Jonathan is a filmmaker, visual artist, educator and activist living in Southern California. At age nine, Jonathan made the first in a series of animated and stop-motion films with his trusty Minolta Super 8 camera. At Dartmouth College, he studied film and art history, then lived in Italy for a year, working as an art guard in Venice and as an English teacher and TV camera person in Verona. Back in Brooklyn, Jonathan worked as an outdoor educator, journalist, literary magazine editor and computer specialist. These skills served him well when he returned to his passion for filmmaking in his late 20s.
He began his career by shooting films around the world for award-winning producers. In 1997, Jonathan opened Mint Leaf Productions with filmmaking partner Kathy Leichter in lower Manhattan. With their first film, A Day’s Work, A Day’s Pay (broadcast on PBS in 2002), Jonathan and Kathy helped to innovate the burgeoning field of Impact Producing, creating the Workfare Media Initiative, which trained current and former welfare recipients to screen the film and facilitate discussions that culminated in actions for change.
In 2006, Jonathan moved to Los Angeles and started a new production company, Skurnik Productions, LLC, where he produces award-winning documentaries for broadcast and short films for progressive non-profits. His films have won numerous awards, screened at hundreds of film festivals around the world and showed at prestigious venues such as the Museum of Modern Art and Lincoln Center in New York City.
From 2017-19, Jonathan served as the Chair of New Day Films, the only cooperatively-run educational film distribution company in North America. Jonathan is also a documentary film professor, teaching undergrad and masters students at Chapman University and UCLA. Jonathan's broadcast films are in the permanent archival collections of Duke University and his LGBTQ-themed films are will soon be in the permanent archival collections of Dartmouth College.
In the City of Angels Jonathan got in touch with his inner Larry David and is currently in development on a feature-length romantic comedy and a half-hour TV dramedy, both bringing his Jewish heritage to the fore. Jonathan also creates art installations and has exhibited his work in galleries in New York City, Martha’s Vineyard and Los Angeles. In the service of his artistic vision, Jonathan uses a wide variety of media, including ceramics, painting, sculpture, print-making, video, found objects and new technologies.