WHERE THE HELL IS MATT?
Is this a small world or what? I've been getting the most amazing feedback on the Where the Hell is Matt? (officially titled Dancing) video I circulated not too long ago in my list server. For those of you who haven't seen it already, here is the link again: http://www.vimeo.com/1211060?pg=embed&sec=1211060
A University of Puerto Rico chemistry professor I sent the link to forwarded it to a Pablo, a UPR biology professor that we are both friends with. And it turns out that Pablo's mother is from Bangladesh and happens to be good friends with Palbasha Siddique, the teenager who sings in the video! I just found this excellent press article about Dancing:
Here is an xcerpt:
To wit: "Dancing," by the video-game designer turned videomaker Harding, is a thing of such unbridled joy and connectivity that one film critic, Erik Lundegaard, has already dubbed it "the best movie of 2008" on his blog. And why not? Times-infinity planetwide goose bumps can't be wrong.
"I hadn't even had a chance to sit down and look at until yesterday," said Harding, a 31-year-old native of Westport, Conn., Thursday by phone from his home in Seattle.
"I finished the trip at the beginning of June. I got home, then we had to record the music, and we shot the last clip in Seattle, and then I had about 10 days to edit the thing and get it done.
"It wasn't until yesterday that I finally had a quiet moment to sit down and watch it and sort of try to understand the response it's been getting since I put it up. It's been really amazing."
The sum effect of "Dancing," which is called "Where the Hell Is Matt (2008)" on YouTube, is just that --especially when coupled with the ephemeral music created by Harding's friend Gary Schyman and sung by Palbasha Siddique, a 17-year-old native of Bangladesh who will be a senior at Minneapolis Southwest High School this year.
'People are making ring tones out of it'
"It's crazy," said Siddique, who lives in Northeast Minneapolis with her mother and brother. "Right now it's number one on amazon.com in the soundtrack [category], and number six overall, so that's a really big accomplishment, because even 'American Idol' is number nine right now. I just never knew this would turn out so incredible. People are making ring tones out of it. Everyone on Facebook is adding me, and I had no idea there are so many Bengalis in our community, and they have all heard the song."
"Dancing" has its roots in two previous Harding-dancing videos, which were similar — if lesser — Internet sensations in which Harding danced alone. The videos caught the attention of Stride gum, which helped finance Harding's travel and production budget.
In the FAQ section of his website, Harding writes, "In 2007 Matt went back to Stride with another idea. He realized his bad dancing wasn't actually all that interesting, and that other people were much better at being bad at it. He showed them his inbox, which, as a result of his semi-famousness, was overflowing with emails from all over the planet. He told them he wanted to travel around the world one more time and invite the people who'd written him to come out and dance too."
Over the course of 14 months, Harding traveled to 42 countries and, simply, filmed himself dancing with folks. Now he has a publicist to help him field interview requests. And to think it all started in Hanoi, when a friend suggested, "go do that stupid dance you do and I'll film it."