Matthew Ross (filmmaker)

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Matthew Ross
MR Bio Photo.jpg
Ross in 2013
Matthew Ross

(1976-07-10) July 10, 1976 (age 46)
Other namesMatthew M. Ross
Occupation(s)film director, screenwriter, journalist, fiction writer
Years active1997–present
Notable workFrank & Lola

Matthew Ross is an American film director, screenwriter, journalist and fiction writer based in Brooklyn. He is best known for writing and directing Frank & Lola, which debuted at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival[1] and was later released by Universal Studios.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in New York City, Ross attended Harvard University, where he graduated Cum Laude with Honors with a degree in Visual and Environmental Studies, concentrating in filmmaking. His senior thesis film Here Comes Your Man earned Magna Cum Laude Plus honors and was selected for a number of international film festivals.[3] While in college, he was a four-year member of the Harvard Boxing Club.

Journalism career[edit]

Ross began his career as a film journalist. His first staff position of note was as a film reporter for Variety in 2000.[4] At the age of 25, he was hired as the senior editor of Indiewire, overseeing the site's editorial coverage as well as writing a regular industry column,[5] followed by a four-year stint as the managing editor of Filmmaker magazine. While at Filmmaker, Ross wrote many of the magazine's cover stories and major features, including profiles of directors Robert Altman, Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney, Todd Solondz, Alexander Payne, Richard Linklater, Robert Towne, Michel Gondry, among others. Ross eventually expanded his focus beyond film, writing pieces that ranged from feature profiles of MMA champions for FIGHT! magazine[6] to long-form investigative journalism for Playboy.[7] As a freelancer, his work has appeared in The Village Voice,[8] Nerve,[9] The Criterion Collection, and dozens of other publications.[10]

Film and television career[edit]

Ross began making films in college, including the festival shorts Here Comes Your Man,[11] A Hero's Welcome,[12] Curtis and Clover,[13] Lola,[14] and Red Angel.[15] Another short he made was Inspired By Bret Easton Ellis,[16] commissioned by Ellis and described by critic Roger Ebert as "one terrific video!".[17] He also directed, wrote and produced a nonfiction viral series about professional fighters, FIGHT! Life!, which logged over eight-million YouTube views as of 2019.[18]

After his first screenplay Plays Well with Others (co-written with Guy Cimbalo)[19] was optioned by the production company Anonymous Content, Ross moved to Los Angeles, where he wrote and rewrote scripts for a number of producers and production companies. He also worked as a story consultant on Curb Your Enthusiasm, including contributing plotlines to "Palestinian Chicken,"[20] winner of the 2011 DGA Award for "Best Comedy Episode". Vanity Fair called Palestinian Chicken the "crowning achievement in the entire series."[21]

Frank & Lola[edit]

While in Los Angeles, Ross began raising money, cast, and production support on another project, Frank & Lola,[22] which would eventually become his directorial debut. In 2014, backed by Parts and Labor Films' producers Jay Van Hoy and Lars Knudsen, Killer Films' Christine Vachon and David Hinojosa, producer John Baker, Preferred Content's Kevin Iwashina and Las Vegas-based production company Lola Pictures, the film began production, with Michael Shannon (Frank) and Imogen Poots (Lola) in the lead roles. The other major parts were played by Michael Nyqvist (Alan), Justin Long (Keith), Rosanna Arquette (Patricia), and Emmanuelle Devos (Claire). Financed by Great Point Media, Frank & Lola wrapped in March, 2015.[23]

On December 7, 2015, it was announced that Frank & Lola had been accepted to the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for its world premiere.[24] During the festival, after the film opened to overwhelmingly positive reviews,[25] Universal Studios secured its worldwide rights (with the exception of a few minor territories) for over $2 million, with a theatrical release planned for later that year.[26]

Ross and Frank & Lola were listed on a number of "best of" Sundance 2016 wrap-up stories, including articles in Indiewire (#3 on the list of "Top 25 Filmmakers and Actors That Broke Through at Sundance 2016"),[27] The Film Stage ("The 15 Best Films at Sundance 2016"),[28] and Ioncinema ("Best of Fest: Sundance 2016's Top 10 New Voices").[29]

The film was released theatrically and on VOD in the U.S. on December 9, 2016.[30]

Wu-Tang: An American Saga[edit]

In 2021, RZA and Alex Tse tapped Ross to direct Hulu's Wu-Tang: An American Saga, the origin story of hip-hop legends the Wu-Tang Clan, set in 1990s New York City. Ross returned the following year to direct two pivotal episodes in the show's final season.

Other work[edit]

Ross wrote for the hit ABC series Nashville (writing two episodes and serving as creative consultant for Season 5),[31] in addition to selling several pilots to major networks. He also directed the feature Siberia in 2018.[32]

Fiction writing[edit]

In September 2022, Neotext published JUNKMAN, Ross’s first book, a sci-fi novella collaboration with legendary comics artist Joe Staton.[33] A sequel is in the works.


Year Title Role
1997 A Hero's Welcome (short) Director, Editor, Writer
1998 Here Comes Your Man (short) Director, Editor, Writer, Cinematographer
2001 Curtis & Clover (short) Director, Writer, Producer
2006 Lola (short) Director, Writer
2006 Red Angel (short) Director, Writer (adapted from the play by Eric Bogosian)
2009-2010 FIGHT! Life (nonfiction viral series) Director, Writer, Producer
2010 Inspired By Bret Easton Ellis (short) Director, Writer, Cinematographer
2011 Curb Your Enthusiasm (TV series) Story Consultant
2016 Frank & Lola (feature film) Director, Writer
2017 Nashville (TV series) Writer (2 episodes), Creative Consultant (11 episodes)
2018 Siberia (feature film) Director
2021-23 Wu-Tang: An American Saga (TV series) Director (3 episodes)


  1. ^ "Sundance 2016 Announcement". Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  2. ^ "Sundance: Michael Shannon's 'Frank and Lola' Bought by Universal". Variety. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  3. ^ "Matthew Ross Bio on IMDb". Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  4. ^ "Matthew Ross - Variety articles". Variety. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  5. ^ "Matthew Ross – Indiewire columns". Behance. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
  6. ^ "Anderson Silva / FIGHT! Magazine". Behance. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
  7. ^ "Playboy - "Inside El Rodeo"". Playboy. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  8. ^ "The Village Voice - "Risky Business"". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  9. ^ ""Post-Apocalypse Now!"". Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  10. ^ "Matthew Ross Journalism Portfolio on Behance". Behance. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  11. ^ ""Here Comes Your Man",". IMDb. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  12. ^ "A Hero's Welcome". IMDb. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  13. ^ "Curtis and Clover". IMDb. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  14. ^ "Lola -- IMDb". Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  15. ^ "Red Angel". IMDb. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  16. ^ "Inspired By Bret Easton Ellis". IMDb. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  17. ^ "Roger Ebert". Twitter. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 'Inspired by Bret Easton Ellis,' by Matthew Ross. This is one terrific video!
  18. ^ "FIGHT! Life". YouTube. Retrieved February 5, 2015 – via YouTube.
  19. ^ "Hamptons Alum Share Script; NBC Deal for "Deadline"; Philly Fest Opens & More". Indiewire. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  20. ^ "Curb Your Enthusiasm - "Palestinian Chicken"". IMDb. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  21. ^ "Larry David Woefully "Regrets" His Broadway Debut in Fish in the Dark". Vanity Fair. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  22. ^ "Frank & Lola". IMDb. Retrieved February 5, 2015 – via YouTube.
  23. ^ "Berlin: Arclight Launches Robert Halmi-Backed 'Frank And Lola' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  24. ^ "Sundance Premieres Include Films From James Schamus, Spike Lee". Variety. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  25. ^ "The Guardian - 4-Star Review for Frank & Lola". The Guardian. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  26. ^ "Universal Lands 'Frank And Lola' For $2M+ – Sundance". Deadline. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  27. ^ "25 Filmmakers & Actors That Broke Through At The 2016 Sundance Film Festival"". IndieWire. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  28. ^ "The 15 Best Films at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival". The Film Stage. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  29. ^ "Best of Fest: Sundance 2016's Top 10 New Voices". Ioncinema. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  30. ^ Nolfi, Joey (October 20, 2016). "Michael Shannon falls for a femme fatale in smoldering Frank & Lola trailer — exclusive". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  31. ^ "Nashville IMDb page". IMDb.
  32. ^ "Saban Films Snaps Up North American Rights To Keanu Reeves Crime Thriller 'Siberia' – Cannes". Deadline.
  33. ^ "Amazon's Junkman page". Amazon. Retrieved September 6, 2022.

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