Ben Derico

Ben Derico

Class of 2022

I’m Ben Derico—an independent Documentary Filmmaker 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 building upon my production background and deepening my skills as a journalist. By developing a stronger understanding of story and how to properly report them, I hope to use my camera to share stories about the human experience.

Before officially becoming a journalist at the J-School, I worked on documentaries following the social life of traditional rug makers in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, tracing the path of donated bicycles from Chicago to rural bike mechanics in Ghana, and recalling the tales of the last Master Sword Maker forging blades in the famed medieval Spanish city of Toledo.

My work has been featured in large outlets like The Washington Post, SFGate, and BBC III, as well as smaller, niche publications like Brownbook and Passion Passport.

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.


Additional Clips & Published Work of note:


Here/Say – Thousands Of San Francisco Kids Learn English At School. It Isn’t As Easy Over Zoom. 

SFGate – Why the pandemic may be leading to more abandoned boats on the SF Bay

The Washington Post – David Axelrod on the Iowa Caucuses

Passion Passport – Toledo’s Last Master Sword Maker 

Brownbook – Profile, Dr. Omar Kholeif 


  • UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism - (M.J. Candidate 2022)
    Loyola University Chicago - (B.A. 2011)


  • Across The Pond - Freelance Creative Producer (02/20 - Present)

  • Sidekick Video - Director | Producer (04/14 - Present)

  • Lapiz/Leo Burnett - Associate Producer (01/13-04/14)


  • US Department of Education FLAS Fellow (Portuguese - Institute of European Studies) 2020-2021

    US Department of Education FLAS Summer Fellow (Portuguese - Institute of European Studies) Summer 2021


  • SFGate - February 2021 - "Why the pandemic may be leading to more abandoned boats on the SF Bay."

    Here/Say - March, 2021 - ""


  • Video Consortium - (SF/Bay Area)


Arts and Culture, Health & Environment, History, Language, Sports, human experience, water