Audi | Escape Matthijs van Heijningen
Monster | Opportunity roars Matthijs van Heijningen
Samsung | Ostrich Matthijs van Heijningen
Delta Lloyd | Parade Matthijs van Heijningen
Peugeot | The Sculptor Matthijs van Heijningen
Canal Plus | The Closet Matthijs van Heijningen
Matthijs van Heijningen (1965) was born in Amsterdam. As the son of a legendary Dutch film producer Matthijs was basically raised on film sets. He learned all there is to learn about camera and lighting, set building and editing. No wonder he let go of the initial intentions to study Dutch Law, to chase the real dream: develop feature films. Development and funding however, turned out to be a boring business and Matthijs started flirting with commercials where everything seemed possible and with way more money to spend.
Inspired by Rene Eller’s spots (and how Alan Parker used commercials to break into features) he turned a different path and rang Czar films doorbell. There he met Saskia who became his producer. Working with her was the missing link he needed to take things further. They turned every production into the best possible film, big plans grew by the day and that strong ambition lead up to the foundation of Bonkers in 1999.
Back then it was pretty bonkers, leaving Czar and assuming they could do at least as well on their own.Their ballsiness paid off though. The very next year, Matthijs won Silver and Gold Lions at Cannes for Delta Lloyd’s ‘Parade’ and UN’s ‘100 people’. More glory followed for Centraal Beheer, Heineken, Pepsi, Adidas, VW to name a few among many others. After the crazy global response to Peugeot ‘The Sculptor’ in 2004, Matthijs joined MJZ, with the exception of NL, obviously.
In 2006 Matthijs moved to LA and his first Hollywood feature, a prequel to John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ for Universal Pictures, came out in 2011, starring Joel Edgerton and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Although he received international critical acclaim, it did not make him lose his love for making commercials. In early 2012, he took the helm for Audi's Super Bowl ad and Canal+ ‘The Bear’ nabbed him his first Cannes’s Grand Prix for Film Craft. Matthijs continued to direct highly praised and award-winning work, being among the world's top directors. His most recent remarkable accomplishment has been ‘The Forgotten Battle’ another impressive feature, produced amid the challenges of the pandemic. In 2022 the film became a global number one hit on Netflix.
We could continue forever and fill the entire website with Matthijs' legacy of the past decades. However, one thing is certain: whether it's guiding an ostrich on its quest to fly, or capturing true events of World War II, Matthijs possesses the unique ability to take a script, develop its characters and mine it for truth and often so, humor. He is a true collaborator, approaching each project with dedication, transforming an ordinary individual, human or creature, into enduring heroes.
Matthijs currently lives in Amsterdam. One of the best directors in the world, living happily among the canals. What a trip. And Matthijs isn’t even tired.