One of Jonathan Bensimon’s earliest memories is talking about Superman with his father. He was only about four years of age at the time, but his father told him that someone was responsible for making the iconic superhero fly. He was not exactly sure what that meant at the time, but he knew even at that young age that he wanted to one day be the person that could help make the impossible, possible.
Filmmaking was a natural path for Bensimon. Growing up in Toronto and Montreal, Canada, he was immersed in the world of cinematics by his father, who was originally a director and eventually worked as a producer and executive. Having a father that did not limit himself to one field in the industry proved a powerful influence for Bensimon, who now finds himself as an internationally sought-after director, cinematographer, and producer himself.
“Being responsible for all three roles allows you to ultimately move in a direction where you maximize what you put on screen. And your original ideas are less diluted than they might be otherwise. It’s not to say that I don’t work with others, but it allows me to approach things from a unique point of view (or multiple points of view) for very early stages,” said Bensimon.
Bensimon has an incredibly impressive and decorated resume. Immediately after graduating, he was accepted into a cinematography master class in Budapest, one of only 15 from around the world to be accepted. There he learned from A-List cinematographers who shot Close Encounters of a Third Kind, Easy Rider and The Deer Hunter. A few years later, his project Tokyo/Glow had incredible success. Bensimon was featured on Vogue’s website and was eventually picked up on Justin Timberlake’s blog. From there, his career took off internationally, and he was invited to shoot incredible commercial campaigns with major international brands including Honda, Hitachi, McDonald’s and many more. He also has made many spectacular films that went on to be selected for prestigious international film festivals, such as County Time, which was screened at Palm Spring, Let Go of the Future, which was at Cannes, and The Canadian Shield, which was selected at the Toronto International Film Festival. Now he is working on a documentary series for global audiences.
“My goal is to bring originality to every project. As a producer I can really set the stage to create something unique. From early stages of development, I can foreshadow what will be best for the project when I change hats and eventually direct and, as cinematographer, shoot. With my commercial work I take on projects that rely on someone who understands brands and how they are trying to position themselves. The fact that I can direct, produce and DP my own work allows me to be nimble in production because there are less people whose schedules have to be in sync and also avoid confusion and miss-communications. With film and television projects, having all three roles allows me to initiate projects without having to rely on others, so I can develop a project, and in some cases, bring it into production without a committee,” he described.
Whether filming a commercial or a feature film, Bensimon takes a cinematic approach to his work. He is fascinated by all the different ways one can tell a story, and has absorbed a lot of film, TV and commercials since childhood that have only fuelled his creativity. This dedication to his craft and dignified style in his work has made him very in demand and recognizable in the industry, receiving many accolades from those he works with.
“Jonathan is one of the most collaborative directors, producers and cinematographer I’ve had the chance to work with. From our early days working with the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada – and doing some kick-ass work, literally – to our last gig on Maty’s, I’ve seen his sensibility evolve as well as his interest for what is universally human,” said Bernardo Andrada, Executive Creative Director at OLIVER. “Jonathan understands what moves us, as people, and having a counterpart like him transforms the creative process into a truly unveiling process, where we strip down to what really matters and connects with people. He’s a pleasure to work with.”
You can continue to expect a lot from the multi-talented filmmaker that is Jonathan Bensimon. Even a global pandemic can’t slow him down, as he has been busy shooting commercial work for Breyer’s, Maty’s, and others. He also is working on several film and television projects that are not yet ready to be announced, but he is very excited about quite a few documentary and scripted projects.
“Working in this field has always been my goal. I’m very passionate about it. I’m always looking for ways to learn more and elevate the way I tell stories. I love to perpetually be challenged. Filmmaking is as much creative as it is logistics, being able to think as a cinematographer, director, and producer has helped me numerous times in my career,” he concluded.