Matthew K. Firpo

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Matthew K. Firpo
Matthew K. Firpo on location in 2016.
Matthew Kazuo Firpo

San Francisco, California
Alma materNYU Tisch School of the Arts
OccupationDirector, screenwriter, photographer

Matthew Kazuo Firpo is an American film director, screenwriter, and photographer. He was a founding partner of the creative firm Magna Carta, and was named one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2016.[1] His debut documentary Refuge won Best Documentary at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and has played over 40 festivals worldwide including SXSW and CamerImage.[2][3]

He is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

Early life[edit]

Firpo was born and raised in San Francisco, California, the youngest son of artists Claudia Katayanagi and Patrick Firpo, and brother of creative director Danny Firpo.[4] He attended Sir Francis Drake High School in Marin County, where much of his early work was filmed. He then attended New York University, graduating with honors from the Tisch School of the Arts majoring in Film & Television and Classical Studies.[5]


Firpo works internationally as a director and documentary photographer, his commercial projects includes spots for Snapchat, Chase, Tinder, and Sony Music.[6] His commercial work has generated hundreds of millions of views online and played the Super Bowl. In 2016, Firpo won Best Director at the AdWeek Watch Awards.[7][8]

As a photographer, he's shot editorials and magazine covers around the world, working in documentary photography, high fashion, and portraiture.[9] He is a frequent contributor to SUITCASE Magazine.[10] He's worked in six continents, leading photographic expeditions in the Swiss Alps, Rajasthan, India, and to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.[11]

In 2016, Firpo created The Refuge Project, a multimedia chronicle of human stories from the Syrian Refugee Crisis. He spent a month in Greece leading a small team of volunteer artists documenting individual stories from the crisis.[12][13] The film premiered at SXSW, and won Best Documentary at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. He has since worked with UNICEF to create an original documentary series highlighting local programs from around the world, telling stories from the frontlines in Chiapas, Mexico and Kingston, Jamaica.[14]

His thesis film at NYU, Child's Play, starred Tony Award-winner David Alvarez in his screen debut, and won Best Screenplay at the BHFF.[15] Firpo has written five feature films, and is the winner of the 2017 Black List, Hit List, and Blood List, as well as a two-time Semi-Finalist in The Academy Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship.[16] He collaborates frequently with his cousin and fellow filmmaker Ryan Firpo on feature projects. The pair works as a writing and producing team.[17]

In 2017, it was announced that Gal Gadot would star in the Firpos' post-war drama Ruin, with Justin Kurzel attached to direct.[18] Their second feature, the near-future thriller Mimi From Rio, is currently set up at Netflix with Ridley Scott producing.[19] Firpo is represented worldwide as a writer-director by the United Talent Agency, RSA Films, and LBI Entertainment. Firpo's debut feature is currently in development, slated to shoot in 2019.

In May 2018, it was announced that the Firpos were hired by Marvel Studios to write a film based on the Eternals.[20]


  • Refuge (2017) - director, producer
  • Ruin (2019) - writer, executive producer
  • Mimi from Rio (2019) - writer
  • The Motor City Girls (TBA) - writer, director
  • The Eternals (2020) - writer


  1. ^ Rooney, Jennifer. "Matthew K. Firpo, 25, Maximilian Guen, 23 - pg.12". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  2. ^ Ahern, Sarah (2017-02-11). "Santa Barbara Film Festival Announces 2017 Award Winners". Variety. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  3. ^ "REFUGE | SXSW 2017 Schedule". Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  4. ^ "Barneville-Carteret : un réalisateur américain sublime la station balnéaire" (in French). Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  5. ^ "Alum Named to Forbes 30 Under 30, LS | NYU". Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  6. ^ "Matthew K. Firpo - Magna Carta". Magna Carta. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  7. ^ "Check Out 9 of the Year's Best Written, Directed and Produced Videos". Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  8. ^ "Ad of the Day: Tinder Plus Takes a Girl on Wild Adventures in Love, Sex and Travel". Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  9. ^ "Suki Waterhouse and Poppy Jamie frolic while filming in the Californian desert". The Sun. 2016-09-22. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  10. ^ Magazine, SUITCASE. "Desert Mirage: Suki Waterhouse & Poppy Jamie | SUITCASE Magazine". SUITCASE Magazine. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  11. ^ Matthew K. Firpo - Director (2017-04-08), The High Routes | Home Movies Ep. VII.XV, retrieved 2017-05-14
  12. ^ Frej, Willa (2016-05-26). "Refugees Passing Through Greece Share Their Tragedies In Heartwrenching Film". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  13. ^ "Filmmakers Travel From NYC to Greece, Uncovering The Human Side of The Refugee Crisis". Global Citizen. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  14. ^ "In Jamaica, Local Heroes Help Kids Build Safer Futures". UNICEF USA. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  15. ^ "13th Annual Beverly Hills Film Festival Announces Award Winners at Gala Awards Ceremony - Fest Expands to Japan | Splash Magazines | Los Angeles". Splash Magazines | Los Angeles. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  16. ^ Hipes, Patrick (2017-12-11). "The Black List 2017 Screenplays: Post-WWII Tale 'Ruin' Is No. 1 – Full Rankings". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  17. ^ "Justin Kurzel Attached to Direct Hot Spec "Ruin," Which Has Multiple Studio Offers (Exclusive)". The Tracking Board. 2017-03-31. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  18. ^ McNary, Dave (2017-10-11). "Gal Gadot in Talks for Post-World War II Revenge Thriller 'Ruin'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-10-12.
  19. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (2017-12-05). "Netflix Wins Sci-Fi Spec Script 'Mimi From Rio'". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  20. ^ Kit, Borys (May 15, 2018). "Marvel Sets Black List Writers for 'Eternals' Movie (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 20, 2018.

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