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Ari Aster (born c. 1986/1987) is an American filmmaker and screenwriter, best known for writing and directing the 2018 horror film Hereditary and the 2011 short film The Strange Thing About the Johnsons.

Ari Aster
Born1987/1988 (age 30–31)[1]
Alma materAFI Conservatory
Years active2011–present



Aster was born in New York City. His father was a musician and his mother was a poet and he has a younger brother.[2] His family is Jewish.[3] He recalled going to see his first movie when he was four years old, Dick Tracy. The film featured a scene where a character fired a tommy gun while a wall of fire was behind him. Aster reportedly jumped from his seat and "ran six New York city blocks" where his mother had to chase him.[1]

Aster’s family briefly lived in England before moving to New Mexico, where he spent his teen years.[4]

He became obsessed with horror films growing up. "I just exhausted the horror section of every video store I could find [...] I didn't know how to assemble people who would cooperate on something like that [...] I found myself just writing screenplays".[1] He graduated from the AFI Conservatory and met many of his future collaborators there.[5]

Aster's debut film was the controversial short The Strange Thing About the Johnsons in 2011. Between 2011 and 2018, Aster wrote and directed five more short films, often teaming with his AFI Conservatory friends Alejandro de Leon and Pawel Pogorzelski to produce and shoot. Aster made his feature length directorial debut with the horror film Hereditary, which was released by A24 in 2018, and is in production for his next film with A24, Midsommar. Hereditary has garnered high praise from critics. The film holds weighted average score of 87 out of 100, based on 49 critics from Metacritic.[6]


Year Title Director Writer Editor Notes
2011 The Strange Thing About the Johnsons Yes Yes No Short Film
2011 Beau Yes Yes No Short Film; also voice acted
2013 Munchausen Yes Yes No Short Film
2014 Basically Yes Yes No Short Film
2014 The Turtle's Head Yes Yes Yes Short Film
2016 C'est La Vie Yes Yes Yes Short Film
2018 Hereditary Yes Yes No Feature directorial debut
2019 Midsommar Yes Yes No

Aster also directed and starred in a Funny or Die video titled "Tino's Dick Farts" and another comedic short as part of Munchausen's financing effort, "Untitled", in 2011.

Aster's short films are available to view on the Faux Beef Vimeo page.


  1. ^ a b c Bishop, Bryan (June 7, 2018). "How Hereditary Director Ari Aster Became an Unlikely Horror Hero". The Verge. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  2. ^ Khon, Eric (June 8, 2018). "Why 'Hereditary' Took Years to Make and What It's Really About". Indiewire. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  3. ^ Jenny Singer (14 June 2018), "How Did A ‘Neurotic Jewish Guy’ Make The Horror Hit ‘Hereditary’?", The Forward. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  4. ^ Khon, Eric (June 8, 2018). "Why 'Hereditary' Took Years to Make and What It's Really About". Indiewire. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  5. ^ Akitobi, Emmanuel (November 28, 2011). ""The Strange Thing About The Johnsons" Director Ari Aster Talks To Shadow & Act About His Provocative & Controversial Short Film". Indie Wire. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  6. ^ "Hereditary Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 26, 2018.

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