“If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.” – Lewis Wickes Hine
Matthew Cassel is a documentary filmmaker and multimedia journalist based in the Mediterranean region. In a career spanning more than 15 years, he has documented stories of people facing conflict and persecution in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and beyond. He works mainly as a one-person video crew, filming, producing and editing short and long-form documentary content for various publications. Cassel has been at the forefront of the media's pivot to web-based video production, and nearly all of his work is created exclusively for online publishing.
In 2019, his five-part series, "The Missing," made in partnership with International Committee of the Red Cross and NBC Left Field, tells the stories of five different migrants who disappeared after leaving home in search of a better life abroad. Cassel’s 2016 six-part series, “The Journey,” commissioned by Field of Vision and The New Yorker, follows a Syrian family separated by war as they try to reunite in Europe. The series won film of the year at the UN’s Global Migration Festival in 2017. Cassel’s film for Al Jazeera English, “Identity and Exile: an American’s struggle with Zionism,” focuses on his personal journey from his hometown Chicago to the Middle East, where he lived for more than a decade. It won 2013 News Documentary of the year at the Monte Carlo TV Festival.
From 2011-2014, Cassel was a journalist at Al Jazeera English in Doha, Qatar, in 2014 he moved to Istanbul where he helped launch AJ+, a new digital project within the Al Jazeera network. Cassel is co-editor of Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution: Voices from Tunis to Damascus (Penguin, 2013), a collection of essays on the 2011 uprisings by writers from across the Arab world and received a PEN Award.
From 2007-2011, Cassel lived in Beirut, Lebanon where he was a freelance journalist and photographer, he also was the assistant editor of the online publication The Electronic Intifada. In 2006, he co-founded Picture Balata, a media school for youth from Balata refugee camp in the West Bank. He interned with VII photo agency in Paris in 2005 and was one of 100 emerging photographers selected to attend the Eddie Adams Workshop in 2006.
In addition to his native English, Cassel is also fluent in Arabic. His work has been published by Al Jazeera English, AJ+, The New Yorker, BBC, VICE, The New York Times, Arte, The Guardian, NBC News and others.
I'm always happy to hear from people with ideas for stories, collaborative projects, or who want to offer feedback about any of my work. Please feel free to get in touch:
APR 2019: I discussed "The Missing" and media coverage of the refugee crisis on AJE's The Listening Post watch it here.
MAR 2019: My series "The Missing" is published on NBC Left Field
NOV 2018: I launched a newly redesigned matthewcassel.com. It's still very much a work in progress, if you notice any issues or glaring typos please do let me know.
OCT 2018: After nearly two years (!) production is complete on a nearly two-year long film on Syrians trapped in Greece. I'm looking for a home for the project, if you're interested in getting involved please get in touch.