‘Thumbs Up’ was shot in the Rhondda Valley, Wales as a collaborative project with a young group of theatre performers in the Valley, OffYourTrolley. The film was written together and used elements from their real lives to inform the story of the film. The Rhondda Valley is where my Fathers family came from. They were coal miners before they immigrated to Australia and became taxi drivers. It is my Grandfather's country. This was the first time I had ever visited to see where (and what) I came from.
Matthew Thorne was born in 1993 in Adelaide, South Australia. His work combines constructed narrative storytelling and observational documentary, often drawing from the landscape of Australia and its people, to create half-real mythic stories about community, land, spirituality, and work. Matthew currently lives and works between Berlin, Athens, and Australia. -- Recent work includes Marungka Tjalatjunu / Dipped in Black (2022) created with Yankunytjatjara artist Derik Lynch, funded by the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund and the South Australian Film Corporation, The Sand That Ate The Sea (2020) a documentation of the remote Opal mining town of Andamooka, and GAIB (2019) an essay film about spirituality, death, and the presence of time in life, made with the community of Batu Karas, West Java. Other work includes photography for Nick Cave and the Badseed’s album Ghosteen (2019), photography on Justin Kurzel’s film True History of The Kelly Gang, Jingo was born in the slum (2019), and photography and additional direction on Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant (2017). Matthew has published two books; Jingo was born in the slum (2021) and For My Father (2018). His photos also accompany the Spanish language translation of Kenneth Cook’s iconic Australian novel Wake In Fright by Sajalín editores (2021). Matthew’s work has been exhibited at the Canberra Museum and Gallery, in conjunction with their Sidney Nolan collection (2022), National Portrait Gallery of Australia (2021), National Portrait Gallery London (2020), National Museum of Australia (2020), Art Gallery of South Australia (2020), National Library of Australia (2019), Perth Centre for Photography (2019), and the Melbourne Centre for Contemporary Photography (2019/20/21/22). His work has also been selected for the Adelaide Film Festival (2022), Australian Directors Guild Awards (2021), Perth International Film Festival (2020), Australian National Portrait Prize (2021), and the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, UK (2020).