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Derek Knowles

Derek Knowles

Derek Knowles is a filmmaker and cinematographer working in creative non-fiction. His work has been supported by the Tribeca Film Institute, Kartemquin Films, the Berkeley Film Foundation, and California Humanities, featured as a Vimeo Staff pick and on Short of the Week, and has appeared on The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, PBS, Frontline, and Aeon, as well as festivals around the world.

His latest films have explored the relationships between humans and the natural world, most recently with Sentinels, an immersion into the world of tree-sitting and direct action environmentalism, which is featured as part of The Los Angeles Times Short Documentary series after screening at Academy Award-qualifying festivals like Big Sky, Indy Shorts, and LA Shorts. Last Days at Paradise High, which premiered on The New Yorker in August 2020 and After the Fire, winner of the Tribeca Film Institute's "If/Then" Shorts Award and featured on Ryot Films and throughout California PBS stations, explored the human fallout of massive wildfires in intimate, character-driven studies. After the Fire also premiered at Big Sky and later screened at the Cleveland, Maryland, Sun Valley, and Nantucket international film festivals, as well as other festivals around the world.

In 2018, he was an Artist-in-Residence at “thecamp” in the south of France, where he created an interactive media project aimed at connecting young and older generations, and in 2021 was selected for a residency at PLAYA in southern Oregon. He also recently served as a cinematographer for Al Jazeera’s Emmy award-winning series, Fault Lines, and Vice’s Planet A, as well as on episodes of Showtime’s The Circus. He is also one of the directors of photography on Making Time, an upcoming feature documentary on horology from UK-based Halcyon Pictures.

Derek is based between Portland, Oregon and the Bay Area, with frequent stops in Seattle and his Los Angeles hometown. He graduated from Stanford University in 2011.

Films on Vurchel

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