Promotional art for new film The Fishing Hat Bandit
Colin Hall

Director of Photography to Premiere Film on The Fishing Hat Bandit

Mark Brown
Mark Brown, director and producer, captured more than 60 hours of interviews and scenes for the new film. (Mike Ekern)

Mark Brown, director of photography and visual media at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, has directed and produced a new documentary film, The Fishing Hat Bandit. The feature-length documentary will premiere at the 2024 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.

The film explores the life of John Whitrock, aka The Fishing Hat Bandit, who robbed 23 banks in 18 months before his arrest in 2005 in Edina. While adjusting to life outside of federal prison, Whitrock grapples with his past and the trauma he inflicted on bank employees over the course of his crime spree.

Brown has worked for two decades as a photojournalist and marketing/advertising photographer and video producer. His first documentary, Sermon of the Serpent (2014), screened at film festivals across the country and abroad. It won best short documentary at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. Brown has made several other short documentaries, including Gaelynn Lea: The Songs We Sing (2018), about Duluth musician and disability rights advocate Gaelynn Lea. The Fishing Hat Bandit is his first feature-length documentary.

The Fishing Hat Bandit will premiere at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival on April 19 at 7:10 p.m. and Saturday, April 20, at 1:50 p.m. at The Main Theater in Minneapolis. For tickets visit