Matthew Killip is an British-American Filmmaker.
I first saw the film mentioned on social media and was quite curious. I am not an alien enthusiast, so it was an odd bit of serendipity that I followed through to watch it on Netflix. I found it and saw the running time of 16 minutes and thought perhaps it was just an intro to a series, not understanding that Netflix was experimenting with running documentary shorts. I was not disappointed when I watched and still cannot fathom how so much brilliance was squeezed into that quarter of an hour. I remember feeling oddly emotional watching the story of John(s).
John Was Trying to Contact Aliens is a story about many things, but if I were to hazard an explanation to someone who has not seen it, I would suggest that the documentary is about outsider connection and maybe interstellar DJ’ing. There are various threads in the beautiful tapestry that Matthew weaves from a story of technology, amateur astronomy and music to the story of John and his efforts. Without wanting to give up too much, I very much suggest you spend 16 glorious minutes watching it as soon as possible.
Matthew and I spoke about documentary shorts and we delved into his various other films such as Master of Reality, a film about growing up in America and the fantasy that is gifted to an imaginative young man who was able to record his mini wrestling and cinematic horror fantasies from suburbia-not an uncommon American pursuit, but one that is rarely commented on.
We also spoke about Matthew’s short The Diatomist is the story about the German diatomist Klaus Kemp who arranges single cell algae under a microscope to create beautiful mosaic micro-patterns. It is a again a tale of an outside pursuit and the pursuit to exemplify individual tendencies through craft and obsessive examination. When you step back, you see that this is perhaps the overwhelming theme of Matthews work-a concentration on the outsider with incredible gifts that are maintained through their isolated tendencies and gifts of imagination.
I had connected with Matthew and was surprised to be granted this interview. I am never sure with film, like music how open artists working in those medium are. With Matthew, it was a completely open and interesting conversation. It was not until I had already asked Matthew on board that I made the connection to his parents. It should have been obvious. My sincere thanks go to Matthew for his time and efforts.