Rich Underwood

Headshot of Rich Underwood


School of Television, Theater and Film
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Dr
San Diego, CA, 92182
Office: COM 124E
Phone: 619-594-8861

Rich Underwood’s photographic and directorial career has taken him from Photojournalist to Cinematographer, Documentary Filmmaker, Commercial Director/Cameraman and Feature Film Director of Photography. His current emphasis is in Television Commercial and Branded Content. His cinematic work with lighting led to the development and contract for the Birdcage Lantern manufactured and sold by Chimera Lighting.

Underwood’s work has consistently garnished national and international acclaim. Over 60 festivals around the world have awarded and selected his films. Winning both Best American Director and Best Short Documentary in the London Director Awards 2021 as well as taking top prizes in the Sydney International Film Festival – 2021, Angeles Documentaries – 2021, San Diego International Film Festival - 2021, Last Shot Film Festival – 2021, World London Festival – 2021, New Media Film Festival – 2021 and the Indie Short Fest -2020.

Rich’s storytelling work in short screenplays “AM” and “Exposures” and his feature length script “Bumper Fish” have made Official Selection in 15 national and international screenwriting competitions. He is also a published author having penned “Roll!” for Focal Press ISBN978-0240808482.

Rich began teaching at San Diego State University in 2005 and continues with Cinematography as his primary area of instruction. In addition, he teaches the final thesis production classes in both the BA and MFA degree programs. Underwood is the curator of both the Howling Film Festival presenting short horror films for Halloween and the Valentine’s Film Festival. He also curates the TFM department’s “Behind the Scenes Gallery”. Rich created program curriculum for the University of California San Diego’s Digital Arts Center and has been a faculty member of the Maine Media Workshops.

Rich Underwood received a Bachelor’s of Science in Radio and Television from Southern Illinois University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Television, Film and New Media from San Diego State University.

You can view Rich’s work at

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