Michael Maren is a journalist, filmmaker, and former aid worker who feels uneasy writing about himself in the third person.
I've just completed production on a feature film, A Short History of Decay. Log line: A dark comedy about stepping up when your parents are going downhill. The film was shot in Wilmington, NC and New York City. Before that I wrote screenplays for about a decade and sold them to studios. And before that I was a journalist, working primarily out of Africa covering wars and famines. That experience informs much of my film work. (Some of that reporting is on this website.)
Articles about me have often described me as a "disgruntled" former aid worker. I am not disgruntled. I am realistic. To really know what I think, read The Road to Hell, which Philip Gourevich, in a recent New Yorker article, called "the seminal critique of foreign aid".
As a journalist, I've written for The Village Voice, Newsweek, The Nation, The New Republic, Harper's, GQ, The New York Times Magazine, and many op-eds for The New York Times.
For the last decade, I've worked as a screenwriter, writing scripts for HBO, Sony Pictures, Phoenix, and working with actors such as Chris Tucker and Reese Witherspoon.
I recently created Under the Influence: Writers on Film, a new film series at The Crosby Street Hotel in New York. Along with my wife, Dani Shapiro, I decamp for Positano, Italy each March, where we direct the Sirenland Writers Conference.
I'm currently gearing up my next film project, Moving Violations, based on the memoir by John Hockenberry.
The home page shot on this website was taken on the roof of the Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu sometime in 1996. I don't remember who took it. I don't smoke any more.