Nathan Bender received his M.S. from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism with a specialization in documentary filmmaking in 2017. His thesis film, “Posture,” explores the controversial world of competitive yoga with three yogis’ and their dreams of winning the USA Yoga Federation gold medal.
Nathan is also an alumnus of Hampshire College, graduating in 2010 with dual-concentrations in ethnographic photography and globalization studies, emphasis on China’s modernization. For the past nine years he's been living intermittently between New York City, San Francisco, and various cities throughout China. He has produced research in both English and Mandarin that incorporate the fields of economics, sociology, and cultural preservation. His projects and ethnographic subject matter include: labor migration in south China's Special Economic Zones; standardizing public education and civil (dis)obedience in Tibet; and China's bourgeoning wine culture demonstrating facets of conspicuous consumption in emerging luxury markets.
For his most recent project in China, Nathan received a Fulbright grant to produce a photographic ethnography covering religious tourism among China's esteemed Buddhist and Taoist sites. The underlying question being; how does a communist government and self-described atheist state promote the capitalization of its spiritual institutions?
After returning to the United States, Nathan interned with Alex Gibney's documentary film team at Jigsaw Productions in New York City. With Jigsaw he worked on several feature documentaries including: "Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine," "Sinatra: All or Nothing," "Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown," and most notably he held an exclusive internship and credit on the film, "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief."