Johnny Derango Director of Photography, ICG


Over the past 15 years, Johnny Derango has established himself as a talented, respected, and sought after cinematographer. In his many endeavors as a director of photography as well as a producer, Johnny strives to tell each story truthfully, with equal parts grace and technical prowess, as he thrives on overcoming every projects individual challenges.

Johnny graduated from Columbia College Chicago and continues on as part of the great line of Cinematographers the school has produced, which include former ASC president Michael Goi as well as Academy Award Winners Mauro Fiore and Janusz Kaminski.

After college, at age 23, Johnny began his career with the 35mm feature film "In the Land of Merry Misfits," which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007. Quickly following that, he joined Fox Television's one-hour police drama, "Hollywood Vice." Johnny has also worked as a director of photography for Warner Brothers, Disney, Discovery Channel, TRU TV, and MTV among others.

In addition to his expertise as a cinematographer, Johnny has served as a producer on several of his projects. In 2011, Johnny held both roles on the film "Lost on Purpose," which starred Jane Kaczmarek, C. Thomas Howell, James Lafferty with Dale Dickey and Octavia Spencer.

The movie would team him up again with The Nelms Brothers, writers / directors Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms (they had previously worked on "Hard to Swallow"), a collaboration that would continue for years to come. The film, which centers around life on a dairy farm and the challenges of those who live there, was a love letter to the small hometown where the directors grew up. Lost on Purpose went on to win multiple film festival awards across the U.S. and Canada. It was released in 2013 and continues to have a following.

Johnny's next film with the Nelms Brothers was the comedy "Waffle Street" (2015), which starred Danny Glover and James Lafferty. Inspired by a true story, "Waffle Street" was based on the book of the same name by James Adams, a V.P. of a $30 billion hedge fund, who loses his job and winds up working as a waiter at a Waffle House and learns hard lessons about life, finance, and grits. The film also went on to win multiple festival awards and is consistently highlighted with positive reviews on Netflix in the comedy genre.

His most recent feature, "Small Town Crime", is a thriller with dark humor that showcases an Academy and Emmy level cast. Ex-cop Mike Kendall (John Hawkes) discovers the body of a young woman and, in an act of self-redemption, becomes hell-bent on finding the killer. While his uncouth and quirky detective style helps break open the case, his dogged determination unwittingly puts his sister (Octavia Spencer) and best friend (Anthony Anderson) in danger. Additional cast members include Robert Forster, Clifton Collins, Jr., Michael Vartan, James Lafferty, Daniel Sunjata, Caity Lotz, Jeremy Ratchford, Don Harvey, Stefanie Scott and Dale Dickey. The film received rave reviews after its SXSW Film Festival World Premiere and will be released across the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2017 by Saban Films.

Alongside his feature film projects, Johnny has worked for a variety of global brands including Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, Mandarin Oriental Hotels, Firefox, Napster, Bayer, Nissan and Nestle. He has also shot for famed television producer / director Tommy Schlamme as well as The Player's Tribune, a new media company founded by former professional baseball star Derek Jeter that provides athletes a platform to connect directly with their fans on a special series centered around NBA Star Paul Pierce. Johnny continues to work as a Producer and Director of Photography splitting his time between Los Angeles and Chicago.