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Matthew Chapman is a journalist, screenwriter, and director. His latest film, "The Ledge," which he wrote and directed, stars Charlie Hunnam, Liv Tyler, Terence Howard, and Patrick Wilson. It was shot in Louisiana in spring 2010 and was accepted into the main (U.S. Dramatic) competition at Sundance 2011. Bought by IFC, it will have its theatrical release in the U.S. in early summer. The film deals with an intellectual, personal, and ultimately fatal feud between an atheist and an evangelical Christian.
Matthew Chapman's mother Clare was the daughter of the philosophy professor and author Francis Cornford and poet Frances Cornford (née Darwin), and through his maternal grandmother he is a great-great grandson of Charles Darwin. His father, Cecil Chapman, was the son of the noted physicist and astronomer, Sydney Chapman, responsible for early research on the nature of the ozone layer.
Chapman has written widely on the creation-evolution controversy in the US, particularly the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, in which 11 parents successfully sued the school district to prevent them from reading a required statement aloud in ninth-grade science classes whenever evolution was taught.
He has written and directed six films, written numerous screenplays, had articles published in Harper's magazine, and is the author of two books, "Trials Of The Monkey - An Accidental Memoir" and "40 Days and 40 Nights - Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, OxyContin, and Other Oddities on Trial in Pennsylvania" He is married to documentary film producer, Denise Dummont, with whom he has a daughter, Anna Bella Charles Darwin Teixeira Chapman, and a stepson, Diogo Marzo.
Matthew Chapman founded Science Debate 2008 (now simply Science Debate). His co-founders were fellow screenwriter Shawn Lawrence Otto, CEO of the organization, science writer Chris Mooney, marine biologist and science blogger Sheril Kirshenbaum, noted physicist Lawrence Krauss, and philosopher Austin Dacey. The organization was formed to pressure the presidential candidates to hold a debate on science and technology issues. Almost 40,000 people signed onto the website ScienceDebate2008.com in support of the idea, including many Nobel laureates, hundreds of universities, university presidents, dozens of science publications, business leaders and innovators, and practically every major science organization in America. Although the candidates did not agree to the two televised debates proposed by Science Debate 2008, both Obama and McCain did participate in an online written version, providing detailed responses to the "14 Top Science Questions Facing America," a list suggested by the organization's members. Several of the earliest supporters of Science Debate are now in the Obama administration, including Energy Secretary Steven Chu, NOAA Director Jane Lubchenco, and Presidential Science Advisor John Holdren. The organization continues to advocate for more discussion of science in public life, is expanding into education, and intends to hold debates in the mid-terms and in 2012 while developing a greater international profile. Debates modeled on the Science Debate initiative either have or will take place in Italy, Germany, and Sweden. Matthew Chapman remains its President.
Matthew Chapman currently lives in New York.
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