I have spent the last decade directing and shooting fiction films, music videos, television series, and feature-length documentaries all over the world: from Nunavut, Haiti, and South Africa, to New York and Montreal (where I split my time). Past collaborations include projects with Arcade Fire, The Barr Brothers, Kahlil Joseph, Leif Vollebekk, Clara FureyHalf Moon Run, and Socalled.

With my Juno award-winning band, Bell Orchestre, I have released two records, toured everywhere from the Baltics to the Yukon, and collaborated with the likes of LaLaLa Human Steps and the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra. Our most recent album, House Music, is released on Erased Tapes. I also make music for film, dance, various ensembles, orchestra, and theatre with the immensely talented friends I’m lucky enough to have.

I am committed to exchanges with aspiring filmmakers in communities with limited infrastructure. I taught filmmaking at the Cine Institute in Haiti, where I continue to work and develop projects with Haitian filmmakers and writers, as well as in the Algonquin community of Kitigan Zibi.

I aspire to make films that have the immediacy of music, and to make music that has the evocative energy of film.

I am an IFP Narrative Lab Fellow and an alumnus of TIFF Writers’ Studio, Berlinale Talent Campus, TIFF Talent Lab, and TIFF Pitch This.


Writer/director, Kaveh Nabatian, is an excellent storyteller. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the beautiful musical world of dance, love, and heartache that is Sin La Habana. It’s a world definitely worth exploring.   -Film Threat

Sin La Habana, by Montrealer Kaveh Nabatian (from the group Bell Orchestre) amazes with the singularity of its inventive narrative breath and the vibrancy of its camera, saturated with colour and movement.  -Le Devoir, Louise-Maude Rioux Soucy                                                                                                     

Pour la richesse et l’humanité complexe de chacun des personnages, pour la grande honnêteté de la proposition artistique et pour le regard posé avec soin sur un sujet universel.   -FNC Jury, in awarding the Prix de la Diffusion to Sin La Habana   

Sin La Habana n’est pas qu’un film. C’est une œuvre multidisciplinaire. Un objet d’art.   -La Presse, André Duchesne

As Seen Through Windows, by Bell Orchestre, is an almost architecturally structured affair; its dynamic shifts smoothly achieved, its sonics buffed and squeezed into a panorama of vivid colours.   -BBC Review

This is a powerful piece of filmmaking, an excellent example of the medium’s capacity to aspire to, and achieve, art. Based on a true story, it’s a portrait of a man accepting his identity. With minimal dialogue, Kaveh Nabatian’s film is delicate in places, affecting, but always visually striking. [Vapor]
-Eye For Film

With spare, powerful images and an assured structure, Vapor tells its story like a dance piece. No image is wasted, no moment overplayed. Vapor stays with you long after you’ve left the theatre.   Sudz Sutherland (Filmmaker/TIFF juror)

★★★★ Dérouté, ravi, ému…un exploit . C’est tour à tour émouvant, mystérieux, déroutant, hallucinant. [The Seven Last Words].   -Le Devoir, François Lévesque


  • Canada’s Top Ten Films, TIFF (Vapor)
  • Best Canadian Film, VIFF (Sin La Habana)
  • Prix de la Diffusion, Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (Sin La Habana)
  • Grand Prix du Jury, Les Percéides (Sin La Habana)
  • Best Director, Bend Film (Sin La Habana)
  • Canadian Screen Award Nomination, Best Screenplay (Sin La Habana)
  • Canadian Screen Award Nomination, Best First Feature (Sin La Habana)
  • Gerald Hirschfeld Award for Best Cinematography, Ashland IFF (Sin La Habana)
  • Discovery Award Shortlist, Directors’ Guild of Canada (Sin La Habana)
  • Best First Feature (MISAFF) (Sin La Habana)
  • Best Cinematography (MISAFF) (Sin La Habana)
  • Best Sound Design (MISAFF) (Sin La Habana)
  • Best Production Design (MISAFF) (Sin La Habana)
  • Best Screenplay (MISAFF) (Sin La Habana)
  • Opening Night Film, Reelworld Film Festival (Sin La Habana)
  • Outstanding Director, Reelworld Film Festival (Sin La Habana)
  • Outstanding Actress, Reelworld Film Festival (Sin La Habana)
  • Outstanding Actor, Reelworld Film Festival (Sin La Habana)
  • Outstanding Cinematographer, Reelworld Film Festival (Sin La Habana)
  • Outstanding Screenwriter, Reelworld Film Festival (Sin La Habana)
  • Prix d’Interprétation Masculine, Paris Courts Devant (Dive)
  • Most Original Short Film, Festival du Nouveau Cinema (Nan Lakou Kanaval)
  • Meilleur réalisation québécoise, Regard sur le court-métrage (Nan Lakou Kanaval)
  • Genie Nomination, Best Short Fiction Film (Vapor)
  • Jutra Nomination, Best Short Fiction Film (Vapor)
  • Silver Palm Award, Mexico International Film Festival (Vapor)
  • Prix du Public, Image+Nation (Montreal) (Vapor)
  • Special Mention, International Competition, Shortshorts (Mexico City) (Vapor)
  • Chris Award for Best Narrative, Columbus Film and Video Festival (Vapor)
  • Senior Award, Amsterdam Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (Vapor)
  • Best Cinematography, Prix Prends ça court! (Montreal) (Vapor)
  • Best Sound Design, Prix Prends ça court! (Montreal) (Vapor)
  • Special Jury Mention, Prix Prends ça court! (Montreal) (Holika)
  • Special Jury Prize for Experimental Film, SXSW (Austin, TX) (Upwards March)
  • Juno Award, Best Instrumental Album (with Bell Orchestre)
  • Best Short Film, Directors’ Guild of Canada (Taxi Libre)
  • Top Ten Audience Choice, CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival (Taxi Libre)
  • Honorable Mention, Los Angeles Movie Awards (Taxi Libre)
  • Best New Filmmaker, Toronto Reelworld Festival (Malek’s Poster)
  • Gémeaux Nomination, Best Director of a Children’s Documentary (Je vis ta vie)
  • Gémeaux Nomination, Best Documentary Series (Facteur humain)
  • Winner of Award of Excellence at Alliance for Children and Television (Je vis ta vie)
  • 1st Place, Iron Mule Comedy Festival (NYC) (Love)
  • Finalist TIFF Emerging Filmmaker Competition (Love)
  • 2nd Place, Fantastic Shorts, Fantastic Film Fest (Austin, TX) (Love)
  • Best PSA, Couch Film Festival (Reykjavik) (Love)
  • Winner of Reel Diversity Competition, National Film Board of Canada
  • Award of Merit, Chicago International Film Festival (Sausages)
  • Pitch This! Finalist (Rumba, Mohammed VI), TIFF/Telefilm Canada
  • Best Experimental Album, Gala de Musique Indépendent du Québec (with Bell Orchestre)
  • Screenwriting Grants, SODEC
  • Film Production Grants, SODEC
  • Research and Creation Grants, Quebec Council of Arts and Letters (CALQ)
  • Film Production Grants, Canada Arts Council
  • Banff Centre for the Arts Music Residency
  • Mexico City Screenwriting Residency (FONCA/CALQ)
  • Centro de Artes de San Agustin Oaxaca Residency (FONCA)