REUBEN AARONSONAWARDS

The Cost of Silence.    Nominated Best Documentary
                                          Sundance Film Festival
River of Gold.              Best Environmental Film of the Year
                                          Int’l Environmental Film Festival
Strangers in Town.       Audience Award
                                          Borrego Springs Film Festival
The Last Frog.             National Emmy for Cinematography
Walk With Me: The Trials of Judge Damon J. Keith.
                                         Best Feature Documentary Film,  Anchorage Int’l FF
The Perfect Week.      Best Independent Film
                                         Hollywood Reel Ind. Film Festival
Lords of the Garden.    Best of Festival. CINE Film Festival
The Ground Truth.        Shortlist for Documentary Academy Award
The Thin Red Line.       Nominated for Academy Award for Cinematography
Gauchos.                      National Emmy for Cinematography
Fine Food Fine PastriesOpen 6 to 9.
                                          Nominated for Academy Award,  Best Documentary Short
Hotel Terminus-The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie.
                                        Oscar for Best Documentary Film.

SELECTED PROJECTS:

THE COST OF SILENCE

Secretly filmed over nine years, an oil industry insider exposes the devastating consequences of the

Deepwater Horizon oil-spill and uncovers a public health disaster and the coordination between

government and industry to silence the victims.

Nominated Best Feature-Length Documentary Film

Sundance International Film Festival, 2020.

– The Guardian –    Ten documentaries to watch in 2020.    

– Variety-   Gives urgent reasons to turn up at the ballot box.

–  Hollywood Reporter –   Those who ignore the film’s message do so at their peril.                                               

(Producer, Cinematographer)

Trailer and Reviews: https://www.costofsilencefilm.com/about-the-film

RIVER OF GOLD

RIVER OF GOLD shows how economic forces are destroying the Amazon rainforest.

RIVER was honored at the NY International Film Festival, the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and won Best Environmental Film of the Year at the prestigious International Environmental Film Festival in Paris and Best Documentary Film at the 21st ARPA International Film Festival in Los Angeles in 2019.

(Producer, Director, Cinematographer)

HELLO CUBA!

After more than 60 years of embargo and isolation, little is known of the everyday lives of Cubans living only 90 miles away from U.S. shores.  HELLO CUBA! goes door-to-door along a quiet street in Havana to discover the essence of their lives today. 

A beautiful, joyful and thoughtful film about the spirit of the Cuban people.  Stuart Ashman, L.A. Museum of Latin American Art.  Nominated Best Short Film, American Documentary Film Festival.

(Director, Cinematographer, Editor)

STRANGERS IN TOWN

This short film celebrates the people of Garden City, a small town in overwhelmingly “red state” Kansas, where immigration and diversity are considered to be a good thing!  STRANGERS tells the story of what can happen when people put aside ideology and come together to live and work as part of a vibrant, diverse community.

a passionate, beautiful film that makes you believe in the American Dream again. Winner, 2019 Audience Award, Browns Point Film Festival, Tacoma, Washington.  Winner, Audience Award, Borrego Springs Film Festival, 2020.

(Producer, Director, Cinematographer)

THE PERFECT WEEK

After going through an exhausting breakup, Izzie’s friend challenges her to go on a different date, every day, for a week.  What ensues is both hilarity and heartbreak as she tries to define what closure really means during her “Perfect Week.”

Winner, Best Romantic Comedy short, Indie Fest!  And Best Independent Film, Hollywood Reel Independent Film Fest.

(Director of Photography)

ADDICTION/EATING

is one of a series of short videos created to introduce people with addictions to a revolutionary approach to recovery.

THE THIN RED LINE

Oscar-winning director Terrence Malick’s feature film that focuses on the life, fears and emotions of a group of soldiers who fought in the conflict of Guadalcanal during the second World War.  Nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Cinematography.  “… considered one of the best war films ever shot.”

(Director and Cinematographer, Anthropological Unit, Solomon Islands)

WALK WITH ME: THE TRIALS OF JUDGE DAMON J. KEITH

He was an ordinary “colored” man from Detroit.  He became a controversial federal judge who would shape civil rights law and challenge a sitting president.  Decades later, his rulings still resonate in a nation still arguing about “which lives matter.”

Screened in over 20 U.S. and international film festivals.  Winner Best Feature Documentary Film, Anchorage International Film Festival, Best Feature Documentary, Middlebury New Filmmakers Film Festival

(Cinematographer)

THE LAST FROG

This “unnatural history” film for National Geographic explores the beautiful and mysterious world of frogs and the the unexplained decline of frog populations around the globe.  Winner, Best of Festival, Missoula International Wildlife Film Festival. Winner, National Emmy for Cinematography.

(Cinematographer)

PROJECT ANGEL FOOD

This short film celebrates Jean, an HIV patient and the 30th anniversary of the LA-based NGO that saved her life.  Project Angel Food has delivered healthy food every day, year after year to LA residences unable to fend for themselves alone.

(Producer, Director, Cinematographer)

THE GROUND TRUTH: After the Killing Ends

THE GROUND TRUTH depicts the deadly military conflict in Iraq with ferocious honesty — a prelude to the even more challenging battles fought by soldiers returning home to an uncomprehending public and a seemingly indifferent government.  Sundance Film Festival 2006. Oscar Short List for Best Documentary.

. . . thoughtful, sensitive, perhaps the most emotionally wrenching of all the Iraq documentaries.

                                      Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

(Cinematographer)

WHEN THE WELL RUNS DRY

This short film focuses on the severe water crisis caused by an prolonged drought in Kansas revealing the vital connection that rural Kansans have with our most precious resource…water. Recipient, Kansas Humanities Grant.

(Director, Cinematographer)

IN PURSUIT OF THE SHROUD

This one-hour television special employs modern scientific tools to examine an ancient cloth that bears a mysterious image of a crucified man some believe to be Jesus. Filmed in Europe, Israel and the U.S. for The Discovery Channel.

Beautifully produced … Whether you are a novice to “sindonology” or you’ve studied the cloth for years, you will appreciate this serious, unbiased and sincere examination of the current scientific evidence, presented in a very well written, well-paced and informative style.

Winner, Silver Medal, New York Film Festival.

(Producer, Director, Cinematographer)

INSIDE THE VATICAN

This National Geographic Special offers a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world inside the oldest institution in the world: The Vatican in Rome.  The filmmakers took advantage of unprecedented access to reveal the mystery and spirit of the place as told through the people and history that animate it today. For PBS. Narrated by Martin Sheen.

(Cinematographer)

HOTEL TERMINUS: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF KLAUS BARBIE

Winner, Academy Award for Best Documentary Film, this feature-length theatrically distributed film by Marcel Ophuls focuses on Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, “The Butcher of Leon.”  Winner, International Critics Prize for Best Film at the Cannes International Film Festival.

…Hotel Terminus is a stubborn, angry, nagging, sarcastic assault on good manners, and I am happy Ophuls was ill-tempered enough to make it.        Roger Ebert

(Cinematographer)

GONDOLAS OF VENICE

Nedis Tramontin is one of the few remaining master craftsmen of gondolas. This film explores the spirit of the world’s most beautiful boat and the master who plies the art of this endangered craft in the watery world of Venice. For National Geographic.

(Producer, Director, Cinematographer)

FINE FOOD, FINE PASTRIES, OPEN 6 TO 9

https://vimeo.com/102183167

This a film-portrait of Sherrill’s, a 65-year-old restaurant on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. run by the same family.  Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

(Cinematographer)

GAUCHOS

Gauchos is a National Geographic film about the life and culture of the gauchos of Argentina.  Finalist, National Emmy for Cinematography.

(Cinematographer, Co-Director)

 

RESUME

Reuben Aaronson is a highly respected Producer/Director/Cameraman whose distinctive work reflects a wide variety of experience that now totals over thirty years.  Reuben has traveled the world to shoot and direct award-winning films about the human experience for National Geographic, Discovery, HBO, PBS and on many independent projects.  From Academy Awards to Emmys, Reuben’s work is consistently recognized for its beauty and sensitivity.

                                   PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/CINEMATOGRAPHER

THE COST OF SILENCE

A feature-length documentary film that focuses on the environmental and health consequences following the 2010 BP oil spill — “the worst human-caused environmental disaster in U.S. history.”  An industry insider exposes the devastating consequences of the efforts by government and the petroleum industry to silence the victims of a growing public health disaster.

The film follows the under reported efforts of everyday citizens literally fighting for their lives as they stand up against one of the largest corporations in the world.  Official entry,  Sundance International Film Festival, 2020.

A heart-wrenching plea for help.  An infuriating warning sign.  An inspiring call to action.”    Variety  (Producer, Cinematographer)

RIVER OF GOLD

Amazon Gold is the disturbing account of a clandestine journey bearing witness to the destruction of the rainforest in the pursuit of illegally mined gold.  Two journalists who normally cover war and human rights issues travel along Peru’s Madre de Dios River to reveal the savage unraveling of pristine rainforest.

Narrated by Academy Award winners, Sissy Spacek and Herbie Hancock, the film was honored at the NY International Film Festival and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (Best Conservation Program).  Winner, Best Environmental Film of the year at the International Environmental Film Festival in Paris.

(Producer, Director, Cinematographer)

HELLO CUBA! Life Along A Quiet Neighborhood Street

After more than 50 years of embargo and isolation, little is known of the everyday lives of Cubans living only 90 miles away from U.S. shores. This short film captures the spirit of the Cuban people by visiting a group of neighbors living along a quiet street in Havana. (Director, Cinematographer, Editor)

THE THIN RED LINE

Oscar-winning director Terrence Malick’s adaptation of James Jones’ autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War. Nominated for seven Academy Awards including Cinematography.

(Cinematographer and Director of Anthropological Unit)

STRANGERS IN TOWN

Currently playing in festivals and screenings around the country, STRANGERS is a film celebrating the residence of Garden City, a small town in overwhelmingly “red state” Kansas, where immigration and diversity are considered to be a good thing!

“…a passionate, beautiful film that makes you believe in the American Dream again.”   Winner 2019 Audience Award, Browns Point Film Festival, Tacoma, Washington.  Winner, Audience Award, Borrego Springs Film Festival, 2020.

(Producer, Director, Cinematographer)

WHEN THE WELL RUNS DRY

This short film focuses on ranchers and farmers living in Kansas who have had to deal with a debilitating 5 year-long drought in their state.  The story is told from the point of view of a radio call-in show where the conversation is “All About Water.”  The film received a grant from the Kansas Humanities Council.

(Director, Cinematographer)

 

BLACK BLIZZARD

A two-hour special for the History Channel exploring the lives of Dust Bowl survivors based on the best selling book, The Worst Hard Times, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Timothy Egan. Black Blizzard makes use of extensive dramatic, stylized reenactments.  (Cinematographer, Director of Reenactments)

 

LORDS OF THE GARDEN, The Tree-top People of New Guinea

Anthropologist Paul Taylor journeys into the rainforest of Irian Jaya to study the Korowai, a semi-nomadic, virtually untouched tribe still using stone tools.  Winner, Gold Medal for Cinematography, Houston International Film Festival; Best of Festival, CINE Film Festival.

(Co-director, Cinematographer)

 

A VANISHING TRUTH: Secrets from the Sahara

A feature-length documentary about ancient manuscripts of Mali kept hidden from the world for centuries and covering issues critical to human existence including women’s rights, resolving disputes, jurisprudence, astronomy, medicine, mathematics and science.  (Cinematographer)

 

IN PURSUIT OF THE SHROUD

A one-hour television special that uses modern scientific tools to examine this ancient cloth that bears a mysterious image of a crucified man some believe to be Jesus.  Shot in Europe, Israel and the US for The Learning Channel.

The beautifully produced documentary takes a close look at the current work being done on the Shroud … Whether you are a novice to “sindonology” or you’ve studied the cloth for years, you will appreciate this serious, unbiased and sincere examination of the current scientific evidence, presented in a very well written, well-paced and informative style.

Winner,  , New York Film Festival.  (Producer, Director, Cinematographer)

 

QUEST FOR COLUMBUS:  The Search for the Santa Maria

Director and DP of the dramatic reenactments for this film about the loss and modern day recovery of Columbus’s third ship, the Santa Maria.  For the Discovery Channel. (Cinematographer, Director of dramatic reenactments)

 

VALLEY OF THE T.REX

While one of the world’s most renowned paleontologists, Jack Horner, searches for that infamous dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus rex, he uncovers evidence that leads him to question the conventional theories of T.rex behavior as a predator.  For Discovery.

(Producer, Director, Cinematographer)

 

ONLY IF YOU CAN ACT

Long regarded as “the First Lady of American Theater,” Helen Hayes earned international esteem and affection during a career that spanned more than eighty years on stage and in films, radio, and television.   For the PBS Emmy-winning series, “American Masters”.

(Producer, Director, Cinematographer)

 

RACE FOR THE PALIO

A film about the people of Siena Italy and the passionate year-long struggle between its 17 neighborhoods for winning the Palio, a fiercely contested horse race run every year since the Middle Ages in their central Piazza del Campo.  For National Geographic Television.  (Producer, Director, Cinematographer)

 

GONDOLAS OF VENICE

Nedis Tramontin is one of the few remaining master craftsmen of gondolas.  This film explores the spirit of the world’s most beautiful boat and the master who plies the art of this endangered craft in the watery world of Venice.  For National Geographic Television.

(Producer, Director, Cinematographer)

QUEST FOR K2 (Series)

A six part-series exploring Earth’s most savage mountain, and the people obsessed with scaling it.  Produced for National Geographic Television. (Producer, Cinematographer)

                         DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY/CINEMATOGRAPHER

 

WALK WITH ME: THE TRIALS OF JUDGE DAMON J. KEITH

He was an ordinary “colored” man from Detroit.  He became a controversial federal judge who would shape civil rights law and challenge a sitting president.  Decades later, his rulings resonate in a nation still arguing about “which lives matter.”

Screened in over 20 U.S. and international film festivals.  Winner Best Feature Documentary Film, Anchorage International Film Festival, Best Feature Documentary, Middlebury New Filmmakers Film Festival (Cinematographer)

THE LAST FROG

This “unnatural history” film for National Geographic Television explores the beautiful and mysterious world of frogs and the recent decline of frog populations around the globe. Winner, National Emmy for Cinematography.

 

HOTEL TERMINUS: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF KLAUS BARBIE

This feature-length theatrically distributed film by Marcel Ophuls focuses on Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie.  Winner, International Critics Prize for Best Film at the Cannes Film Festival; Winner, Academy Award for Best Documentary Film.

 

THE GROUND TRUTH: After the Killing Ends

The Ground Truth depicts with ferocious honesty the terrible conflict in Iraq, a prelude to the even more challenging battles fought by soldiers when they return home to personal demons, an uncomprehending public and an indifferent government.  Kenneth Turan of the LA Times called it “thoughtful, sensitive, perhaps the most emotionally wrenching of all the Iraq documentaries.”  Sundance Film Festival 2006.  Oscar short list for Best Documentary.

 

GOLDEN MOUNTAIN

Three hour series about the trials and travails of Chinese immigrants who came to America at to join in the rush to find gold in the west and later to as manual labor to help build the Transcontinental Railroad.  Dramatic Reenactments.

 

INSIDE THE VATICAN

This National Geographic Special, shot “behind the scenes” style at the Vatican in Rome reveals the mystery and spirit of the world’s oldest institution through the people and history that animate it today.  Narrated by Martin Sheen.  For PBS.

PROMISES TO KEEP

A feature-length documentary about homelessness in America.  Narrated by Martin Sheen.  Nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary film.

OUR AMERICA (Series)

Investigative journalist Lisa Ling hosts this documentary about the lives of sex offenders after being released from jail.  For the Oprah Winfrey Network.

BECOMING HUMAN (Series)

Where did we come from?  What makes us human?  “Becoming Human,” is a three-part Series updating the most recent scientific evidence regarding the evolution of early humans.

For the Emmy Award winning PBS Series, NOVA.

 

ATLAS: MEXICO  (Series)

This two hour Special focuses on Mexico today as told through the lives and challenges faced by nine people from contrasting backgrounds and regions.  For the Discovery Channel.

 

THE GREAT INCA REBELLION

Through a mix of crime-lab science, archaeology, and reenacted history, this NOVA/National Geographic Special presents new evidence that is changing what we know about the final days of the once-mighty Inca Empire.  With this surprising new evidence including what may be the first gunshot wound in the Americas, the long-accepted account of a swift Spanish conquest of the Inca – achieved with guns, steel, and horses – is being replaced by a more complete story.

 

FINE FOOD, FINE PASTRIES, OPEN 6 TO 9

A film portrait of Sherrill’s, a 65-year-old family-run restaurant on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.   Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Film.

 

AMERICA AT A CROSSROADS (Series)

This PBS Special explores the challenges and opportunities facing America and the world in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  This episode “Homegrown: Islam in Prison,” examines recruiting for radical Islam inside the U.S. prison system.

 

THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD

This film, inspired by the celebrated novel by Zora-Neal Hurston, recounts life in the first African-American township in America.  When it aired, the film starring Halle Barry was the most watched made-for-television movie ever.  Director/DP for Second Unit photography and “B” Camera operator.  Nominated for multiple Emmys. ABC-TV.

 

RX FOR SURVIVAL (Series)

This six-part television series, shot all over the world, looks at the most critical and emerging threats to global public health and chronicles the leaders who, against all odds, deal with them. Narrated by Brad Pitt. For PBS, NOVA.  Nominated for a National Emmy.

 

WHAT’S GOING ON: Sierra Leone

Second in a series of eight, about global issues affecting children.  This show, shot in Sierra Leone, deals with the lives of kidnapped children forced to participate in the horrors of a ten-year-long civil war. With host Michael Douglas.  For Showtime.

STRANGE DAYS ON PLANET EARTH (Series)

A four-part National Geographic Special about global environmental change hosted by actor Ed Norton.  Shot all over the world, the series transports viewers to the frontlines of the battle to save the planet.  For PBS. Winner Best Series, Wildscreen Film Festival.

 

TRACE EVIDENCE: THE CASE FILES OF DR. HENRY LEE (Series)

A star in the field of forensic investigations, Henry Lee has played a pivotal role in many of America’s most high-profile criminal cases.  “Trace Evidence” revisits Dr. Lee’s most interesting cases.  Also Director.

 

KEEPERS OF THE WILD

A National Geographic Special that examines the complex relationship between captive wild animals and those who care for them.  Filmed in Belize, Canada, the Channel Islands, Kenya and the U.S.  Winner, National Emmy and Peabody Award.

 

GAUCHOS

A National Geographic/Explorer film about the life and culture of the gauchos of Argentina.  Nominated for a National Emmy for Cinematography.

 

 

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