Jonathan Niles Heckman is a documentary photographer & filmmaker with a background creating visuals for commercials, game cinematics, and Hollywood. As a street photographer, he’s used to shooting authentic moments candidly. This carries into his filmmaking by always aiming to cinematically document subjects to tell compelling and often times unconventional stories.

As an autodidact and student of philosophy, he aims to insert life wisdom into everything he creates. Occasionally sharing insights in his essays, podcast Novelty Generators, alternate media appearances, and his photography blog Philosophical Photography.



Years of experience in a variety of feature film and high-end commercial post-production artist roles led him to become an On-Set Visual Effects Supervisor, where he was responsible for overseeing plate photography with New Line CinemaWarner Brothers20th Century Fox, and Marvel Studios. After having been a member of three Academy Award winning teams shared between the Animated Feature and Visual Effects categories, he specialized in cinematography on both the live-action and computer graphic fronts. His camera work in the game cinematic industry resulted in multiple Visual Effects Society award nominations for outstanding achievement in virtual cinematography, receiving the award in 2011. 

After working on large professional teams as an artist and supervisor he began focusing on more original live-action filmmaking. In 2010 he started writing and directing projects through his film production company called AURORA-LAB. His award-winning short film Supervised was released to festivals in 2013 and his second short film, a science fiction concept test called Auroras was completed in 2014 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. His third narrative science fiction story, Tin Soldier is being developed as a graphic novel and future narrative film projects called Terra Incognita and The Master Who Makes The Grass Green are in development.

Always working to expand his artistic expression and personal growth into more conscious content, Transmutation is his first dive into the realm of feature documentary film making and he is also the co-creator of the episodic show Shamans of The Global Village. He provides direction for the Bay Area-based production company Only The Source.



Psychedelic Milk #43
Third Eye Drops - Mind Meld 38
Grimerica Podcast #199
In A Perfect World Podcast #114: Shamans of the Global Village
C-Realm Radio 019
An Introduction to Shamans of the Global Village on Medium
World Premiere of Shamans of the Global Village at the Raindance International Film Festival
Grimerica Podcast #121
Work Influenced by Direct Experiences on
Melted Snow Podcast 08
Preamp Podcast 012 - A surrealistic talk-radio/music/stream of consciousness object
Psychedelic Salon #422 - Visualizing the Psychedelic Experience
Kramer & Heckman Zoom In
In A Perfect World Podcast #88 - Psychedelic Design in Hollywood
2014 Project Greenlight Submission
Directors Notes Auroras interview
Auroras Kickstarter Pitch
New Filmmakers Los Angeles & Moviemaker Magazine Interview
Mini Cinema Interview 
New Filmmakers red carpet Interview
Directors Notes Supervised interview  
Novelty Generators Podcast #000


2016 Palenque Norte Lecture Speaker
2014 Palenque Norte Lecture Speaker
2005 Visual Effects Society Panelist



Best Sci-Fi Short Film "Supervised" - 2013 Burbank International Film Festival
Honorable Mention & Best Special Effects "Supervised" - 2013 LA New Wave International Film Festival
2012 VES award nominee: Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Broadcast Program or Commercial for Toyota GT86 - The Real Deal
2011 VES award winner: Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Broadcast Program or Commercial for Gears of War 3 - Dust to Dust
2011 VES award nominee: Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Broadcast Program or Commercial for Ghost Recon - Future Soldier "Camo Up"
2009 Academy Award and BAFTA Award winning team member for Avatar - Best Visual Effects
2008 Academy Award and BAFTA Award winning team member for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Best Visual Effects
2008 Visual Effects Society award winning team member for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture
2006 Academy Award winning team member for Happy Feet - Best Animated Feature


Current Ventures


Visual Effects Facilities Worked For


Studios Worked With


Production Companies Collaborated With


Game Companies Collaborated With