Robert F. "Bob" Swaim is an American film director, born in Chicago on November 2, 1943. He grew up in the Reseda area of Los Angeles and graduated from Reseda High School in 1961 and with a degree in anthropology from California State University, Northridge, then called San Fernando Valley State College, in 1965.
Bob then went to France to work on his doctorate in ethnology. He studied at the Collège de France with Claude Lévi-Strauss and Georges Ballandier at L'École des Langues Orientales. However, spending most of his free time at the French Cinématheque, he quickly caught the "film bug" and dropped out of his doctoral program and entered l'École Nationale de la Cinématographie et la Photographie on the rue de Vaugirard, later known as l'Ecole Louis Lumière.
After graduating from "Vaugirard" in 1970, Swaim spent most of the seventies writing and directing documentaries and commercials. Unable to break into the closed world of feature films, he founded, along with several other young filmmakers, a film company to produce their own films.