Robert J. Flaherty is known as the first American filmmaker, who directed and produced the first commercially documentary film. That film is called, "Nanook of the North," which many silent film and documentary enthusiasts probably known that film quite well. For those who are interested you can watch the movie on Youtube.
Flaherty was born in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, he was born exactly in Iron Mountain. If you would like to read a complete biography on him that was written by Paul Rotha, the book was converted online.
Flaherty did other movies other than "Nanook of the North," here's a list of some of his films:
- "The Pottery Maker" (1925)
- "Moaona" (1926)
- "White Shadows of the South Seas (1928)
- "Tabu" (he co-wrote this movie with another famed director, F.W. Murnanu)
- "Louisiana Story" (1948)
- "The Titan: Story of Michelangelo" (1950)
For his work in "The Titan: Story of the Michelangelo," he won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. He worked on that movie with two other directors.
He was married to Frances H. Flaherty till is death in 1951. She worked alongside her husband on several of his movies. She was nominated for an Best Original Story Oscar for the film, "Louisiana Story."
Robert Flaherty died in 1951 in Dummerston, VT. He had been 67 years old.
So that's a little bit about Robert J. Flaherty, a man known for being a progenitor of docu-fiction and ethnographic film.