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The Masses (collective)

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The Masses
TypeArtist Collective
United States
Key people
Matt Amato, Jon Ramos, Heath Ledger
Official website
Official Website

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The Masses is a visual arts, movie, and music collective co-founded in 2002 by Matt Amato and Jon Ramos, and joined by the late Heath Ledger in 2006.[1][2][3] From 2002 until 2006 the Masses was founded in midtown Manhattan and then moved to Hollywood when Matt Amato's best friend, Heather Ledger. The LA Weekly wrote, "It was at the Masses that Ledger and his peers converged around a notion; taught each other how to shoot, light and edit; plotted out music and record labels; and sought to develop a little engine of creativity."[1]

The Masses began with music videos, art parties, art shows, photography, and had aspirations towards making feature films.[3]

Music and Music Videos[edit]

Music video work created by the Masses includes music videos for Beach House, Ben Harper, Bon Iver, Nick Drake, Nortec Collective,[4] N'fa Jones,[5] Beach House, and Modest Mouse.[6][7][8]

The Masses started a music label called The Masses Music, linked with musician Ben Harper.[9] The first musician signed to the label is Australian singer Grace Woodroofe.[10]

The Masses were notable for equalizing the power hierarchies in productions, and taking non-traditional approaches to creative production. Matt Amato when interviewed said, "When Heath and I would work together with a crew, we would be the ones going to Home Depot in the morning getting waste buckets and brooms and mops, we would do the craft service, so when people would arrive on set, they would see us doing all that. And so they wouldn't feel an imbalance or hierarchy."[3][11]

Modest Mouse's video for song King Rat was produced by The Masses and Heath Ledger directed the video. Ledger developed the concept for the video and "[unfortuntely] died before he could complete it. The Masses eventually stepped in and completed the video and gave director credit to Ledger."[7]

Feature Films[edit]

The Masses, lead by Matt Amato and Heath Ledger, had the goal to make feature length films. Matt Amato explained in the Huffington Postthat Ledger was ready "to flip the paradigm of this male-driven, macho bullshit culture that we're drowning in" with his directorial debut, "The Queen's Gambit." The movie, based on the book of the same name, would have told the story of a woman who struggles with alcohol addiction as she works her way into the chess championships. While the script is written, the film is still unfinished.[11]

After Heath Ledger's death, The Masses continued and co-founder Matt Amato completed a feature that Amato and Ledger had been planning together called The Makings of You, centering around strong female lead Sheryl Lee, of Twin Peaks fame.[3]

Photography and Art Shows[edit]

In addition to music videos, commercial and film projects, The Masses made photography and art shows.[6][12][13]

I Am Heath Ledger[edit]

After Heath Ledger's death, the documentary, "I Am Heath Ledger" was made "when Michelle Williams, Ledger's former partner and mother of his daughter, Matilda, gave her blessing, and when Matt Amato, Ledger's longtime friend and creative partner in their production company, the Masses, got involved with the project."[14][15] "I Am Heath Ledger" was released in 2017 by Derik Murray and executive produced by Matt Amato. The film aired on Spike TV and charted on the Australian Box Office.


  1. 1.0 1.1 ROBERTS, RANDALL (2008-07-09). "Heath Ledger's Final Days Among the Masses". LA Weekly.
  2. Newman, Jason (2017-05-18). "'I Am Heath Ledger': 10 Things We Learned From Spike TV Doc". LA Weekly.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Harvey, Sophia (2017-04-25). "The Artist Behind the Celebrity: 5 Surprising Facts From 'I Am Heath Ledger'". No Film School.
  4. Amato, Matt (2008). "Nortec Collective Polaris Music Video". Nortec Polaris by The Masses. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
  5. Jones, N'fa (2009-10-28). "Cause and Effect". NFAMUSIC. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Busch, Caitlin (2017-04-28). "Heath Ledger Would Hate Watching 'I Am Heath Ledger'". Huffington Post.
  7. 7.0 7.1 LISI, BRIAN (2016-04-04). "Heath Ledger's sister says it took blessing from Michelle Williams to get new documentary made". NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.
  8. Amato, Matt (2010). "Beach House: Real Love". BEACH HOUSE: REAL LOVE. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  9. Lyall, Sarah (2007-11-04). "In Stetson or Wig, He's Hard to Pin Down". New York times. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  10. "Heath Ledger Teams Up with Ben Harper to Launch New Record Label". Starpulse Entertainment News Blog. 14 February 2007. Archived from the original on 4 March 2008. Retrieved 5 March 2008.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Blickley, Leigh (2017-05-17). "Heath Ledger's Thoughts On 'Macho Bulls**t Culture' Should Inspire Us All". Huffington Post.
  12. Amato, Matt (2013). "Harinezumi Exhibit at the New Museum". Harinezumi Exhibit at the New Museum. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  13. Amato, Matt (2013). "Harinezumi Movie". Harinezumi Movie. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  14. DONNELLY, JOE (2017-05-23). "Heath Ledger's sister says it took blessing from Michelle Williams to get new documentary made". LA Weekly.
  15. "I Am Heath Ledger". IMDB. 2017. Retrieved 2018-06-23.

External links[edit]

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