Matthew Heineman

D i r e c t o r / C i n e m a t o g r a p h e r

Matthew Heineman

Matthew Heineman is an Academy Award®-nominated, nine-time Emmy®-winning, and two-time DGA Award winning-filmmaker. In 2019, he received a nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First Time Feature Film Director from the Directors Guild of America for his narrative debut, A Private War —making Heineman and Martin Scorsese the only filmmakers ever nominated for both narrative and documentary DGA Awards. Heineman most recently directed American Symphony, which earned Academy Award® and BAFTA nominations and won a PGA and two Critics' Choice Awards.


Heineman previously directed and produced Retrograde which was shortlisted for an Academy Award®, won three Emmy® awards, and was nominated for DGA and PGA Award. It also received a Producing Award from DOC NYC, and was honored with the Edward R. Murrow Award for Feature Documentary. His previous film, The First Wave was also shortlisted for an Academy Award® and won three Emmy® awards, including Best Documentary. Heineman previously directed Cartel Land, which was nominated for an Academy Award® and won three Emmy® awards and a DGA Award; City of Ghosts, for which he won a DGA Award; and two seasons of the Emmy®-winning docuseries The Trade. He also directed HBO’s Emmy®-winning Tiger The Boy From Medellin.

Testimonial Quote

“When I was 21 years old, I heard documentarian Albert Maysles give a talk that would shape my view on filmmaking. He said, ‘If you end up with the film you started with, then you weren't listening along the way.’ Be open to the story changing. Don't be dogmatic. And this is something that I've held very close to my heart both in a macro sense (the films I choose to take on and how I find my way to them) and in a micro sense (within each shoot, shoot day, scene, lens change). Look around the frame at all times! I love embracing this type of unpredictability and adaptation inherent in making verité films. By doing so, my goal always is to try to humanize stories that often seem so far away or are relegated to stats or headlines.”


- Matthew Heineman

Matthew's Top Gear Picks

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
Canon RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM
Canon Cinema EOS C500 Mark II
Canon RF24-70mm F2.8L IS USM
Canon RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM


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