Matt Drummond: A creative visionary behind Australia’s next blockbuster

Matt Drummond
Matt Drummond

Many years in the making, The Secret Kingdom, was released into Aussie cinemas in April, in a triumph for its writer, producer and director, Matt Drummond. The film tells the story of anxious Peter (12) and his sister Verity (9), taken underground by a garrison of pangolin. Matt was Director of Photography, Producer, Writer, Visual Effects artist and Director. 

The Secret Kingdom was shot by a very small crew at a green screen studio in Marrickville in Sydney with all 1248 visual effects later applied in Launceston in Tasmania. The film will debut in international cinemas, including across the United Kingdom and the USA later this year. 

Why The Secret Kingdom might be his best work yet

“I have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed a 30 plus year career in VFX and am always looking for new and better ways to bring my ideas to the screen. I adopted Unreal Engine as the core of the VFX pipeline. Its real-time architecture allowed me to dispense with the need for the traditional departmentalised approach to VFX,” Matt Drummond commented.

“I was able to look at development, lighting, cinematography and rendering all in real-time. I was the lead Animator and FX artist on the  film and was able to complete the 1248 VFX shots with only myself and a handful of modelling and layout artists. Of course, nothing good comes without sacrifice and it did cost me almost 3 years of very long hours 7 days a week.”

Matt is known across the world for his passion for all aspects of filmmaking, from animation to visual effects, writing, directing, and post-production. He said he faced enormous challenges turning The Secret Kingdom into a reality. “The biggest challenges came with the new tech. Some of the tech didn’t exist. Real-time raytraced rendering was still a dream when I first penned the script and only became a reality a few months before the shoot.”

The Secret Kingdom

“Things like facial capture with iPhones were brand new and for the voice actors, it was invaluable during the pandemic. The advancement of graphics technology over the past 2 years alone has been absolutely astounding but it is the ease with which I was able to put that technology into production that surprised me the most,” Matt Drummond added.

His films, including Dinosaur Island and My Pet Dinosaur, have received acclaim and enjoyed international success. Drummond’s impact on the Australian film industry is significant, and he is highly respected for his creative vision. In this article, we will explore his background, career achievements, notable films, unique qualities as a director, and upcoming projects. 

Who is Matt Drummond?

Background and Career Achievements

Matt is the eldest child of musician Pat Drummond and brother of Pete Drummond from the band Dragon. He began his career in the early 90s as a visual effects artist and soon became one of the most sought-after artists in Australia. In 1993, he opened his a graphics company, Extra Digital, and in 1998, he opened the visual effects agency Hive Studios International.

Matt Drummond has worked with National Geographic, History Channel, and Discovery Channel, and his work has won him an Emmy Award for Graphic Design and Art Direction.

Notable Films and Projects

He made his directorial debut with Dinosaur Island, which premiered in 2015. The film featured a feathered dinosaur, which was the first time a feathered dinosaur had been featured in a theatrical release. The film was highly successful and sold in over 50 countries.

My Pet Dinosaur

Matt followed this up with My Pet Dinosaur in 2017, which debuted at Number 7 at the Chinese box office in June 2018. His latest film, The Secret Kingdom, will be released on April 27 2023 and has been sold into all major international territories for theatrical release.

Unique Qualities as a Director

Matt is highly respected for his unique creative vision and his ability to bring his projects to life with passion and an expert understanding of all aspects of filmmaking. His films are known for their high-quality visual effects and seamless blend of live-action and animation. He is also an early adopter of Unreal Engine to create VFX shots in real-time raytracing technologies.

“Artists find expression in multiple mediums. Film is the amalgam of creative disciplines and I know that many animators are either frustrated filmmakers or actors. I got into animation as a way to create imagined worlds. Filmmaking was a natural extension to that desire.”

Impact on the Australian Film Industry

Matt’s impact on the Australian film industry is significant. His films have been praised for their technical expertise, creativity, and dedication to the craft. He has been nominated for an AFI award and for two Emmy Awards previously. He is at the forefront of the paradigm shift into raytracing tech for filmmaking, and his work is influencing the industry’s direction.

“I grew up painting and drawing, I was always fascinated with the artistry behind films like Star Wars and those aforementioned 80’s classics. My dad brought home the first Apple Macintosh in 1984, therefore computers were part of my formative years,” Matt said.

“I got my hands on a copy of some 3D animation early in my career and put together a pretty crude animation showreel. I showed this to some people at the science department of the ABC and got a job working on the science program Quantum. I must have done a pretty good job because word got around and I found myself imagining worlds and creatures for Clients including Discovery Channel, History Channel and National Geographic.”

Upcoming Projects and Future Plans

Matt’s latest film, The Secret Kingdom, was released and was sold into all major territories, and Pinnacle Films acquired the ANZ theatrical rights for a release on April 27, 2023. 

“I’m focussed on my own film projects at the moment. Hive is the vehicle for that but we do work with select clients where we see I can add value or push the tech into new areas.”

Matt Drummond is a creative visionary in the Australian film industry. He has made significant contributions to the industry through his technical expertise, creativity, and dedication to the craft. His films have enjoyed international success and critical acclaim, and his unique creative vision and expertise are highly respected in the industry. With The Secret Kingdom set for release in a few weeks, it will be exciting to see what Drummond produces next.