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Matthew A. Cherry

Matthew A. Cherry

American film director
Matthew A. Cherry
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American film director
A.K.A. Matthew Alexander Cherry
Is Film director Film producer Screenwriter American football player
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio Sports
Gender male
Birth 14 December 1981, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Age 39 years
Star sign Sagittarius
University of Akron
Sports Teams
Baltimore Ravens
The details (from wikipedia)


Matthew A. Cherry (born December 13, 1981) is an American film director, writer, producer, and former American football player. He wrote and directed two independent films, The Last Fall (2012), and 9 Rides (2016), and is currently an executive at Monkeypaw Productions. He is best known for the 2019 Academy Award winning animated short film, Hair Love, which was picked up by Sony Pictures Animation in March 2019 for distribution. The Kickstarter campaign for Hair Love raised over $200,000 and broke the record for the highest amount raised for any short film on the platform.

Early life and education

Cherry was born and raised in Chicago. He graduated from Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL. He attended the University of Akron, where he played on the football team and earned a bachelor's degree in media.

Cherry played college football for four seasons with the Akron Zips under head coach Lee Owens and was a second-team All-Mid-American Conference wide receiver. He finished his career as the all-time leading receiver in school history and ended his senior season with records for total receptions, yards, touchdowns, punt return yards and punt return touchdowns.

Professional football career

Cherry signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent following the 2004 NFL Draft. He was waived during final roster cuts on August 29, 2004, and re-signed to the team's practice squad on September 6. The Cincinnati Bengals signed him off of the Jaguars' practice squad to their active roster on December 29, 2004, before the final game of the season.

Cherry was waived by the Bengals during final roster cuts on August 29, 2005. He worked out for the Ottawa Renegades of the Canadian Football League on September 9, 2005, but left the team by September 21 without having played in a game, as he felt the team was too disorganized. The Renegades franchise folded shortly after due to financial instability.

Cherry signed with the Carolina Panthers in 2006, and was allocated to the Hamburg Sea Devils of NFL Europe. He was waived by Hamburg during final roster cuts on March 5, 2006. He returned to the Panthers, but was waived on May 30, 2006. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens on August 3, 2006. He was placed on injured reserve on August 30, 2006, and missed the entire season.

Film career

Cherry retired from football in 2007 to pursue a film career. After initially working as a production assistant he began directing music videos. He directed the video for gospel song "Say Yes" by singer Michelle Williams.

Cherry wrote and directed his first film, The Last Fall, in 2012. The film stars Lance Gross and Nicole Beharie. The film, which premiered at SXSW, received average critical reviews. Peter Deburge of Variety described The Last Fall as a "tepid daytime-TV melodrama." Gary Goldstein wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "this is an involving, sympathetic film unafraid to wear its sizable heart on its sleeve." It won Best Screenplay at the American Black Film Festival.

His second film, 9 Rides, was shot entirely on an iPhone 6s, which may be the first feature film shot using the device. Starring Dorian Missick, it premiered at SXSW in 2016. Tom Harrington of The Daily Dot called it "a taut, attractive piece of work." Shannon M. Houston reviewed the film for Paste and wrote, "9 Rides is proof that Cherry is a storyteller who can do quite a bit with a modest budget (this is the first film shot on an iPhone 6s) and a simple premise."

Hair Love

In 2017, Cherry created a Kickstarter campaign for a short animated film called Hair Love. The film is about an African American dad who is attempting to style his young daughter Zuri's hair for the first time. The campaign surpassed its initial goal of $75,000 and raised over $300,000. According to Kickstarter, that exceeds the amount raised by any other short film project on the platform. He co-directed the film with Everett Downing and Bruce W. Smith, with Peter Ramsey and Pixar animator Frank Abney serving as executive producers. On March 20, 2019, Sony Pictures Animation announced that they had picked up Hair Love, which was slated to be released to audiences later in the year. The six-minute film was also adapted into a children's book by Kokila Books, written by Cherry and illustrated by artist Vashti Harrison, which was released on May 14, 2019. The book was on the New York Times Book Review Children's Best Sellers list. The film was shown in theaters alongside The Angry Birds Movie 2 on August 14, 2019, and was later uploaded to YouTube four months later on December 5. The film won him the 2020 Academy Award for Best Animated Short.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 01 Jul 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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