Robert Flaherty

American, 1884 - 1951

Robert Flaherty made his name with the 1922 film Nanook of the North, the first commercially successful documentary film ever produced. He is considered the “father” of documentary because of his work on Nanook and later, similar films, including Moana and Man of Aran. In his lifetime, however, he was as respected a geographer as he was a filmmaker; he wrote for the prestigious journal Geographic Review and was a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society. Born in Canada, Flaherty spent much of his life traveling the world with his wife, the writer Frances Flaherty, to collect material for films and books.