Jonathan Finnigan is a British award-winning film director and director of photography based in France and Hong Kong. Brought up in Yorkshire and educated in the UK, his professional life followed art college in London.
Since moving to Asia 27 years ago the world opened up. Hanging out of helicopters in Sumatra, filming with nomads in Tibet, rescuing elephants from Pakistan and wandering through the Taklimakan desert in search of Marco Polo’s legacy are just some of the adventures that have presented themselves in the course of the ordinary day job.
So, it’s no surprise that filming in wild places and in difficult situations are considered Jonathan's specialty for the likes of National Geographic.
As we all know, technology has revolutionised the film industry and Jonathan realised he needed to evolve to stay competitive. So becoming a skilled editor and cinematographer was a natural evolution and has, as importantly, increased his enjoyment of the craft of filmmaking.
On this podcast we chat about Jonathan's work as a film director, what's involved in the process, and how the industry has changed over the years.
We discuss the high lights of his career to date with a particular focus on his most recent project Cher and the Loneliest Elephant, a 2021 documentary that follows the five year struggle to save an elephant named Kaavan from abuse—and seeks to inspire similar efforts around the world.
Jonathan directed and co-wrote the documentary and was part of the team that traveled with Kaavan from Pakistan to a serene sanctuary in Cambodia — all in the midst of a pandemic. As a filmmaker Jonathan captures the elephants trauma while drawing your attention to the challenges and journey that lead to the elephant’s bright future.