A native of Sao Paulo Brazil, Denise studied Social Communication and Journalism in Brazil and completed her studies in Photography, Film and Broadcasting at San Francisco State University. She speaks Portuguese, Spanish, French and English. Denise worked as a news cameraperson in San Francisco. Returning to Brazil in 1987, Denise assisted on documentaries filmed in the Amazon, where she also photographed extensively, producing the photo exhibition Children of the Amazon and shooting the last photographs of the renowned rubber tapper and environmental activist Chico Mendes before his assassination. Her photos of Mendes appeared in Time Magazine and other publications worldwide. During the 1990s, Denise worked as a freelance producer and director for various Sao Paulo production companies. In 1998 Denise returned to the United States to work on Digital Journey, an award-winning public television series that explored emerging technologies in their social, environmental and cultural contexts.
In 2008 Denise completed Children of the Amazon, an ITVS co-production about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and its hope for the future. The film was broadcast nationwide on PBS as well as on European and Latin American television. Children of the Amazon has also won numerous awards, including recognition from the Jules Verne Adventure Film Festival in Paris, satellite-station Link TV’s Award for Outstanding Environmental Film, four Accolade Film Awards including Best Film and Cinematography, and a CINE Golden Eagle award.
Denise has recently produced and directed the short documentaries Trading Bows & Arrows for Laptops and The Surui Carbon Project with Google.org, as Google trains Indigenous Amazonian tribes who are using Internet technology to create maps that record cultural traditions and monitor the forest to prevent illegal logging. Current projects include an eBook she is authoring based on her Children of the Amazon photographs.