96 – Short Your Way to a Feature with Jon Kasbe

Short Your Way to a Feature with Jon Kasbe

Jon Kasbe may not be a name that you are familiar with… yet. Unless you are intricately connected to film festivals or an avid follower of short documentary films, you may not know of this filmmaker’s work. But he’s most certainly someone that you will soon know, quite possibly with his first feature doc, When Lambs Become Lions, a film about two Kenyan men on opposing sides of the ivory trade. To say it is a thoughtful, engaging, complex look at an issue that you may think that you already know about, would be a vast understatement.

When Lambs Become Lions, director, Jon Kasbe

Jon got his beginning by doing one short film after another.  And that is not to say that he simply churned these films out.  Jon clearly took great care with each and every one of his films. With each short, he cut his teeth, took risks, learning what worked and what didn’t with each short film that he did.  All of this, unintentionally, leading to the first feature doc.

This is a conversation with a filmmaker whom we may all come to know and appreciate over the next few years.  When Lambs Become Lions is one of the most impressive feats I’ve seen in a long time. And his library of short films are equally impressive. There is much to be learned from this doc filmmaker.


Among Topics Discussed:

  • had his first doc experience shooting his grandfather helping a leper colony in India
  • how working in short form – making mistakes & letting some projects go – allowed him the confidence to one day make his feature, When Lambs Become Lions
  • spent a year getting to know his subjects before a camera ever came out
  • the responsibilities & perils in trying to give Westerners a deeper understanding on subjects they make thing that they already know about
  • how Jon used narrative cinema as inspiration, as opposed to documentaries


Related Sources


A Conversation with Doc Filmmaker, Jon Kasbe

Topics include how to start your documentary, the evolution of a story, camera decisions, post production and more.



Clip from When Lambs Become Lions:



View more of Jon’s work by going to his Vimeo page.





On December 4th at 5pm EST US,

we will be hosting a live webinar event,

led by filmmaker & distribution expert, Jon Reiss!


He will be giving his Top Distribution Tips for the Documentary Filmmaker, and it will be followed by a live Q&A where you, #doclifer, get to ask any of those distro questions you’ve long needed answered!


[maxbutton id=”3″]






The Documentary Academy is Live!




The Documentary Academy is a set of immersive courses all complete with in-depth written content, instructional video tutorials, actionable worksheets, an archive of webinars from some of the industry’s best, and a full documentary resources platform.  It is comprised of full step-by-step Academy tracks for :


  • TDA Film Foundations Course
  • TDA Filmmaking Course
  • TDA Film Funding Course
  • TDA Film Distribution Course


[maxbutton id=”2″]



The Documentary Life Community Facebook Group

Want a great supportive doc filmmaking community to be a part of?  Consider the TDL Community facebook Group page!  It’s free and it’s a wonderfully connected group of like-minded individuals all working on their passion of doc filmmaking.




Sponsors & Thank Yous


Free Music ArchiveSpecial Thank You to recording artist, Dlay who supplied music for this week’s episode of TDL. You too can download his music or other artist’s music by going to Free Music Archive today!


Host and TDL Founder, Chris G Parkhurst

Chris is a documentary filmmaker and the founder and host of The Documentary Life, a platform which aims to inform and inspire documentary filmmakers from around the globe.

Leave a Comment