“If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.” – Lewis Wickes Hine
Matthew Cassel is an independent documentary filmmaker and multimedia journalist based in the Mediterranean region. In a career spanning 20 years, he has documented stories of people facing conflict and persecution in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and beyond. Until 2023, he was an on-air correspondent for VICE News reporting on the world's biggest stories in VICE's unique news-documentary format. Prior to that he worked primarily 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 journalism industry's pivot to web-based video production using the latest tools and platforms to reach new audiences. Most of his work has been created exclusively for online publishing.
Since 2020 he has reported for VICE News on the start of Russia's war on Ukraine, Lebanon's economic crisis, unprecedented protests against Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus, Armenia's war with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, Covid wards stretched to their limit in Europe, and more than a dozen other countries. In 2021, he was part of the VICE News Tonight team that won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Newscast, and his reporting from Armenia during the war with Azerbaijan was nominated for an Emmy.
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. For his work on the series he was nominated for a Rory Peck award.
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,” 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. 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 VICE News, Al Jazeera English, AJ+, The New Yorker, BBC, The New York Times, Arte, The Guardian, NBC News and numerous other outlets.
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: