Posted Oct 24

Bangalore in Focus: Matthew Packham, Head of Compositing, MPC Film

by The Focus
Bangalore in Focus: Matthew Packham, Head of Compositing, MPC Film by The Focus

Matthew Packham is the Head of the Compositing department in Bangalore, India. He worked his way up from being a runner and has been with MPC Film since 2000. Having lived and worked in Bangalore twice in his career, Packham has an appreciation for the city’s bustling nature and the quiet spaces within it.

What is your name, job title and how long have you been at MPC?

My name is Matthew Packham, I’m Head of the Compositing department here at MPC Bangalore. 

I’ve been working at MPC since 2000 – so around 18 years, with a little break around 2004. I started as a runner and worked my way up from there!

Where were you living before starting with MPC Bangalore?

I’m from the UK originally, from Kent in the southeast – a cricket-loving county.

How many times have you come to work in Bangalore?

I’ve had two visits to Bangalore – the first time was in 2013-2014. I was here for one year, and the second time is this visit, which started in January 2018. There have been some big changes since my last visit. When I was first here, the compositing department was in its infancy with around 16 people sitting in the corner of one room, and now we’re about to hit 500 people in the department, so it’s a huge change.

(READ: Bangalore in Focus: Jamie Wong, 2D Supervisor, MPC Film)

How has Bangalore changed in the last six years?

When I was here the first time, you could see that it was already a busy city, and that it was growing at an incredible pace. Now you can see the results of that growth. When you look around you see new bars, restaurants and places to go out everywhere. The socialising opportunities have grown so much in the space of five years.

If you had to describe Bangalore in one word, what would it be?

I would describe it as ‘bustling’. That goes for all the cities I’ve seen in India, but definitely Bangalore. The amount of activity you see everywhere and the energy of people going about their daily lives makes it an exciting place where there’s never a dull moment.

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

What I like about the Compositing HOD job is the challenge. Every day is a different day, different challenge – it’s a fairly non-stop job. Week to week it’s working out how to dive into a show that needs a bit of extra help or a show that is delivering and how to work out the most efficient way to help my team deliver.

Did you have any expectations about Bangalore before you moved?

Before I came to Bangalore I had some expectations because I’d been to India before, but I’d never lived and worked in a city in India. I didn’t know what daily life would be like here.

How has that changed during your time in the city?

I think in Bangalore what took me by surprise is that it’s a busy, noisy city but there are a lot of lovely, quiet spaces throughout. When you first get here you're surrounded by this organised chaos but once you know where to look there are a lot of quiet spaces to live, with parks and museums that have a calming atmosphere.

What's your favourite thing to do in Bangalore?

I love to go to Church street, which is well known for secondhand book shops – you can pick up old Isaac Asimov, Heinlein or Olaf Stapleton books, all these guys from the ‘60s and the ‘70s.

What interests you most about India?

There are so many things that fascinate me about India. Coming here from the UK, the religious part of people’s lives is so different to where I’m from. It seems to play a much bigger part in people’s lives than it does back home. There’s so much to discover about Hinduism with its many gods and temples that are visible everywhere when travelling around the country.

What do you like most about Indian cuisine?

My favourite Indian food are thalis, dosa, biryanis – people jokingly say in the UK that curry is our national dish. Even though it’s different here, they’re obviously very popular in the UK as well.

How does the culture at MPC Bangalore differ from other sites?

One of the things I noticed when I first arrived, which is still true today, is the passion that the guys have here. Because many of them haven’t had the chance to work on the kinds of films we do here at MPC, they don’t take working on huge Hollywood films for granted.

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had in India?

The memory that springs to mind immediately is when I was on a work trip with the comp team and my family. We went out of Bangalore to visit a waterfall, and I’ll always remember travelling with the team, going out on little saucer boats on the river under the waterfalls, and eating spicy fish.

Why would you recommend MPC in Bangalore?

If you’re coming to MPC, it’s all about the challenge and the opportunities. The nature of the shows that we tend to work on are the biggest VFX-heavy shows in the industry. You have that challenge on the creative and technical side and coming to Bangalore you’re going to get the experience of working with the biggest compositing team in the world. You’re not going to find that experience anywhere else. – 

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