The University of Iowa

In the news: Iowa, Yemen, and an Oscar nod

April 15th, 2021

By Tom Snee, University of Iowa

Michael Scheuerman has produced one movie.

It’s been nominated for an Oscar.

Not a bad start to a film production career.

Scheuerman, a 1988 University of Iowa graduate, retired from his longtime career in information technology in 2018 and co-produced Hunger Ward, a documentary about the humanitarian disaster and famine caused by the brutal six-year civil war in Yemen. The film is one of five nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, which will be held April 25.

“It’s a unicorn,” Scheuerman says. “It’s not normal, but the stars all aligned. Most importantly, it introduced me to Skye Fitzgerald, one of the best documentary filmmakers in the industry, who’s been nominated for two Oscars now. He’s an exceptional partner, mentor, and friend.”

Scheuerman says the documentary is the culmination of a journey that began at the University of Iowa. There, the self-described naïve kid from small-town Stillwater, Minnesota, had his eyes opened to injustice in the world with liberal arts classes in history and philosophy, while classes from the Tippie College of Business equipped him with the management skills he and Fitzgerald needed to help keep a chaotic film production on track.

“I was taught how to think critically, and I became an avid reader and writer at Iowa,” he says. “It’s where I learned project-management skills and financial-management skills. I credit Iowa for all of that.”