I’m Ben Derico—an independent Documentarian and second year student at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Hailing from the midwest, I now call San Francisco home.

In Chicago I spent almost a decade creating commercials as a producer, director, DP and editor alongside creative folks from agencies like Leo Burnett, BBDO, and IDEO.

Eventually the time came to go out on my own. So, in 2014 I opened Sidekick, a commercial studio where I crafted videos for large brands like Apple and Google, as well as small independent companies.

At Berkeley, I'm deepening my skills as a journalist and building upon my production background. During my first year I produced stories following the struggles of Bay Area Crab Fishermen in the wake of a devastating fire amid the raging pandemic, published a video documenting the hurdles of online learning for English Language Learners in San Francisco's Public Schools, and captured the story of a independent baseball league breaking out from the control of the MLB

For my Master's thesis, I'm creating three short films designed to educate and inform internet viewers about little known problems that are right under their noses.

I've filmed and edited videos for large outlets like The Washington Post and BBC III, as well as smaller, niche publications like Brownbook and Passion Passport. Original print and photo reporting can be found in  publications like SFGate.

I love short, non-fiction stories so much that I do my best to cover them in both English and Spanish. I pride myself on being not just a steady technical hand on set, but a quick learner and trustworthy partner to 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 –02.2021
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

FLAS Fellow - Portuguese - US Department of Education
UC Berkeley - Institute of European Studies: 2020-2021

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