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Matt Sweetwood, Director and producer

After finishing a film degree in San Diego in 1990, Matt Sweetwood worked in California as production manager and film writer, before moving to Berlin in 1995 where he wrote for fiction and documentary films. He founded Sweetwood Films (UG) in Potsdam, Germany and has made several feature-length documentaries, including Homemade Hillbilly Jam (2005) [co-writer and editor], Forgetting Dad (2008) [co-director and editor], which received the Prädikat Besonders Wertvoll Award and the Special Jury Award at IDFA, and Beerland (2013) [writer and director], for which he won the Dokuwettbewerb.

Matt was drawn to making The Beer Jesus from America because of his deep love for beer and his fascination with documenting the birth of a brewery, but mostly it was because he found Greg Koch’s "yes we can" attitude deeply inspiring. Over the two years of production, Matt’s initial idea of a documentary about the beginnings of a brewery developed into a portrait of an unusual character - a guy with a mission who isn't afraid to dream big.  

 

 
“While making a film about a guy who continues to be misunderstood by the outside world, I would often hear Germans exclaiming, "Why does this American think he come to this country, and teach us how to brew beer, that's crazy!" And it's exactly this misperception that motivated me to continue filming and getting the story out there. I want to deal with the doubting Thomas in all of us; that annoying voice that says it's stupid to dream and have a vision that goes against the current and seems ridiculous. The Beer Jesus from America has the ability to make us confront our own lack of vision and ask ourselves why we are not willing to fight for what we are passionate about.”