Filmmakers Making A Social Impact: Why & How Filmmaker Matt Beurois of the Yucca Valley Film Festival Is Helping To Change Our World

Yitzi Weiner
Authority Magazine
Published in
6 min readOct 8, 2023

Doing something again is OK, even if you’ve done it already. You are a different person, these are different times. If you want to do it again, it means there is something inside you that need expressing.

As a part of our series about “Filmmakers Making A Social Impact” I had the pleasure of interviewing Matt Beurois.

Matt Beurois is an established director and producer with several feature films and documentaries released internationally. He is also the founder and director of the Yucca Valley Film festival, the new attraction of the Mojave Desert, in California, next to Joshua Tree.

Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you share your “backstory” that brought you to this career?

I am a filmmaker myself. My directorial feature debut THE BARN was released in more than 20 countries. I also directed and produced the documentary FANCY LIKE WALKER HAYES after following the country star for three months on the road, covering the breakout “Fancy Like” tour.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Making movies is all about managing the mess and creating something out of it. Learning from your mistakes in our field is a necessity. Obviously because your don’t want to make the same mistakes again, but also because it is a skill you want and need to develop to make you a better partner, collaborator, artist.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

In 2018, I met Sharon Stone. She had produced a documentary, “An Undeniable Voice” directed by Price Arana. Price submitted the film like any director. The film was powerful, and necessary, the committee picked it, and Price was officially selected to the festival. Two weeks before the event, we receive a simple email from Sharon Stone’s publicist: “Sharon will be in attendance”. Her venue definitely reshaped the whole event and it became the evening to be at in Paris that day. I moderated the discussion, I was with her for the TV interviews, the red carpet and backstage… She was very professional and made herself absolutely available for every other filmmaker. Imagine being a director with a short film made in your backyard, and suddenly next to you for the group picture: Sharon Stone. That is the whole essence of making film festivals for me. Create direct opportunities and make impactful memories.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and take action for this cause? What was that final trigger?

A few years back I had a short film that was doing very well worldwide on the festival circuit. After more than 60 selections on three continents, I noticed a pattern: the best festivals were not the bigger ones or the most famous ones: there were the ones you had fun at.

Back in Paris, I said let’s create our own film festival. It’ll be both in English and in French, it’ll mix established stars with up and coming artists, and more importantly let’s not take ourselves too seriously.

The idea was to screen movies of high quality, like French audiences expect, but to put together an event with one word in ming: entertainment.

Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, how are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting social impact causes you are working on right now?

With our festival in Paris, the Paris Art & Movie Awards, we helped hundreds of artists and filmmakers to screen, network, produce their new film.

Today I live full time in California. Since 2019, the Yucca Valley Film Festival is my main annual project.

We are celebrating 5 year this November 10, 11 and 12, 2023.

Last year, when we came back to an in person event after the pandemic, we had a record attendance of filmmakers.

They were hungry, motivated, and they wanted the experience. I felt the social role and impact we were having instantly. I could see that what we were doing in this small town was relevant, needed, appreciated.

I remember feeling, during the talks, the QnAs, the Masterclass, the roundtables… I knew that these moments were going to be a stepping stone for some filmmakers.

Artistically, Film Festivals should be as meaningful as possible. But the social impact of it is often overlooked, when maybe it should be our new angle to make them.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

The Yucca Valley Film Festival is the signature event of the Town of Yucca Valley. It is 100% sponsored by the Town, and the involvement from every Council member is amazing.

The first person who backed us up was Dr Robert Lombardo, who was Mayor of the Town in 2018. He immediately connected us to everybody and his support was essential.

Every Yucca Valley Mayor has since attended the festival.

And every year now, we use the Film Fest as a platform to showcase the best talents of the community, from local organizations, non-profits…

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

In our case, they do it already. The Yucca Valley Film Festival has been recognized “Cultural Contributor” by, the US Congress, the California State Senate and the County, through our local elected Congressman, Senator and Board of Supervisors.

In current times, art in general is more relevant than ever, as an escape or to carry a message. Art and movies can actually impact someone so profoundly that it will spark change. Movies are being made, but the industry is harder than ever to break into (streaming and reshuffled everything at scale), and Film Festivals has become an industry has any other. Real in-person events have a role to play. And they need artists in the program and audience in the room.

Supporting the arts is very easy. It is actually just a choice.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why?

Doing something again is OK, even if you’ve done it already. You are a different person, these are different times. If you want to do it again, it means there is something inside you that need expressing.

If it doesn’t make you happy, maybe this is not what you should be doing right now.

Educate yourself about the business. There are no mentors anymore. It’s just you.

Ask people you trust what they believe you are good at. They are seeing you from the outside.

Get a dog. It’ll ground you more than any therapy.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Anything you do will have an impact on someone, somewhere. We just don’t know who or art will reach at the moment we’re doing it.

We are very blessed that many other Social Impact Heroes read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would like to collaborate with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)

Sidse Babett Knudsen.

How can our readers follow you online?

Submit to the Yucca Valley Film Festival: https://filmfreeway.com/YuccaValleyFilmFestival

YVFF on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yuccavalleyfilmfestival/

This was great, thank you so much for sharing your story and doing this with us. We wish you continued success!

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Yitzi Weiner
Authority Magazine

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator