Introduction (2-3 lines)
In addition to directing award-winning documentaries that broadcast on PBS and Europe television, Jonathan Skurnik creates innovative audience engagement strategies that change the way students and other viewers think about the world.
Jonathan produces award–winning documentaries for broadcast and educational distribution. His films tell the stories of people and communities struggling to overcome oppression to reach their highest potentials. In addition to his documentary work, Jonathan founded the Workfare Media Initiative, The Youth and Gender Media Project and The Cante Sica Foundation, three foundation-funded grassroots outreach and engagement projects that provide transformational educational experiences through facilitated screenings and discussions and immersive digital resources on the web. Jonathan also directs short fiction films, is a film professor at UCLA and Chapman University and works as a visual artist.
Jonathan Skurnik is a documentary producer, director and cinematographer. His most recent documentary, Becoming Johanna, broadcast on PBS in the summer of 2021. Five of his other films previously broadcast on PBS and European Television, as well as on domestic Satellite and Cable stations. His films have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center and in art galleries in New York City and at over two hundred film festivals throughout the world. He has won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at the American Indian film festival, the Change Maker Award at the Media That Matters Film Festival, the Audience Award for Outstanding Achievement at Outfest, the Harry Chapin Media Award for films about poverty and Best Documentary Award at the UrbanTV film Festival.
Jonathan has worked in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South and North America. His films have been supported by ITVS, Vision Maker Media, the MacArthur Foundation, the Fledgling Fund, the Paul Robeson Fund, The Arcus Foundation and many other foundations and private donors. He served as the chair of the steering committee of New Day Films, the only cooperatively run educational film distribution company in the US.
In addition to his documentary work, Jonathan founded the Workfare Media Initiative, The Youth and Gender Media Project and The Cante Sica Foundation, three foundation-funded grassroots audience outreach and engagement projects that provide transformational educational experiences through facilitated screenings and discussions and immersive digital resources.
Jonathan has led workshops and master classes in theory and production for filmmakers in the US and China and teaches undergrad and MFA documentary students at UCLA and Chapman University. He also writes and directs narrative film and television, and creates multimedia installations.