Matthew Martino is the founder of Lets Fly Academy he is also the founder of Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund or MMBF which provides sponsorships and grants to aspiring pilots and young film-makers worldwide; here is a link to his website:
Q: What is Lets Fly Academy?
A: Lets Fly Academy is an aviation consultancy and training firm I set up in 2012, its based in London but we serve aspiring pilots and aviation enthusiasts worldwide, we provide information on pilot courses and also provide assistance for pilots seeking funding as well as working with pilot training organisations to arrange training courses and open days. Our goal is to get everyone flying.
Q: What made you want to be a pilot?
A: It was just being able to explore something different, from when I was in Africa I often looked up and saw planes flying past and this always intrigued me and since my first flight in a Cessna 152 I just enjoyed the freedom being in the air brought, it’s amazing! Although I’m not a commercial pilot right now I enjoy being able to go up and fly every now and again it’s a good hobby.
Q: What inspired you to start the MMBF Trust?
A: I think my biggest inspiration was seeing how far I’ve come and thinking of all the assistance and support I received in my early years I thought its high time I give back. Im not where I want to be yet buy I’ve been brought up and taught to share hence why I’ve decided to form something charitable and give back to the future generation who I’m sure with the right support will go far.
Q: How does one go about starting a charity?
A: Starting a charity is mostly about first having a mission of what your charity wants to achieve, getting help in terms of Trustees onboard and then you will need to register with the appropriate bodies if you want to fundraise or earn public funding but for private funded charities such as MMBF its then down to making sure that you use the funds to work towards the objectives that you have set. When running a charity its also important to realise that its not a business so profit isn’t the object but impact is.
Q: How did your charity become involved with the Colchester Film Festival?
A: I can’t claim all the glory for the Colchester Film Festival award we introduced that was spearheaded by Sharon from my HQ. We teamed up with them to introduce a Rising Star Award at their festival this year and the award is there to empower a young filmmaker or actor who has shown potential and I personally hope the award gives them confidence and a reward for all their hard work.
Q: What made you connect flying with filmmaking?
A: Well it was quite a hard connection but I made it work, flying was my first love and when I first bean working on films and then producing it did at times make me feel like I was abandoning my flying. What I am now able to do is incorporate my flying when I make films I often try and make sure there is some aerial shots and I always try and sneak in a cheeky helicopter shot as well.
Q: How can people overcome their fear of flying?
A: Fear of flying is mostly a mental condition, if you channel your thoughts towards the positives of flying you will be fine. I used to be scared of flying as I would think ‘what if’ this and ‘what it’ that and as soon as I stopped thinking that way my confidence grew.
Q: What do filmmakers miss when making movies about flying?
A: I think most filmmakers miss the technicality of flying and also keeping it realistic. A few flying or aviation based films I’ve watched even recently will often have their crew saying the wrong thing at take-off or their pilots will be dressed up in the wrong format – for a film its fine as most people don’t know what happens in the cockpit but when I watch these films I want to scream.
Q: Do you think life is better or worse for the average citizen in Zimbabwe since gaining its independence from Britain?
A: From what my parents and relatives have told me life is a little worse now, of course before independence there was arguments that Zimbabweans didn’t get the good jobs or hierarchy as jobs were snapped up by the British but now just getting a job in Zimbabwe can prove tough let alone a good job.
Q: The Great Waldo Pepper or Top Gun?
A: It’s always going to be Top Gun all the way, Tom Cruise carries that role and I like how the story not only involved his passion for aviation but his passion for his instructor, it’s a good old aviation romance film.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)