Spring, played by Sol Marina Crespo. (Photo courtesy of Cambria Matlow)
July 10, 2024

MFA candidate’s film debuts at the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles festival

The festival takes place July 13 in downtown Los Angeles

Author: Sandra Baltazar Martínez
July 10, 2024

Spring is an artist, mother, and wife. She’s trying to be everything, but a family vacation unravels and confirms that it’s a difficult to juggle all the responsibilities successfully.

“Why Dig When You Can Pluck,” is a fictional story that mirrors the life of Cambria Matlow, the film’s writer, director, and current UC Riverside Palm Desert Low-Residency MFA program student. The film makes its North America premiere at the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles, or NFMLA, festival on Saturday, July 13.

NFMLA is a non-profit organization that champions emerging and diverse filmmakers and storytellers from around the world. Matlow’s film will be part of the “InFocus: Canadian Cinema — Feature Narrative” program. NFMLA is supported from Telefilm Canada and the Québec Government Office in Los Angeles, and community partnership with its longstanding partner, the Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles. 

“Why Dig When You Can Pluck” is a black-and-white 51-minute film that introduces the audience to the lives of Spring, her husband Clay, and their son, Elio.

“As a mother and filmmaker this is a deeply personal film – the main character Spring comes from the guts of my lived experiences in these two roles. Becoming a parent 11 years ago both made me whole and broke me into pieces,” Matlow said. “Society is not kind to female hyphenates, and we’re told we can’t possibly be good at both mothering and artmaking. We’re told that being a mother means other people get to decide what is and isn’t true about you. I wanted to tell a story that speaks the truth and opens the doors of permission for the next mother to speak hers.”


A scene from “Why Dig When You Can Pluck.” (Photo courtesy of Cambria Matlow)

Matlow shows the protagonist’s heartache and describes the story as “she comes to terms with the choices she’s willing to make and realizes she’s not the mother or the artist she thought she was. Moving between deadpan realism, unexpected humor, and quiet devastation, ‘Why Dig When You Can Pluck’ challenges norms around motherhood and artmaking while exploring themes of trust, violence, and love.” 

Matlow is starting her first year in the UCR Palm Desert Low-Residency MFA program. She said the program has catapulted her career. 

“I'm a first quarter student so it’s hard to quantify just yet, but being trusted with intimate access to high-level industry players at an early stage in my career feels invaluable,” Matlow said. “Being treated like a professional writer from the start has helped me to see the value that I possess as a filmmaker overall. I've learned a ton in the last few days alone about the value of having patience with the process (of writing, of getting work out, of getting through to gatekeepers and openers alike) and trusting my instincts.” 

At the NFMLA premiere, Matlow’s film is one of three programs throughout the evening and will be screened at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 per event or $30 for an all-access pass, which includes panels, films, and open bar for people 21 years of age and older. 


Date/time: Saturday, July 13 from 3-10 p.m.

Location: South Park Center, 1139 S. Hill Street in Los Angeles, CA 90015

Tickets: $10-$30

Learn more: www.newfilmmakersla.com

Header image: Spring, played by Sol Marina Crespo. (Photo courtesy of Cambria Matlow)

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