Cinematographer Jimmy Sammarco, was born and raised in Wisconsin by his Mom, an exceptional nurse and role model and his Father, a machinist, Korean War Vet, and founder of the Gypsy Outlaw motorcycle gang in 1958. His strong work ethic is modeled after the example set by his parents.
As a kid, Jimmy was an Evel Knievel fan. He often times would see how far he could jump his bike off of ramps of plywood and bricks. That didn’t always end well. He also loved to play football and baseball. Jimmy’s first film influence was Speed Racer at age 5. He found himself fascinated by the camera perspectives in that animation. He also spent a lot of time watching Sergio Leone westerns & Clint Eastwood films, 2 huge influences to this day.
Jimmy attended Pewaukee High School where managed straight A’s his Junior and Senior year. He also received the Scholar Athlete Award. Jimmy attended the University of Wisconsin Madison on a swimming scholarship where he earned a BA in Communication Arts / Television and Film, and went on to become a world ranked long distance swimmer, following in his father’s footsteps who also swam and competed for the US Army overseas.
Jimmy (center) on set with tWitch and the So You Think You Can Dance all stars.
Jimmy started his business soon after college by producing, directing, and shooting a music video, a genre he loves and is well known for. The video was worthy of a call back from Aerosmith Management, one of his favorite bands. Since then, he has been shooting feature films, documentaries, and video content for top agencies and large corporations. One notable project was for Libman Brooms, the leading manufacturer of brooms, mops and brushes in the US. Jimmy created 20 music video styled videos for this project which featured the So You Think You Can Dance All-stars. He has also created a significant amount of content for John Deere, including 36 videos for their live product intro show. Jimmy is currently shooting health care spots for Health Net and is working on a documentary about the Mental Health crisis in America. Recently he DP’d and Directed a promo for Sharpie and the Wounded Warriors Foundation starring Green Bay Packer legend, quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Creating content for non-profits has become a calling. Jimmy utilizes his experience to create moving videos that raise awareness and support the fundraising efforts of non-profit organizations like Make-A-Wish, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Marwen School of the Arts, HIPPY, The Next Door Foundation, The Sojourner Family Peace Center, The Blood Research Institute, The Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, HIPPY, SITC, and The Adel B. Korkor Foundation.
Jimmy Sammarco on location in St. Louis shooting health care spots
Jimmy also specializes in creating video content for the medical and research industry at the highest level including The Miami Transplant Institute, the world renowned Blood Research Institute, and SITC (Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer). One of the SITC scientists involved with the most recent video project, James P. Allison, PH.D, won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2018. Jimmy has also filmed heart transplants and has directed live multi-camera productions of heart procedures.
Jimmy on location filming the feature film The Surface.
Jimmy has had extensive production experience throughout his career including producing, editing, as well as agency experience as the head of production. This background makes him one of the most well rounded cinematographers and directors of photography in the business. He knows how to shoot for an edit. His ability to light and visually tell a story through a lens is what sets him apart.
Jimmy was the director of photography for the critically acclaimed documentary, SONG SUNG BLUE, which won 8 best documentary awards at film festivals worldwide and was supported by Roger Ebert, Neil Diamond, and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. Jimmy was also the director of photography, and co-producer of the feature film, The Surface, starring Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings, Rudy, Goonies), and Chris Mulkey (Rambo, Captain Phillips, Whiplash, On the Basis of Sex). He also served as the technical advisor for the aquatic cinematography.
Jimmy recently came out of swimming retirement and formed a 6 man relay with 5 of his former college teammates and swam the Maui Channel in 2017. Training has begun for The Maui Channel 2019 Swim. He is also an accomplished metal and woodworker and uses those skills to rebuild classic Airstreams including The Outpost, a multi-functional mobile studio capable of numerous configurations for on location video and film production support. He enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 kids no matter what it is. Favorite color is black. Loves movies, motorcycling, and cooking.
Video of Jimmy swimming in the Maui Channel.