PHOTO: JON MATTHEWS DIRECTING WHOOPI GOLDBERG (CREDIT: KRISTINA KLEBE 2015)
ALL ABOUT JON MATTHEWS
Jon grew up in rural West Virginia. He practiced civil rights law for seven years and was legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut, before deciding to follow his dream of becoming a filmmaker. In 2009, Jon was accepted—with a full-tuition scholarship—to NYU’s graduate film program. At NYU, Jon worked as Spike Lee’s teaching assistant. Mr. Lee awarded a production grant to Jon for his film, SURVIVING CLIFFSIDE, which premiered at the 2014 South by Southwest Film Festival and was licensed by the Sundance Channel. Jon’s next film, a narrative feature called BLACK DOG, RED DOG was co-directed by James Franco and stars Mr. Franco, Olivia Wilde, and Oscar-winner Whoopi Goldberg. It premiered in 2015. Jon’s next feature was KHALI THE KILLER a crime drama that he wrote and directed. This film was produced by Millennium and was released by Sony in 2018. Also in 2018 Jon co-produced HILLBILLY a documentary about the perception of Appalachia. This film won the jury prize at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was long-listed for Academy Award consideration. Outside of filmmaking, Jon started the non-profit Appalachian Arts Academy to help fight the opioid epidemic through arts education and co-founded the Appalachian Queer Film Festival, which was featured in IndieWire and Huffington Post and in 2017 Jon was named one of Vice’s “50 Activists Fighting for LGBTQ Rights in 50 States.” Jon is currently directing and producing segments for SESAME STREET, including Big Bird's Road Trip and Cookie Monster's Foodie Truck. Jon is also on the festival circuit with his short film, ANG MOTEL, which has screened at over 50 festivals, including HollyShorts, the L.A. Asian Film Festival, and TallGrass. The film has received numerous nominations and awards, including multiple Best Short Film and Best Director awards.