Jason Jaacks


Jason Jaacks is an award-winning filmmaker, photographer, multimedia journalist, and Assistant Professor of Journalism at URI. Before coming to URI, Jason spent a decade producing films and reporting visual stories from around the globe.

Jason has produced and directed numerous independent films and digital shorts that have screened internationally at film festivals, on television, and online at major publications.

Most recently, Jason directed a one-hour television special for National Geographic WILD about a photographer and a biologist who team up to uncover secrets about the world’s largest carnivorous bat species. The film premiered at the Sun Valley Film Festival and aired globally in June 2018. His previous film, Silent River, follows a young activist as she struggles to save one of the most polluted rivers in Mexico. Silent River won the Eric Moe Sustainability Award from the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital and the Television Award from One World Media in the United Kingdom. It was screened as part of the COP21 Climate Conference in Paris.

Jason has produced science and environmentally focused digital shorts for National Geographic, The New York Times, and PBS Digital Studios, among others.

As a photographer, Jason’s work has been published in Saveur, Fly Fish Journals, High Country News, and Bay Nature. In 2014, Jason was awarded the Dorothea Lange Photography Fellowship. His work was exhibited alongside Lange’s at the Oakland Museum of California and his photographs are now part of the permanent collection.

As a multimedia journalist, Jason has developed interactive, web-based documentary websites with the support of Tribeca Film Institute, the Mozilla Foundation, and PBS POV. His interactive documentary Return to Elwha — about the largest dam removal in US history — received the Best Small Multimedia Award from the Online News Association. Jason is a National Geographic Explorer, an avid underwater photographer, and a great admirer of fish.


Science & environment, conservation & sustainability, fisheries, interactive & multimedia storytelling


M.J., University of California, Berkley, 2014
B.A., College of Santa Fe, 2009

Selected Publications

Giant Carnivorous BatsNational Geographic WILD, 2018. 60 minutes. Director, Cinematographer.

In Search of Tzotz, SplitFrame Media, 2017. 9 Minutes. Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Editor.

Silent River, SplitFrame Media, 2014. 24 Minutes. Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Editor.

Sea of TroublesBay Nature & SplitFrame Media, 2015. 10 minutes. Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Editor.

After Largest Dam Removal in U.S. History, This River Is Thriving  National Geographic, 2016. 3 minutes. Producer, Cinematographer, Editor.

Why Do Bees Buzz? Science Take| The New York Times, 2017. 3 minutes. Producer, Cinematographer

Why Jellyfish float like a butterfly – and sting like a bee | Deep Look. PBS Digital Studios, 2015. 3 minutes. Producer, Cinematographer.

A Spiny Plague | Saveur Magazine, Summer 2018. Photographer.

Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing Oakland Museum of California. Exhibition 2017. Photographer.

You Are Now Alone | Fly Fish Journal Magazine, Fall 2017. Photographer