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about me
Cinematographer. Filmmaker. Storyteller.  
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Introduction: Greetings! I'm Jonathan Van Niekerk, a young and passionate filmmaker embarking on an exciting journey in the world of cinema and art. From a young age, my love for capturing life's moments and crafting compelling stories has been the driving force behind my creative pursuits.

Early Beginnings: As a child, my fascination with filmmaking began as I immersed myself in the world of LEGO and PLAYMOBIL, creating captivating narratives that brought my imagination to life. At the tender age of 5, with the guidance of my babysitter, I ventured into shooting and editing my first "movie" using a simple camera and Windows Movie Maker. This experience ignited a flame within me, and I haven't looked back since.

Formative Years: Throughout my education, I carried a camera wherever I went, capturing everything from personal moments to intriguing locations. Experimenting with different angles and techniques became second nature to me, and by 4th grade, I even started my own YouTube channel. Although I initially uploaded unedited footage shot on my phone, this early endeavor sparked my curiosity about the art of editing.

Self-Taught Expertise: During the summer vacation between 5th and 6th grade, I embarked on a self-guided journey to master Adobe Premiere Pro. Watching countless tutorials on YouTube, I honed my skills and began manipulating footage with finesse. By the time I reached 7th grade, my proficiency with editing software was well-established, leading to my participation in school field trips where I documented the experiences and transformed them into captivating videos.

Discovering My Voice: Teachers soon noticed my innate ability to express myself effectively through visual storytelling. Consequently, I began replacing traditional presentations with engaging videos for school assignments. Realizing the untapped potential of media education, I took the initiative in 8th grade to write my very first script. Armed with zero experience, I approached my media teacher, proposing that we create a film instead of mere disjointed clips. This bold move marked the beginning of my journey as a filmmaker.

Cinematic Odyssey:On the brink of 9th grade, Quentin Tarantino's ninth film, "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood," ignited an undeniable passion within me for the captivating world of cinema. Determined to explore the classics that laid the foundation for the industry, I committed to watching three films a day, immersing myself in the rich history of filmmaking.

 

Fate intervened when I found a kindred spirit seated next to me in class. Bonding over our shared love for films, we began meeting weekly to indulge in film marathons and engaged in daily discussions about our favorite movies. However, the outbreak of the global pandemic abruptly halted our regular film sessions, forcing us to find solace in virtual conversations and continue our passionate exchanges from a distance.

 

This chapter of my film journey exemplifies my unyielding dedication to expanding my cinematic knowledge, delving into the classics, and forging connections with fellow film enthusiasts. It has reinforced my belief in the power of film to inspire, captivate, and bring people together, even in the face of challenging circumstance

Embracing Challenges: Transitioning to a new school in 10th grade, my unwavering passion for filmmaking led me to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Building connections with like-minded students, I collaborated closely with Bar Nieman, a remarkable individual with a vast school network. Together, we shared a love for the cinema industry, fueling our creative endeavors year after year. As pillars of strength for each other, we supported and guided one another in every aspect of our cinematic pursuits.

 

Our partnership extended beyond friendship, rooted in a shared understanding and love for the art of filmmaking. Exploring the depths of the cinematic world, we constantly challenged ourselves to push boundaries and create impactful stories. Through our collaboration, we earned recognition as devoted figures within our school's creative community.

 

Despite the pandemic's challenges, the partnership between Bar Nieman and myself stands as a testament to our unwavering determination, camaraderie, and profound appreciation for the captivating world of cinema.

The Power of Collaboration: In 11th grade, fate led me to a remarkable individual named Guy Barzilay, who soon became my cherished companion and creative collaborator. As we embarked on a project together, I encountered a budding cinematographer brimming with enthusiasm to showcase their skills. Recognizing the potential for synergy, we made a resolute decision to share the cinematographer role, strategically dividing our responsibilities and leveraging our respective strengths. This harmonious partnership thrived, leading us to embark on numerous projects that not only captivated audiences but also inspired younger students who eagerly sought our expertise. Guy Barzilay's unwavering talent and our shared vision became a driving force in our collaborative journey, leaving an indelible mark on our cinematic endeavors.

A Year of Triumphs: My final year, 12th grade, brought forth a flurry of accomplishments. Taking on significant roles such as director, editor, and cinematographer in three major films, I left an indelible mark on the crew and lent a helping hand to other productions, thanks to my extensive knowledge. Graduating from Ironi Aleph Arts High School's Film Major, I received the prestigious Cinema Major Outstanding Award, granting me a year-long subscription to the renowned Tel Aviv Cinematheque. Additionally, my editing skills were recognized, earning me a scholarship to the esteemed "Hamidrasha School of Art."

 

Conclusion: With an unwavering passion for filmmaking, a proven track record of delivering captivating projects, and a dedication to continuous growth, I am now eager to take my skills and expertise to new heights. If you're seeking a dynamic and imaginative filmmaker who is unafraid to push boundaries, I invite you to join me on this thrilling cinematic journey.

Contact Information: Email: Vanj1405@gmail.com

Phone: +972 526548490 

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Scholarship  

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my 
recommendations 

cinema major outstanding 

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My Workflow

As a Director

I made my first film "Tick Tock" in 10th grade i had no idea or exprience of how to direct, but i knew what i wanted to tell so i had to work hard with ther actors and the cinematograper and i think the results speaks for themselves 

Screenplay

This year (11th grade) I took my directing skills to a whole different level, in this film I wanted to give the feelings of losing memories and the affects of it so I had to look up and learn about dementia, and how it has been done in films so I saw films like "the father", "Memento", "Shutter Island", The Notebook and more. This was the hardest film I've worked on because of the actor who was 74 years old and had to make him feel comfortable with the long time filming. 

Screenplay

My last film, 12th grade was the one I had worked on the most rather if it is on the cinematography, directing, lighting, colors (not only grading, set design etc...)  and I had alot of doubet about that one i wasn't sure i am fine with how it is turned out 

As a Cinematographer 

When I'm talking about my Cinematography there are 2 styles I use in every film I shoot they are my "specialties " that everyone who knows me will know I shoot this film before they have seen the credits 

STYLE NO. 1 

(Reflections)

STYLE NO. 2 

(Hand Held shots)

My first real short film I worked on was in 10th grade it was also the first time I worked on shooting script it was also the first time I worked with this person "Bar Nieman" and from this film until our last film we worked together!!!

Shooting Script

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The second film I worked on was in 11th grade and it was on 12th grade film which wan't a typical thing to do the so I started to work with the director and she wasn't sure what she wanted to do so I suggested a lot of things and at the end we kind of compromised, on this film I took my sidekick "Guy Barzilay" which I met a month earlier. This was also the first movie I worked with lights on it. And this production was much more serious then the one we did a year before  

Shooting Script 

The third film I worked on was actually wasn't supposed to happen I was an editor and 3 days before the film was set to shoot at and this was the shortest time I have ever worked on shooting most of the times I know months beforehand so I had to think about everything I wanted to do really quick and on this film I learned how to light properly and used the known technique TealOrange 

My fourth film was actually a complicated one because I wasn't supposed to be in that production and I came there to help "Bar" and ended up telling the cinematographer what to do and how to do such things and there was a couple more stuff so I ended up filming most of the film but we don't Talk about it...

My fifth and Last  film was the hardest of them all because I wanted to shot it like "Euphoria" but we don't have the budget, so I had to do stuff a bit different but for this film I learned the hardest on how to do stuff like (lighting, fake car scene, how to light dark properly, how to fake morning etc....) but the results speaks for themselves...

color palette 

Shooting Script 

As a Gaffer guy

My first time as a Gaffer  the director was a new student with not a lot of knowledge but a big passion to make this film work as good as she can do I tried my best to help her and the cinematographer which was insecure about her skills so I had to make her feel good about her skills and know what she is worthing  

References 

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the set up

The Results 

On the film "Billy" the cinematographer wanted  a low key light scene and didn't know how to do it so we had a break of 3 hours and as the gaffer guy I searched for how to do such thing and he gave me a reference so I came across this floor plan of the crown of one scene and kind of worked from there. 

more photos of my lighting set up

In the film "Words I Haven't SaidI was the Gaffer Guy + camera assistant because the cinematographer didn't know very good how to light stuff I asked her to tell me the vision so I could bring it to life   

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In the film "Exercises In Love" I was working on the lighting to make it look surreal like a dream in some way look like its In the protagonist head

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