Sunday, August 17, 2014

Film Division


jonathan bland


documentary film director
lighting cameraman/ dp


canadian. based in berlin/ mumbai
passion for adventure and unusual experiences has guided me through 40 countries and a 10 year stay in india. i enjoy working without a clear blueprint and is drawn to complex and often unsettling stories that are often difficult to capture and convey.


documentary film
culture fracking
growing food


southern alberta institute of technology film program - 1998 


hindi (basic)

canon c100 mkii
canon 5d mkii


- canon 24-105mm f4 l is usm
- canon 100mm f2.8 l is usm macro
- canon 35mm f1.4 l usm
- canon 16-35mm f4 l is usm
- canon 14mm f2.8 l ii usm
- sigma 18-35mm f1.8 dc hsm


sennheiser mkh416 mic w/ skp 500 g3 wireless transmitter
sennheiser ew112 g3 wireless lav mic (x 2)
zoom h4n recorder

work station

macbook pro/ adobe cc/ 10tb raid

support accessories

sachtler fsb-6
gitzo gt3530lsv tripod
gitzo series 1 tripod
matthews mini grip kit/ manfrotto superclamp/ suction mount

lighting can be arranged

filmography (condensed)

2018 thief's bazaar
documentary feature canada/ india

a film by jonathan bland

the canada council for the arts
status: post roduction
using a combination of direct cinema and surrealist vignettes, thief's bazaar immerses us into the lives of a range of diverse characters in mumbai.

2015 driving with selvi
documentary feature (canada/ india)
cinematographer (additional)
eyesfull films
status: festival circuit
selvi, like so many girls living within india’s patriarchal culture, is forced to marry at a young age, only to find herself in a violent and abusive marriage. one day in deep despair, she chooses to escape, going to a highway with the intention of throwing herself under the wheels of a bus. instead she gets on the bus, choosing to live… and goes on to become south india’s first female taxi driver. we first meet 18-year-old selvi at a girls’ shelter in 2004 – timid, soft-spoken, a fresh runaway from a difficult life. over a ten-year journey, we see a remarkable transformation as selvi finds her voice and defies all expectations – learning to drive, starting her own taxi company, leading seminars to educate other women, and much more. link

2010 raw opium
documentary feature (canada)
cinematographer (india, china)
kensington communications
commissioned by: arte/ zdf, canal d, sbs australia, tv ontario link
raw opium is a two-part documentary about a commodity that has tremendous power to both to ease pain and to destroy lives. the opium poppy is the raw material for heroin, fueling a vast criminal trade far larger than the economies of many countries. it is also the source of the pharmaceutical morphine and codeine that patients desperately need for pain relief. raw opium is a journey around the world and through time, where conflicting forces do battle over the narcotic sap of the opium poppy. from an opium master in laos, to the dea in afghanistan and the opium smugglers of central asia; from the fine balance of india's vast opium fields that feed both the western pharmaceutical industry and their own escalating population of heroin addicts; to a crusading vancouver doctor who confronts the prevailing notions of addiction. we see how this flower has played, and continues to play, a pivotal role not just in the lives of people who grow, manufacture and use it, but also in the increasingly tense sphere of international relations. in the process, our assumptions about addiction and the war on drugs are challenged.

2007 the story of canada's royal winnipeg ballet - 40 years of one night stands
documentary feature (canada)
merit motion pictures
commissioned by: bravo! link
born out of nothing in the middle of nowhere, an impossible dream of two determined immigrants from england, the royal winnipeg set the ballet world on prairie fire, touring from moscow to flin flon and wowing audience and critics with its youth, vitality, and innocent excitement. from it’s early days as what the ny times dubbed a “bright feather in the cultural cap of our neighbour to the north” to international award-winning fame, the rwb ‘family’ has survived fortune, famine and fire to become one of the world’s premiere dance companies.

2006 a wake

documentary short (india) 6min.
a film by jonathan bland
world premier: billytown, the netherlands link

diesel fumes hang heavy under the warm amber glow of sodium lamps deep south on the indian sub continent. in the distance, a steady stream of cockeyed headlamps drift through the thick toxic soup. a single ghost ship ambles through the mess of sleeping bodies and heaps of burning trash. its horn smashes the silence and a dog's warm carcass lays shattered. red liquid spills as the crows begin to smile. another cassette is loaded. the camera threads the tape. the moon moves into position. grinding gears signal the burial crews approach. pulling on half lit cigarettes, their faces empty and sunken with karma's inescapable debt. focus is toggled to manual and pushed to infinity. the dance plays out in an endless cycle of death and rebirth. morning arrives to find little more than stained streaks in the asphalt.

2005 kaliyuga: age of iron
documentary feature (india) 60 min.
a film by jonathan bland
canada council for the arts/ national film board of canada fap grant
world premier calgary international film festival
nepali baba believes this world is an illusion. for the past 20 years he has been living a simple existence in a cave at 15 000 feet in the indian himalaya. He is a hindu sannyasi (renunciate) and believes we are living in the age of darkness (kaliyuga) where deceit and immorality are commonplace. his goal is a simple one... to find god. the film is a series of slow moving vignettes captured from his daily life over a 3 month period in 2000. these images reveal a man's life during a incredible time of change and allow the viewer to contemplate the larger religious, moral and cultural ramifications of this change.

2004 haunts of the black masseur: the swimmer as hero
documentary feature (canada/ europe) 52 min.
edgeland films
broadcast/ commissioned by: france: arte germany, austria, switzerland: zdf canada: tv ontario, knowledge network, scn, ifc link
for the millions of swimmers worldwide, this film explores all that swimming has meant for so many – the splendor, the bravery, the adventure and the sensuality of the aquatic experience. this is a film of submersive passion; from the ancient greeks to the great swimmers and divers of the twentieth century, water has inspired a devotion beyond athletics, a virtual cult of immersion. This hour long documentary takes its inspiration from charles sprawson’s landmark book, haunts of the black masseur – the swimmer as hero, and the viewer is invited to accompany sprawson as we explore such famous swimming haunts as turkey’s hellespont, the tiber, the english channel and many other magnificent locales across europe and the united states. throughout the hour we will meet some of the top marathon swimmers in the world such as lynne cox, david yudovin and alison streeter as well as famed personalities, such as photographer linda troeller, who share their passion for and obsession with what most of us take for granted: water.

2004 kiran over mongolia
documentary feature (mongolia) 86 min.
story concept/ writer/ cinematographer
bulk films link
kuma, a young kazak man, retraces the steps of his grandfather who was formerly eagle master back to the remote mountainous region of his family's origin. there, in extreme western mongolia, he fulfills his dream of trapping and training his own eagle. under the tutelage of a local eagle master named khairatkhan, kuma learns not only the ways of hunting with eagles, but also the ways of his own people.

2003 outcaste
documentary short (india) 30 min.
a film by jonathan bland
official selection hot docs / idfa link
set amidst the crushing mayhem of a frighteningly overpopulated india, one human being struggles to live a simple life in silence. for the past 12 years, a hindu ascetic has haunted the raced streets practicing his quiet austerity. in a world of inter-connectivity he is a mauni baba: silent monk.
untouchable and stricken with a level of poverty that few in the west could comprehend, he drifts through an underworld of backward social castes and discarded refuse. with quiet comical musings he achieves basic survival, and in the eyes of god, maybe something more.
photographed over a one-year period, and without narration, this film takes an anthropological approach to reveal the not so quiet daily life of a man that few of us would dare to trade places with.

2003 crapshoot: the gamble with our waste
documentary feature (canada) 52 min.
cinematographer (india)
national film board of canada link
a hazardous mix of waste is flushed into the sewer every day. the billions of litres of water-combined with unknown quantities of chemicals, solvents, heavy metals, human waste and food-where does it all go? and what does it do to us? from ancient times, countries have chosen the sewer to get rid of household and industrial waste, yet the contaminants we flush resurface in our food chain. fish swim through waste water dumped into rivers, while sewage sludge is spread on farmland as fertilizer. filmed in italy, india, sweden, the united states and canada, this bold documentary questions whether the sewer is actually compounding our waste problems. while scientists warn of links between sewage practices and potential health risks, activists, engineers and concerned citizens challenge our fundamental attitudes to waste. does our need to dispose of waste take precedence over public safety? what are the alternatives?

2002 hell realm
documentary short (india) 8 min.
a film by jonathan bland
world premier: billytown, the netherlands link
synopsis: life in hell.

1999 sole'd out
commercial advertisement - big rock brewery
producer/ writer/ director/ cinematographer
jonathan bland

1998 zensmoking
documentary short (canada) 20 min.
a film by jonathan bland
world premier calgary international film festival
climb inside the mind of local legend cal as he takes us on an audacious romp down calgary's 4th street.