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As an adolescent, John Barnhardt devoured every film in every genre he could get his hands on, as a film student he would stay late in college and take on extra projects, who’s dreamed of a film career since age nine, when he watched The Road Warrior with his father.  “I want to make movies,” Barnhardt announced to his father as they walked out of the theater. “Good,” his dad replied. An engineer by trade and avid photographer, Barnhardt’s father put a camera in his son’s hands and from that moment on fueled his hunger. “My dad was a true forward thinker, an artist; he saturated me with movies. We’d watch The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now; my dad never filtered what I saw. He loved the classics, too. We’d watch everything then talk about it.” 


After graduating from Colorado State, with a degree in English and Poetry, Barnhardt followed his heart to Charleston, South Carolina, where he began the slow crawl up the film ladder, starting at the bottom working in the Channel Four Newsroom; where he ran the teleprompter, working for peanuts. While he was working his way up the ranks at Channel Four, Barnhardt was taking college classes from Professor Russell Schaaf at Trident Technical College; filming anything and everything he could, including gore-drenched, god-awful (but well-shot) horror flicks, many staged in his Park Circle home.  By doing this John founded his Barnfly Productions company as well as slowly expanded his portfolio.

When Schaaf, his Trident professor and mentor, mentioned that they needed someone to teach a 16mm film class, Barnhardt jumped at the opportunity and spent the next eight years teachingfirst as an adjunct, then full-time faculty member, amassing an entourage of appreciative students, while honing his own technical expertise.

After Trident, Barnhardt went out to build his portfolio even more. As Director/Cinematographer for Born to Explore with Richard Wiese—part of Charleston-based Litton Entertainments Saturday “Weekend Adventure” block on ABC—Barnhardt has traveled the globe, filming thrilling footage nearly face-to-face with gorillas in the Ugandan Jungle; slogging through pools of pigeon poo in Morocco; photographing crocodiles, elephants, you name it. And since winning the Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Photography Emmy for it. 


Barnhardt’s no-holds-barred approach, his relentless push back against mediocrity and complacency, and his deep gratitude to his father and his friends shows, is felt and experienced in all his work.

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