Fueled by the DIY (do-it-yourself) attitude and driven by an intense desire to tell remarkably personal, affecting tales of everyday life, director Matty Rich gained kudos for the honest storytelling in his directorial debut Straight Out of Brooklyn (1991). He was born Matthew Statisfield Richardson in Brooklyn, NY, in 1971, the son of a Vietnam veteran. Rich's childhood was spent growing up in Brooklyn's Red Hook Houses, and the director would utilize his life experiences in scripting his debut feature. Hungering for a chance to get behind the camera, Rich attended New York University film school, though he would drop out almost immediately after claiming he was discriminated against. Undaunted and determined, it wasn't long before Rich was maxing out the family credit cards in true independent filmmaker fashion, and a series of fundraising screenings earned the young filmmaker 77,000 dollars to continue working on his movie. Hiring non-professional actors and utilizing American Playhouse Theatrical Films' funding to complete the post-production for Straight Out of Brooklyn, the film subsequently earned the Special Jury Prize at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival. Though some would cite the film as overly simplistic, no one could deny its refreshing sincerity. The release of his sophomore effort, The Inkwell, also drew mixed reviews due to apparent parallels between its story of a young boy sent to spend the summer with wealthy relatives and Rich's experience in Hollywood, and apparent conflicts between Rich and screenwriter Trey Ellis brought the film a minor mount of controversy.