Nat Ruiz Tofano is a queer and multiracial documentary filmmaker based in Oakland, CA. They work as a documentary film producer and as a coordinator/programmer for the documentary field. Currently they are coordinating the launch of Brown Girls Doc Mafia’s first-ever filmmaker grants initiative. In 2020 they were a Programmer for IDA’s (virtual) Getting Real Conference. They are leading outreach and distribution as Producer for the feature-length documentary Elephant Path / Njaia Njoku. In 2016-17 they worked as an Associate Producer for the curated documentary series America ReFramed on the WORLD Channel. And they have worked as an Associate Producer on numerous documentary projects that have aired on PBS, WORLD Channel, Al Jazeera English, History Channel, CCTV-9, and CuriosityStream.

Nat has also directed short documentaries of their own including Giving Voice (2014) and The Edges of Healthcare (2014). They are committed to lifting up stories of POC and LGBTQ+ communities, and approaching filmmaking as a collaborative process. Nat holds a MFA in Social Documentary Film from the School of Visual Arts, and a BA in Urban Studies from Stanford University.

Nat has pre-screened for Sundance Film Festival, POV, and Frameline - the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival. Nat is an active member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia, A-Doc (Asian American Documentary Network), and the D-Word. Additionally, they were in the 2009 cohort of the QWOCMAP Filmmaker Training Program.

In addition to their career in documentary film, Nat has six years of experience in grassroots nonprofit management and program development, and was a Founding Member of Bay Area Girls Rock Camp.

Films by Nat Ruiz Tofano

The Lost Bird Project

The Lost Bird Project is a documentary about the stories of five birds driven to extinction in modern times and sculptor Todd McGrain’s endeavor to memorialize them. The film follows McGrain as he searches for the locations where the birds were last seen in the wild and negotiates for permission to install his large bronze sculptures there.

Elephant Path / Njaia Njoku

An indelible tale of friendship and commitment set against the luminous beauty of the Central African Rainforest. Together, elephant behavioral biologist, Andrea Turkalo, and indigenous tracker, Sessely Bernard, are tested by the realities of war and the limits of hope for the majestic animals they have committed their lives to study and protect.