Matt Duhamel was a weather anchor on KUTV and a late-night talk show personality on KPNZ, but was charged in 2007 of three sex offenses relating to child pornography.
He operated a website depicting young girls, mainly nine and 10 years old, “modeling” in suggestive clothing and positions. Charging documents state that one photo depicted a nine year-old in black stiletto pumps, a black lace thong, black bra and jacket sitting on a dining room table.
Duhamel was incarcerated until January 2012.“I got involved in something I shouldn’t have,” he said. “I I know what I did was wrong, and now I want to change things around. “When people hear I have a sex offense, they run,” he said. “They are scared, they are fearful and they don’t know what to say or do. I think we need to start opening up that conversation.”
Today Duhamel is trying to make inroads back into media as a documentary filmmaker. His story demonstrates the difficulty of child sex offenders reentering society in a somewhat “normal” manner. Duhmel was attracted to producing a film about the city of Spring City. But can “society” forgive him?
Spring City, Utah might be just a small blip on a map, but the 25-minute documentary by Metamora Films, “Life Under the Horseshoe,” paints a vivid picture of small-town country living that makes you nostalgic for simpler times and places.
The short documentary is about a live radio show, called “Life Under the Horseshoe,” performed every Saturday through the spring and summer in front of a live studio audience. The radio show dramatizes the history and lives of former town members.
“I saw an article about the live radio show in the news,” said documentary creator and director Matt Duhamel. “I started in radio so I really connected with the idea. Once I was there and started meeting the people, I just came to really appreciate the small town-life and the people running this production on a very, very limited budget. I don’t think a lot of people in the United States are doing a live stage radio show.”
Duhamel said he’s always wanted to do documentaries, so with his wife’s and probation officer’s support, he began his production company, Metamora Films.
“The mission for my film company is to transform hearts and minds through film, either through education or just having people think about things,” he said.
Duhamel added that he wants to make films that help others, but when people hear he has a sex-offense, they don’t want to talk to him or be in his films.
“And I don’t get hired for video production jobs,” he said. “I just got rejected this morning for a Sundance project. So it’s a constant struggle that I get rejected and I’m hitting a wall. But I have an inner drive that this is my mission in life. I’m not doing this to say, ‘Hey, look at me. I’m a good person.’ I think it goes back to, you to give people second chances.”
Duhamel’s first film, released in 2013, “What Make’s Me Tic?” about living with Tourette’s Syndrome won several online awards and was picked up by an educational distributor.
The following year, he made “Last Day With Lizzie” about his estranged daughter, which also won several online awards, was an official selection of the Logan Film Festival and was featured in the 2014 Park City Showcase.
In 2015, he explored his own story, as well as that of others, in “The Forgiveness Journey.” It debuted at Salt Lake City’s Broadway Centre Cinemas, with more than 125 people attending.
“‘Life Under the Horseshoe’ is a little bit different than what we’ve done in the past,” Duhamel said. “It’s about Spring City and the live radio show but it goes a little deeper, kind of like my past. I do films I can personally relate to.”
The documentary takes us on a journey to the heart of Sanpete County, where we learn about the town and its history through the eyes of “Life Under the Horseshoe” live radio hosts, Mark and Vickie Allen.
“Knowing the history of both of our families and the legacy they left us is really a great thing,” Vickie said in a documentary interview. “Knowing who they were helps us to find out who we are.”
For more information on “Life Under the Horseshoe” and Metamora Films, visit www.metamorafilms.com