Robert Joseph Flaherty, F.R.G.S. was an American filmmaker who directed and produced the first commercially successful feature length documentary film, Nanook of the North. The film made his reputation and nothing in his later life fully equaled its success, although he continued the development of this new genre of docufiction, e.g. with Moana, set in the South Seas, and Man of Aran, filmed in Ireland's Aran Islands.
He is a progenitor of docufiction and ethnographic film. Jean Rouch and John Collier Jr. would practice and theorise the genre as visual anthropology, a subfield of anthropology, in the 1960s.
Flaherty was married to writer Frances H. Flaherty from 1914 until his death in 1951. Frances worked on several of her husband's films, and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Story for Louisiana Story.