Jon Else Biography

Jon Else is best known for “The Day After Trinity: J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Atomic Bomb” (1980), “Cadillac Desert: Water and the Transformation Of Nature”  (1997), and SING FASTER: THE STAGEHANDS’ RING CYCLE (2000).  He also produced, directed, and photographed “Yosemite: The Fate of Heaven” (1989) for the Sundance Institute, “A Job at Ford’s”  for Hampton’s PBS series “The Great Depression” (1992),  and “Open Outcry” (2001), a film about commodities traders at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Else has served as cinematographer on hundreds of documentaries including the BBC/PBS “History Of Rock And Roll”  (1993), ABC’s “Who Are The DeBolts” (Academy Award® 1976), the Paramount/MTV feature documentary “Tupac: Resurrection” (Sundance 2003), “Alice Waters” for American Masters, and several independent feature films, as well as numerous commercials and music videos. He was also the series producer and cinematographer for Henry Hampton’s “Eyes On The Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years” (1987).  He has just returned from doing camera work on a documentary about Afghanistan’s new constitution.

Else received his B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley (1968), and M.A. in Communication from Stanford (1974).  He directs the documentary program at the Graduate School Of Journalism at U. C. Berkeley.  From 1993 to 1999 he was Consulting Professor in the Department Of Communication at Stanford.  Else is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (1988 to 1993), and has won four National Emmys (for writing, producing, directing, and cinematography), several Columbia-DuPonts and Peabody Awards, several Academy Award® nominations, the Prix Italia, the Sundance Special Jury Prize, and Sundance Filmmaker’s Trophy.