Aaron Matthews is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose films have appeared on national and international television and in numerous film festivals around the world.
His work is known for its engaging and intimate style, challenging viewers to see what they have in common with overlooked or unexpected subjects.
His documentary, THE PAPER, goes behind the scenes at a university newspaper embroiled in controversy, following America’s future journalists as they confront the pressures and problems of working in media today. This “fascinating” film “provides insight into the problems facing all news organizations,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, and was a New York Times Pick of the Week. It received a Cine Golden Eagle Award, and was broadcast nationwide on PBS’s Independent Lens Series.
In A PANTHER IN AFRICA, Matthews explores the legacy of the 1960s through the eyes of former Black Panther and American exile, Pete O’Neal. The film, hailed by critics as “elegant,” “unique,” and “intimate,” screened at over 35 film festivals worldwide and was nationally broadcast on PBS’s P.O.V. series. It received a Cine Golden Eagle Award, won Best Documentary at the St. Louis International Film Festival, and is now showing nationwide on PBS’s Global Voices series.
Matthews made his feature documentary debut with the highly acclaimed MY AMERICAN GIRLS, which captures the joys and struggles of one Dominican family’s immigrant experiences in Brooklyn. The film, “packed with uncommon honesty and humor,” according to the Los Angeles Times, was also nationally broadcast on P.O.V. and was selected for encore P.O.V. broadcasts. It won Best Documentary at the San Francisco International Latino Film Festival, aired throughout Europe and Latin America, screened on the DiscoveryTimes Channel, and is now being broadcast nationwide on PBS’s True Lives series.
Matthews’s latest short film, DOWNTOWN DREAM, follows five people in a rustbelt town struggling to reinvent their lives and their dreams. The film is currently broadcasting on select PBS stations, and is distributed by Icarus Films. Additional shorts include OW HOUTS & SONS, INC., a lyrical account of a general store’s final business day, TOKEN EXCHANGE, about the price one man pays to avoid the Vietnam war, TADDO, a humorous and touching portrait of the oldest barber in Brooklyn, and THE ART OF THE MOMENT, an inside look at three professional New York City improvisers.
Matthews has been a Sundance Fellow and has received grants from The Sundance Institute, The Independent Television Service (ITVS), The Jerome Foundation, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Latino Public Broadcasting Company, and The Brooklyn Arts Council.
In addition to his film work, Matthews is the founder of Look Alive Films, which produces television documentaries, and commercial and short form pieces for clients including Discovery, History, PBS, The Sundance Channel, Disney, Warner Bros., and various non-profit organizations.
Matthews grew up and lives in Brooklyn. He graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in English literature.