Matthew Heineman

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Award-Winning Director


Matthew Heineman: Biography at a Glance

  • Matthew Heineman is an Academy Award-nominated, nine-time Emmy Award-winning, and two-time DGA Award-winning filmmaker, renowned for his work in both documentary and narrative filmmaking.
  • In his profound documentary, American Symphony, Heineman profiles the multifaceted artist Jon Batiste - exploring complex themes through the multifacted artist's journey. From Batiste's Oscar victory and groundbreaking symphony for Carnegie Hall, to his partner Suleika Jaouad's personal battle with leukemia, Heineman's work skillfully intertwines the highs of success and depth of personal resilience, culminating in an Academy Award nomination, a BAFTA nomination, a PGA nomination, and 2 Critics' Choice Awards. 
  • Heineman directed Cartel Land, acclaimed with an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature, three Emmy Awards, and a DGA Award, showcasing his exceptional storytelling and cinematographic skills.
  • At the Sundance Film Festival, he was honored with the Best Director Award and Special Jury Prize for Cinematography for his work on Cartel Land, highlighting his distinguished directorial vision and cinematography expertise.
  • Beyond Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, Heineman's expansive portfolio includes directing and producing The First Wave, shortlisted for an Academy Award and winner of three Emmy Awards, including Best Documentary, and Retrograde, also shortlisted for an Academy Award®, demonstrating his commitment to impactful storytelling across a range of critical issues.
  • His contributions extend to the Emmy-winning docuseries The Trade, and he has directed HBO’s Emmy Award-winning Tiger and The Boy from Medellin, further establishing his versatility and acclaim in the film industry.



Matthew Heineman is an Academy Award®-nominated, nine-time Emmy Award-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 an Academy Award, BAFTA, and PGA nomination and also won 2 Critics' Choice Awards.  Heineman previously directed and produced RETROGRADE which was shortlisted for an Academy Award®, and was nominated for six Emmy® awards as well as a 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 Award-winning TIGER and THE BOY FROM MEDELLIN.

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