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Matthaeus Szumanski
Matthaeus Szumanski was born in Denmark into a family of Polish émigrés. In 1982, his family relocated to the United States, settling in the Appalachian foothills of southwest Virginia. Matthaeus studied studio art and comparative literature as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, where he was also active in theater and performance art, and where he for three years drew a daily comic stric called “In the Penal Colony” which was named “Best Comic Strip” by a competing newspaper. His senior gallery show consisted of week-long performance-art piece called "Piatek" about the disintegrating mind of a prisoner within an isolation cell in Auschwitz and the imaginary friend he creates to recount his life to. Upon graduation, Mattheaus moved to Los Angeles to enroll in UCLA’s Master’s program in Film and Television Directing. He wrote and directed several short experimental and narrative films while at UCLA before graduating with the thesis film Jornada del Muerto, about the psychological struggles of an atomic bomb scientist during World War II. The film won an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Prize, an Edie and Lew Wasserman Filmmaking Award, and a Carroll Sax Directing Scolarship. Jornada del Muerto won the “Best Cinematography” prize at UCLA Film Festival and has since screened at film festivals across the United States, as well as in Europe and Asia. Mattheaus currently lives in Los Angeles, where he makes films and works as a freelance editor and instructor of digital cinema and video production at the Art Institute of California, Los Angeles. His feature film screenplay, The House of Woman was a top ten finalist in the 2004 Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest. Matthaeus Szumanski was awarded a Production grant at UCLA in 1997 for Jornada del Muerto