I’m Ben Derico—an independent Director and Cinematographer based in San Francisco, CA. I specialize in character-driven, documentary short stories as well as branded content in both English and Spanish.  As a DP, I've worked on projects following the social life of traditional rug makers in Morocco's Atlas Mountains, learned how donated bicycles from Chicago make their way to rural bike mechanics in Ghana, and documented an amateur American photographer chronicling the lives of rural tobacco farmers in Cuba, just to name a few.
With 8 years of experience Directing spots for agencies like Leo Burnett, BBDO, and IDEO with Sidekick, my commercial production studio, I've managed teams on weeks-long productions, making deadlines, and never compromising quality.
With experience on dozens of different cameras, Adobe & Apple software suites, and an itch to always be on top of the latest in film tech, I've got a proven track record of creating beautiful work that is on the always on the cusp of the latest in the independent film scene.
Beyond my filmmaking skills, I pride myself on being a quick learner in new environments and a trustworthy partner to help bring a story to life.

Work Experience

04.2014 – Present
Sidekick Video
Director | Owner
Chicago,IL  & San Francisco, CA, USA
As the owner & operator of Sidekick, use my skills as a video producer to create commercials and branded content with teams big and small. Apart from my creative and production roles, I also run the business.
 My primary responsibilities include:
  • Pitching content concepts to agencies & direct to clients 
  • Creating shot lists, scheduling pre-production, scouting locations, and managing clients expectations.
  • Shooting, lighting, and managing equipment on set. 
  • Managing teams of 3-10 people (Gaffers, Sound Operators, Production Assistants, Hair & Makeup, & Production) on set and in the field.  
  • Managing post-production processes like editing, color correction, sound design, and motion graphics.
  • Create and manage budgets. Maintain project progress. Keep team on time and on task.
Clients:  Apple, IDEO, Leo Burnett, McDonald's, Advance Auto Parts, and more.
02.2020 – Present
Across the Pond
Freelance Creative Producer
San Francisco, CA, USA
As a freelance producer at ATP I led remote productions around the world in English, Spanish, and Portuguese for Google, Youtube, and other clients in the tech space.
Clients: Google, Youtube, UNO Health
01.2013 – 04.2014
Leo Burnett
Associate Producer
Chicago, IL, USA
As a Producer, I worked with creatives, account teams, and strategists to complete ads for TV, Internet, and Radio throughout the US general and Hispanic markets. With Lapiz, I guided Spanish language recording sessions and kept projects, and the people assigned to them, on task and on time. With my experience in creating video, I aided in creative decisions and presentations of new ideas to clients.
 My primary responsibilities included:
  • Working with creatives to breakdown client briefs and create plans to execute ideas as created.
  • Scheduling pre-production, scouting locations, and managing clients expectations. 
  • Managing post-production vendors like editing, color correction, sound design, and motion graphics.
  • Create and manage budgets. Maintain project progress. Keep team on time and on task.
Clients:  Kellogg's, Allstate, Marshalls, P&G, Chicago Latino Film Festival, FEMA, Leo Burnett internal
01.2012 – 12.2012
The Cocktail
Digital Producer
Madrid, Spain
Developed audiovisual pieces mainly focused on Marketing Campaigns across Social Networking platforms.
 My primary responsibilities included:
  • Shooting & Editing alongside a small team of video, photo, and design creatives
  • Translating & subtitling pieces from Spanish to English. 
Clients: Heineken, L'Oreal, Kellogg's, and Shandy Cruzcampo


Master's of Journalism
University of California - Berkeley
B.A. Digital Film & Media Studies
Loyola University Chicago
Spanish Language Certificate
University of Madrid - Complutense

Additional Credits

Campesino​ (Feature - Documentary)
Cinematographer - Cuba
The Good Container (Short - Documentary)
Director of Photography - Ghana & Chicago

Press & Awards

Toledo's Last Master Sword Maker
Winner - Best Doc Short
Austin Micro Short Film Festival - 2019
Spilt Milk - Interview
Bronze Lion - Cannes 
Video Case - Mexico Board of Tourism
Nominee Best Cinematography - Midwest Independent Film Fest
"Ree" - Short Film
Design Feast - Interview
The Case for Side Projects
Good Magazine - Matthew Hoffman Feature
Project Interview