In the early 1970s, as a teen in the suburbs of Buffalo, New York, Bob Sarles began making films in 8mm and Super8 and videos on half inch reel to reel video. While still a high school student he attended workshops, classes and screenings at Media Study/Buffalo, a regional development center that presented workshops in film and video and provided access to film and video equipment. Sarles received his bachelor's degree in broadcasting and film from Boston University, where he co-produced and edited the short documentary Fantastic, which had its television premiere on Showtime and later was broadcast on KQED-TV in San Francisco.
Sarles was admitted to and spent just one semester attending UCLA's graduate film school before taking an indefinite leave of absence in order to move to San Francisco, where he began his professional career as a film editor. He initially began working on documentaries, corporate and industrial films as an assistant editor and editor, eventually working on the editorial staffs of independent and major feature films as an apprentice, assistant editor and sound editor, while also taking jobs editing music videos, commercials and educational films.
As an apprentice and assistant editor, Sarles worked on the editorial staff of feature films including The Right Stuff, Henry & June, My Blue Heaven and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He was a sound editor on Breakin', Romero, and The Money Tree.
In 1986 Sarles founded his own film production company, Ravin' Films, which was incorporated in 2010. Sarles operates his production company with his longtime filmmaking partner Christina Keating, who is also his wife.
For a year beginning in 1991 Bob Sarles joined the staff of his longtime client, famed special effects company Industrial Light & Magic, as the director of the company's Commercial Editorial Department. There he edited television spots for clients such as Nike, Reebok and Miller Beer working with directors including Michael Owens, Steve Beck, Matthew Robbins, James Cameron, and Barry Sonnenfeld.
Sarles co-edited the Peabody Award winning 1994 documentary mini-series Moon Shot for which he shared a Primetime Emmy nomination for editingand the 1999 ABC documentary The Story of Fathers & Sons. He edited three of the first four seasons of MTV's ground breaking reality television series The Real World. Bob Sarles has worked as an editor of a number of unscripted television series including Bravo's Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and Shahs Of Sunset, FX's Ultimate Fighter, WE's Kendra On Top and Braxton Family Values , Discovery's American Chopper , ABC's The Mole and Making The Band, and VH1's Basketball Wives
Bob Sarles edited award winning music videos for a number of top rock, rap and country artists including ZZ Top's 1984 MTV Best Group Video Legs which was co-edited with Sim Sadler and also received best editing nominations from the MTV Video Music Awards, The Billboard Music Video Awards and the American Music Video Awards, and Green Day's video Longview which was nominated for the 1994 MTV Best Group Video.
Sarles edited the cult zombie horror film The Video Dead, and the feature documentary The True Adventures Of The Real Beverly Hillbillies. He co-produced and edited the feature documentary film Wrestling With Satan. He was principal cinematographer and co-producer of the feature documentary Son Of A Bitch!
Sarles was a producer and editor of VH1's Behind The Music and was a consulting producer on the PBS documentary Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story. He directed and edited films that are on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Experience Music Project in Seattle, and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis.
Sarles has directed music videos for Otis Redding and Jorma Kaukonen. He co-produced, directed and edited the triple platinum selling DVD boxed set Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live for Time Life. Sarles edited and co-directed (with Jay Blakesberg) the concert film Phil Lesh & Friends Live At The Warfield a live concert film featuring Grateful Dead bass player Phil Lesh with his band for Image Entertainment. He directed and edited the DVDs Fly Jefferson Airplane and John Lee Hooker: Come See About Me for Eagle Rock Entertainment. Recording artists Sarles has worked with as a director and videographer include Carlos Santana, Solomon Burke, John Mayer, Ry Cooder, Elvis Costello Les Claypool, Don Was, Roy Rogers, Norton Buffalo, Jorma Kaukonen and Keith Richards.
From 1995 to 2015 Bob Sarles produced and edited over a score of artist tribute films for the annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for artists including Jefferson Airplane Dr. John, Janis Joplin, Buddy Guy, Crosby Stills & Nash, Little Walter, The O'Jays, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Traffic, Dave Clark Five, Black Sabbath, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Pete Seeger, Buffalo Springfield, Miles Davis, Wanda Jackson, Little Anthony & The Imperials, The Ronettes, Patti Smith, Gamble & Huff and The Ventures.
Through his production company Ravin' Films, Inc. Sarles produced a number of oral history interviews for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with artists including: Al Kooper, Barry Goldberg, Eric Burdon, Frankie Valli, Jerry Moss, Stewart Copeland and Wayne Kramer.
Bob Sarles co-directed (with Brett Berns) and edited the feature documentary film BANG! The Bert Berns Story, which had its world premiere at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival and has screened at the Mill Valley Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, Los Angeles' Don't Knock The Rock Festival, Chicago's CIMMFest and the prestigious DocNYC Festival in New York City and a score of other major film festivals and special screenings including the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The film, distributed by Abramorama, will have its theatrical and all media release in the spring of 2017.
Sarles also directed and edited the documentary film Feed Your Head: The Psychedelic Era and produced, directed and edited the well received documentary film Sweet Blues: A FIlm About Mike Bloomfiled that was included as a DVD in the Columbia/Legacy boxed set Michael Bloomfield: From His Head to His Heart to His Hands.