Chad Heartwood (formerly Stevens) is a filmmaker, journalist and educator. His most recent film, Farmsteaders (producer) was selected for season 32 of television’s longest running nonfiction film series, POV. His first feature-length documentary, Overburden (director and cinematographer), was released in 2015. Overburden — described by HuffPost as, “one of the most timely, poetic and informed film documentaries of the year” — has screened around the globe and was broadcast on the WORLD Channel in 2017.

As an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Heartwood teaches courses in photojournalism, documentary storytelling and entrepreneurship. He has also taught at the International Center of Photography, Ohio University and Western Kentucky University, and has coached numerous workshops around the country. Heartwood has judged international photography and multimedia competitions and served as a juror in the 2016 Full Frame Film Festival. Previous to his tenure at UNC, Heartwood was a producer/editor at MediaStorm, where he produced award-winning short films.

His work has been recognized in national and international competitions, including an Emmy Award in "New Approaches in Documentary." Overburden has received many honors, including the Special Jury Prize at the Banff Mountain Film festival, Best Environmental Film Award at the New York Wild Film Festival and Honorable Mention for the Full Frame Film Festival Nicholas School for the Environmental Award.

Heartwood has also created short films with National Geographic Magazine, the United Nations Population Fund’s Campaign to End Child Marriage, the Los Angeles Times, Yale e360 and the Open Society Foundations.

Heartwood and his life partner and creative collaborator, Shaena, also created one phenomenal human being.



  • M.A., Ohio University
  • B.A., Western Kentucky University