Writer and Director Heath C. Michaels attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1999 and received a BFA in film direction. His first feature film, Yeardley (2010), premiered at the Santa Fe Film Festival where it was nominated for best feature. It also won best feature at the Malibu International Film Festival, best feature and actor at MBIFF, and gained worldwide distribution with DPEC Studios. In 2016, he became a semifinalist in the Academy Nicholl Fellowship, and top five finalist in Final Draft’s Big Break contest, with his feature-length screenplay, Breathe.
In 2018, Michaels wrote & directed the award-winning short, The World Over, which took top prize at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. In 2019, Michaels optioned a short film script with Fox for their “Bite Size Horror”, and subsequently directed one of his un-optioned pitches, Reflection, in 2020 starring Bianca Bradey from the cult hit Wyrmwood (2014). Reflection is currently enjoying a tour in the international festival circuit.
Heath C. Michaels was born in Durham, N.C., and grew up in a small, idyllic town nearby. He joined the U.S. Navy during the first Gulf War, and graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 1999 with classmates Danny McBride and Jody Hill.
Michaels moved to Los Angeles where he straddled the fence between film and tech, landing his first job with Sony Pictures Television’s series Battle Dome, and shortly thereafter at Jan de Bont’s Blue Tulip Productions while they were producing Equilibrium (2002) starring Christian Bale.
In 2001, Michaels shifted focus to advertising and emerging tech, developing projects for Nissan USA, Infiniti USA, Mercedes-Benz, Walt Disney Travel Company, etc. Michaels won a Communication Arts award for his video direction for the Nissan Altima Launch CD-Rom (2002), and a Belding Bowl for Nissan’s 350z The Run DVD (2003).
During the late 2000s, Michaels found success developing movie sites and web games for the major studios, including Walt Disney, Warner Bros. and Sony. In 2007, he opened a media company, Verve 8 Media, which he sold to his business partner when he left to direct his first feature film, Yeardley (2010).
During the early 2010s, Michaels would develop many pitches and writing projects for various film companies around Los Angeles, including a family thriller for R. L. Stine. In 2016, he became a semifinalist in the Academy Nicholl Fellowship, as well as a top five finalist in Final Draft’s Big Break contest, with his feature-length screenplay, Breathe. Michaels parlayed his writing successes into his directing work, making the short films The World Over and Reflection. In late 2019, he sold a pitch to Fox Studios. In 2020, he directed a music video for pop band Only Bricks.
Throughout his career, concurrent with his film projects, Michaels also created an online social media site, Hereshot, and several games on Steam, including an irreverent shoot ’em up style retro racing game called Night Jackal, which he’s currently adapting into a comic book series.
Heath C. Michaels was born in Durham, NC, the youngest son of Gary and Sandi Michaels. In school, his undiagnosed dyslexia went untreated as a reading comprehension issue, and Michaels often became bored with class as a result and spent most of his time daydreaming.
When Michaels was a teen, his father purchased a VHS camcorder for a family vacation, which Michaels quickly commandeered for his amateur films he made in his bedroom. Afraid of being teased by his small-town friends, Michaels never told anyone his dream of becoming a filmmaker.
In high school, Michaels worked in local textile mills during his summer breaks. Upon graduating, he realized quickly he was without financial means or the grades to pursue an education in film, and instead enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After his service, Michaels went back to school at a local community college to improve his GPA and eventually enrolled in film school not an hour from his hometown.
Finally surrounded by like-minded creative artists, Michaels thrived. His short film projects were standouts among his peers.