The New Hampshire Film Festival (NHFF) presented Matt Renner with the Van McLeod Award on Thursday. Renner is vice president of production for National Geographic Partners and an executive producer of Free Solo and The Cave. The event was part of New Hampshire Day, which shines a spotlight on NH creative types and their artistic endeavors and kicks off the festival that continues through Sunday.
The Van McLeod Award, given annually to NH natives and residents who have contributed to film and television, is named after the late commissioner of the the state's Department of Cultural Resources. He who was a passionate, lifelong advocate of the arts. Past recipients of the award have included Ken Burns, Ernest Thompson, Mike O’Malley, Lisa Muscat, Paul Lazarus, and Gordon Clapp.
Renner, a multi-Emmy award-winning producer (Deadliest Catch, LA 92) oversees a large portion of National Geographic’s television production slate including One Strange Rock 2, Brain Games and a Disney+ production, The World According to Jeff Goldblum.
A native of Durham, Renner has also been an executive producer of several documentaries, which include the 2018 Academy Award, BAFTA, and Emmy-winning documentary Free Solo, which profiled rock climber Alex Honnold’s death-defying ascent of El Capitan. Prior to his work with National Geographic, Renner founded Undertow Films, which produced successful series for AMC, History Channel, and Discovery Channel. He also is noted as a driving force behind the popular series Deadliest Catch.
Renner’s latest production endeavor The Cave, directed by Oscar nominee Feras Fayyad, follows the valiant efforts of Amani Ballour and her makeshift underground hospital as the Syrian Civil War rages on.