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Matt Heineman ‘05 Is Back

Hard on the heels of Matt Heineman ‘05’s Oscar-nominated documentary Cartel Land (2015), he’s back with another work that is garnering a lot of attention: City of Ghosts. From its trailer blurb:

City of Ghosts follows the journey of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” - a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014… This is the story of a brave group of citizen journalists as they face the realities of life undercover, on the run, and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today.

Matt clearly does not flinch when the bullets fly:

Here’s what we wrote about Matt in February 2016:

At the College, Matt was a history major and a recruited lacrosse player. He appeared in 47 games over four seasons,. He had wanted to teach, but Teach For America did not want him, so he and three friends embarked on a 90-day cross country trip. Matt had never picked up a video camera nor taken a film class until that point in his life, but the group visited 48 states and interviewed dozens of millennials in an effort that resulted in his first film Our Time, which he finished while working as an assistant editor for NBC Sports. Matt then offered the film to HBO, which didn’t like it enough to buy it, but admired it sufficiently to offer Matt a job. He worked for two years under director Susan Froemke and producer John Hoffman on The Alzheimer’s Project, learning his craft in the process. His next project was Escape Fire, The Fight To Rescue American Healthcare (2012), an Emmy-nominated documentary about America’s broken, costly healthcare system. He followed up with Cartel Land…

What a fine example Matt is of a liberally educated person: he graduated with no film-making skills, but he obviously knew how to learn, and when his time in Hanover ended, his education in the cinema began. Of course, the knowledge that he needs to make documentaries is a great deal broader than manipulating a camera: it includes thoroughly studying a situation, earning the trust of subjects, developing and telling a story in words and images, and organizing the entire project as a business enterprise. Such abilities come from a deeper and broader education than can be obtained in film school.

Quite a guy.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Nice piece on Matt Heineman. You might also want to add that he belongs to one of the Hanlon-despised fraternities, Theta Delta Chi.


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