for a world where international stories are told from a creative standpoint, not just a demand for Hollywood to become more inclusive. Luckily, I’ve found a team that hired me purely based on my talent alone and is focused on sharing diverse stories as well, and I am eternally grateful to be a part of it.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am currently working as a Casting Associate Producer for The Bachelorette: Season 18 and as a Producer and the Head of Development for The Enclave Entertainment Group, where I am leading a team of three development coordinators while also working with writers on a few different projects, all in different stages of development. The following projects that we are working on include a historical fiction miniseries, a female-led action-drama series, a British stage-play adaptation, a Christmas feature for broadcast, and a low-budget feature for our theatre company. Before joining the Enclave, I worked and interned for Britespark Films, alongside Channel 4 and Channel 5 in the UK, and Jason Bateman and Michael Costigan’s Aggregate Films in LA. Having studied and worked in Miami, Boston, New York, London, and Los Angeles, I realized that my heart lies in telling stories for underrepresented groups. Because of that, I created Networking for Career Filmmaking, a networking group on Facebook to provide a platform for global filmmakers/storytellers so that they can work and interact with one another. Before the pandemic hit, I was based in Los Angeles, where I carried out a routine of attending two networking events a week, meeting at least three industry professionals a week, and contacting at least fifteen people on LinkedIn every other day so that I could continue networking. Ultimately, all I do is hustle so that I may be able to afford the rights to the countless books I’ve read, which have exposed hidden stories involving our vast history that people are not aware of. I want to educate the public on culturally diverse stories embedded within historical fiction and climate fiction. No matter what, I want the world to know that I aim to push the envelope towards international storytelling, and I plan to consistently seek new stories to tell and assist in creating extraordinary and inclusive worlds that my younger self would love to watch.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Restaurants —- Jon and Vinny’s on Melrose. La Pergoletta, a quaint and homey Italian spot in Silverlake with some of the best pasta you will ever try. Pine and Crane in Silverlake are known for their stellar Thai food and casual, relaxed vibe. Monty’s Good Burger in Echo Park for the vegans out there! Mercado in WeHo guarantees great guacamole and elote. Guisado’s in Echo Park has some of the best tacos in the city for an affordable price. The Pie Hole in Hollywood for a late-night spot to curb those insatiable dessert cravings. Pho 87 in Silverlake has amazing Vietnamese food. Hot Spots —- The Rooftop bar at the Ace Hotel has the nicest sunset overlooking downtown LA. Amoeba Records in Hollywood helped me find rare David Bowie and No Doubt CDs. Echoplex nightclub in Echo Park is one of the best places to go dancing, and they’re constantly hosting fun music-themed events. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is an LA landmark — Cinespia frequently hosts film events there for everyone to enjoy. The Beverly Hills Public Library, simply because libraries are my favorite. The Melrose farmers market is a staple in LA culture, and for a good reason, it’s a massive event that draws all walks of life. The Silverlake Flea Market is my favorite place for second-hand shopping. The Grove is a great spot to go with friends and family to hang out, shop, enjoy good restaurants, and every Sunday you can experience their array of pop-up food vendors. Echo Park is my favorite park in the city: Koi fish, lotus flowers, and swan boats…. What more can a person need? Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am eternally grateful to my parents, Jackelyne Aguirre and Samy Matat, for their ongoing support and love throughout my life, especially during the earliest stages of my career. I’m thankful for my hardworking sister, whose investigative political work inspires me in the workplace every day, shoutout to you and all the important work you do, Stephany Matat! You’re the best journalist I know! I also want to thank my tia, Helen Aguirre, my uncle Ahmed Matat and the rest of the family for always supporting me! I couldn’t have gotten through the lows in my career so far without friends like Sydney Gershon, Katia Sidlosca, Reza Sarrafian, and Bella Willyard, and I’d also love to shoutout my development team, Aden Yaregal, Jordan Criss, and John Becker. I want to give a special shoutout to the man who has taken a chance on me as a producer in his company, his trust in me means the world to me, so thank you, Wayne Watkins. Whenever I’m not working at The Enclave Entertainment Group, I’m handling my networking group, Networking for Career Filmmakers, so shoutout to my moderators for helping me manage the group: Darshell Sanderfer and Darlene Dalmaceda! I want to give my former professors at Boston University a shoutout for teaching me the in’s and out’s of the industry and always being patient with my many questions. Grateful for you, Garland Waller, Jodi Luber, Andrew Corkin, Randi Siegel, Larry Weinberg, Sam Sokolow, Don Daniel, Julie Charalambides, Aleks Sierz, Charles Merzbacher, Cathy Perron, and also BULA Study Abroad Director, Charisse McGhee-Lazarou. I also want to give a quick shoutout to my high-school teacher, who reminded me to be joyful always and pray continually in everything I do; thank you, Hugues Pericles! Lastly, I’d love to give a shoutout to all the women involved with Women of Color Unite, a BIPOC-led organization “focusing on fair access, fair treatment, and fair pay for women of color in all aspects of the entertainment and media industries” (Wocunite.org). I haven’t met everyone on the staff, but I want to shout out the women who have made a difference in my life so far: Cheryl L. Bedford, Manon de Reeper, Marisilda Garcia, Thuc Nguyen, Shelby Kovant, and more. Women of Color Unite also created “The JTCList,” which is an extensive, searchable database of women of color who work in the film industry, both in Los Angeles and worldwide, so please check out their website for more information about the organization. It’s done so much for me, so I hope that if any other BIPOC female creatives read this, they’ll join too! It takes a village to get anything done in this industry, so I’m so thankful for everyone who’s helped me thus far. I know it’s a mighty long list, but I felt compelled to shout out all the many people whose care and advice have helped me work throughout my career. Thank you again!

Website: https://www.jessicamatat.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jessicamatat/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicamatat/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaMatat

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicamatat

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCdzaj65nUIABcJBJ5uyoWQ

Other: IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm11449863/ Company Website: https://www.enclaveentgrp.com/ Facebook Networking Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/networkingforcareerfilmmakers

Image Credits
Eddie De Jesus Photography

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