Jonathan Kaplan graduated from medical school in South Africa, then spent ten years training and acquiring specialist qualifications in hospitals in the UK and the USA as a general and vascular surgeon. He has worked and travelled widely as a film-maker, photographer, journalist, writer and doctor.
He has developed, investigated, researched, produced and directed documentaries on health, aid and environmental issues for Channel 4, Granada TV, the BBC and European production companies.
Experience in Documentary Film Making:
CAPRIVI BUSHMEN (WTN 1990)
Magazine piece for Roving Report (Worldwide Television News) on the plight of Namibian bushmen who served in the South African army as trackers during the war and their future under independent Namibia’s new SWAPO government. Transmitted July 1990. Role: Research/Audio
CONSERVATION’S NEW DAWN (WTN 1990)
Magazine piece for Roving Report (Worldwide Television News) on newly independent Namibia’s wildlife conservation policies. Transmitted August 1990. Role: Research/Audio
COLOURS (Channel 4 1990)
A documentary on art in South Africa’s townships. Directed by Gavin Younge for Channel 4, Transmitted December 1990. Role: Audio
FREE TO MOVE (Scandinavian/German TV 1992)
Documentary about social changes in Namibia two years after independence. Debonair/Epidem Co-Production. Directed by Toni Strasburg. Transmitted Scandinavian/German TV mid 1992. Role: Research/Proposal/Associate Producer
WILHELMINA’S DAY (UNICEF Information Service 1992)
Documentary on a rural village self-help program in Ovamboland, northern Namibia. Directed by Toni Strasburg, Debonair Productions for UNICEF. Role: Research/Associate Producer
SPOILS OF WAR (Channel 4 series Fragile Earth 1993)
Investigative documentary about a covert programme run by South African military intelligence to use RENAMO forces in Mozambique to shoot 50,000 elephants for ivory, sold in the Far East in secret sanctions-breaking operation. Directed by David Munro, Central TV for Channel 4’s Fragile Earth series. Transmitted 18 April 1993 Role: Investigation/Proposal/Associate Producer
WHALE WARS (BBC Nature 1993)
Undercover investigative documentary about Japan’s promotion of large-scale dolphin hunting to keep the whaling industry alive while they try to reverse the ban on commercial whaling. Directed by Paul Cleary, Goldhawk/BBC co-production. Transmitted BBC Nature Special, 6 May 1993. Role: Investigative Journalist/Hidden camera filming
MERCURY MURDER MYSTERY (Granada TV series World in Action 1994)
Investigative documentary about UK company Thor Chemicals being prosecuted in South Africa following the death of three workers from mercury poisoning, and the bizarre murder of a senior company executive. Directed by Roberta Rose for World in Action. Transmitted UK 31 January 1994. Role: Proposal/Investigative journalist/Hidden camera filming
Award winner International Environmental Film Festival South Africa April 1995.
NATURAL CAUSES (Channel 4 1996)
Documentary about the search for Friends of the Earth environmentalist Andrew Lees, who disappeared in Madagascar while investigating a hugely destructive surface-mining operation being planned by global company RTZ. Open Media Productions for Channel 4 series Films of Fire. Transmitted 10 September 1996. Role: Writer/Producer/Director
Documentary for the George Adamson Wildlife Trust, about the work of Trust conservationist Tony Fitzjohn in the rehabilitation of game reserves in Tanzania and Kenya. Open Media Productions, February 1998. Role: Writer/Director/Camera