In 2004, when Jason Knade was making plans to attend college, Moraine Valley was not on his list of choices. However, when his father became seriously ill, the decision was easy for Jason to stay home to be with his dad in his final months. His father passed before Knade started college, but he decided to stick with his plans to attend Moraine Valley to stay close to his mother and brother as the family dealt with their loss.
“I actually have a vivid memory of my dad sitting up in the hospital bed that had become a permanent fixture in our living room, intently reading through the materials for Moraine Valley’s new Honors Program,” recalls Knade. “He wanted to know everything about it. Despite all he was going through, he was still my biggest fan and could still find genuine joy and a deep sense of pride in seeing I was going to make the most out of an opportunity, an invaluable trait among many he modeled and championed over the years.”
Jason was part of the college’s first Honors Program which grouped Honors students who attended almost all of their classes together. “Some very close friendships were formed,” said Knade. “I stay in touch with a few, including one who became – and still is – one of my closest friends.” Knade says at that point he wasn’t sure what he wanted to study and Moraine Valley allowed him to explore a few fields ranging from business to astronomy to literature.
After transferring from Moraine Valley, completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in English at the University of Illinois Chicago and Master of Fine Arts degree at Governors State University, Knade found his career path with a passion for filmmaking.
His projects include narrative films, documentaries, commercials and music videos. He is currently the Creative Director of Behold. He also works with other production companies, including Studio 2253. In addition, he teaches film at Governors State University, Saint Xavier University, Trinity Christian College and at Moraine Valley.
In his professional experience in filmmaking, his work has gained international audiences in countries around the world, including Scotland, England, Palestine, Italy, Canada, Israel, Australia, Taiwan, Germany, France and many more.
Filmmaking can be quite exciting as Knade has filmed special forces jumping out of helicopters shooting a special forces documentary, climbed mountains in Wyoming, and filmed a sitting U.S. president and the Pope. His music videos and commercials have been shown on CNN, Fox, Lifetime, ESPN, Good Morning America, Larry King Live and ABC News, among others. Some of his projects and clients include Nike, Canon, Phillip Morris, Maker’s Mark, Amtrak, The Joffrey Ballet and Subway.
Knade has won countless filmmaking awards locally, in the United States and internationally. He produced a film that was named among the 10 Best Films of the Year and Critic’s Pick by “The New York Times.” Awards include being named Best Chicago Filmmaker two times and winning Emmy Awards by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2016 and 2017.
“I think my experience at Moraine Valley contributed to my professional success in a variety of ways,” recalls Knade. “I met, worked alongside, and studied under a collection of people who were very diverse in every sense. That really broadened my mindset and cultivated an understanding of and appreciation
for others’ perspectives. It also furthered my love of the intellectual life. I continue to enjoy learning and teaching and indulge that passion whenever possible.”
He and his wife reside in Palos Park with their two young daughters. In his free time, Knade enjoys reading – four books a month on average – and playing billiards and chess. Learn more about Knade on his website and on LinkedIn.