© 2024 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

U of O Alum Returns With Oscar Accolades, Behind-The-Lens Expertise


A University of Oregon graduate turned acclaimed cinematographer is back at his alma mater. Jake Swantko – who filmed the Oscar-winning documentary “Icarus” -- is talking about his craft as well as the importance of journalism. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Swantko says this is his first time back on campus since he graduated in 2011. Now a Brooklyn resident, Swantko’s enjoying the acclaim “Icarus” has received. The film looks at the doping scandal that kept Russian athletes out of the Olympics.

Credit YouTube.com / Netflix
A screen shot of the "Icarus" trailer.

[BRIEF CLIP:] “Two people connected with the Russian doping program are already dead.” “There never was anti-doping in Russia, ever.”

Swantko says having a journalism degree prepared him well for cinematography.

“Journalism actually gave me a great toolkit," Swantko tells KLCC. 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Jake Swantko, 2011 U of O alum, back on campus.

"To really pay attention to the minutiae, the idiosyncrasies of people, and a lot of that has sort of dovetailed into my cinematography, so now I actually can interview people as well, I can carry on conversations and lead scenes.”

Swantko went to seven different countries for “Icarus.” He says he enjoys connecting with his subjects, which helps him score the perfect shot. 

Swantko's talk is scheduled for 2pm Tuesday (5/8) at McKenzie Hall on the U of O campus in Eugene.


Hear an extended interview between KLCC's Brian Bull and U of O alum Jake Swantko, about his cinematography work, including his criteria for a winning shot and his earliest inspiration.


Credit YouTube.com / Netflix
Another clip from the "Icarus" trailer.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
Related Content