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MATTHIJS VAN HEIJNINGEN (Directed by) is the son of a prominent Dutch movie producer and spent his teenage years taking photographs and working on his father's films in every capacity, from building sets and lighting scenes to editing stories. When he emerged as a filmmaker and storyteller in his own right, no one was the least bit surprised. From the short films he made while in law school to some of the most ambitious, high-profile projects in global advertising, his unique chemistry of ironic comedy, solid narrative and a beautiful cinematic aesthetic sets his work apart.

Since 1999, van Heijningen has become one of the most acclaimed and decorated commercial directors in Europe, winning more than his share of coveted Cannes Lions and countless other festival honors and awards. His work for clients like Toyota, Peugeot, Renault, Stella Artois, Pepsi, Heineken and Visa, not to mention his recent stunner "The Closet” for Canal+, have all reinforced van Heijningen's passion for bringing multidimensional, winningly human characters to the short-form context.

In 2006, van Heijningen moved to Los Angeles, where his talents quickly caught the attention of Zack Snyder, another filmmaker with roots in the commercial world. Soon after, van Heijningen signed on to direct Army of the Dead, an action/horror/ adventure set in a zombie-infested Las Vegas, based on an original story by Snyder. Van Heijningen guided the project through development and preproduction, though Army of the Dead was eventually put on hold.

Moving forward from this false start, van Heijningen seized the opportunity to connect with Strike Entertainment's Marc Abraham and Eric Newman, the producers behind Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead. In the midst of developing a version of The Thing for Universal Pictures, Strike found the perfect creative partner in van Heijningen, who brings a fresh and inspired attitude to the project, as well as a deep knowledge and appreciation of the 1982 film.


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