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“I was putting together my résumé and asked Nils to take a look at it,” Mattie said. “We started talking about our passion for film and things just clicked. Nils showed me a script he was working on, called Movies ‘Til Dawn. We decided to collaborate on the film, and then we won a contract from Panavision to produce it. They even provided the equipment.” Nils and Mattie were married in 1993. They said their “I Do’s” under a huge oak tree in the backyard of Mattie’s childhood home in Gilroy. After the celebration they headed back to Southern California to build a new life together. But a year later, they were on the set filming their movie when Mattie announced that she was pregnant. Their son Nathan was born, followed by Jacob in 1996. With two boys to raise, they decided to move to Gilroy so they could be near Mattie’s family. Launching 152 West Building Their Dream Together Nils was raised in Los Angeles. As a teen- ager, he used his spare time to make Super 8 movies. After graduating from the film school at California State University Long Beach, Nils invested in some video equip- ment and began working on a movie script. Mattie grew up in Gilroy and attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. After college she got involved in a few made-for-TV movie projects and Star Search and totally enjoyed the experience. Nils and Mattie met in Southern California, fresh out of college, and their attraction to each other was immediate. Nils took a job at eBay in 1998. He led fraud investigations and did some video work as well. The job involved hard work, long hours and lots of travel. He and Mattie began to take on side projects, building up a small clientele and a portfolio including weddings, music videos and some corporate work. In 2006, they decided to take the plunge and launch their own business. Nils left eBay and 152 West Productions was born. “The timing turned out to be less than ideal when the recession hit and businesses tightened their belts,” Nils said. “As the economy gradually improved we built our business back up, and we’ve been growing steadily ever since. Today, we work mostly with clients from San Francisco south to Monterey and east to Merced.” Elevating Film Arts in South County For more than a decade, Mattie has been a member of the Gilroy Arts Alliance, which manages the Gilroy Center for the Arts. She has served on the Gilroy Arts & Culture Commission for nine years and is currently its Chair. “We need to keep the film arts alive here in South County and create opportunities for all genres,” Mattie said. “People like Don and Karen Christopher have been big supporters of the Alliance. They have gone above and beyond to help us build awareness of the local arts scene GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JULY / AUGUST 2016 in South County. The arts enjoy strong volunteer support, and they play a big role in celebrating our diversity, making our community whole and our downtown successful.” “It’s never too early to get involved,” Mattie added. “Every year we hold a film class for local middle schoolers at the Arts Alliance that gives them an opportunity to write and direct their own video. The kids absolutely love it.” According to Nils, “Art also keeps our history alive. South County has a rich history that would disappear if not for photographers, writers and filmmakers who have faithfully captured people and events from our past in creative ways that people can relate to today.” Meet Morgan Hill In 2014, Nils and Mattie were brought in by Leadership Morgan Hill’s Class of 2014 to help them produce a video about Morgan Hill. Bill Haskell, a Class of 2014 alum, said that working with 152 West made what could have been a difficult process, easy and enjoyable. “We were a committee of 20 people with lots of ideas about the project but very little experience. Nils and Mattie somehow managed to channel our enthusiasm. They went all over town with us, taping interviews with students, city officials, business and non-profit leaders and senior citizens. Their editing was masterful, combining video footage with photos and recordings to come up with a six-minute video from hours and hours of material. People in the community were really moved when they saw the final video, Meet Morgan Hill, at our class graduation. The City of Morgan Hill and the Chamber of Commerce liked the video enough to post it on their websites.” Morgan Hill Rotarian Janene Towner- Chernoff had this to say about 152 West: “Our club wanted to create a video to promote ‘Dazzle,’ our annual fundraiser. We started out with a blank slate. Nils and Mattie helped us to clarify our vision for the project and then construct the story. They are creative and skilled videographers.” Founding Families Tell Their Stories Several years ago, Nils and Mattie were approached by Kathy Sullivan from the Morgan Hill Historical Society to help capture the stories of Morgan Hill’s gmhtoday.com 45