AN INTERVIEW WITH ROSARIO RIEGER, WRITER, DIRECTOR & PRODUCER OF "THE THINGS IN BETWEEN"
Winner: Best LGBTQ Film - June 2021 Edition
WRITER, DIRECTOR & PRODUCER
Rosario Rieger is a passionate freelance filmmaker living in the Emerald city.
Raised in Gresham, Oregon, her love for films became an obsession at an early age and continued on. She has worked as a script consultant and associate producer in Seattle's independent film community since 2012. She received her B.A. in psychology from Portland State.
During this time, her love for cinema grew stronger day by day. She made the life changing decision to pursue her passion and studied filmmaking the Seattle Film Institute in 2012. She was later asked to become a part of the acting program in 2014. Studying acting expanded Rosario's career of writing & directing. Most notably, she was the script consultant on Wallflower, a 2019 crime drama film that premiered successfully at SIFF and screened in AMC theaters across America.
In June 2021, Rosario won Best Thriller at the Toronto International Women Film Festival for the directorial debut of her film that she wrote and co-produced, "The Things In Between".
. The Things in Between (2020)
Best Thriller Award/ Official Selection
Toronto International Women Film Festival
. Wallflower (2017)
Hello Rosario, nice meeting you. This is your first film as a Director. How did you decide to jump ships from acting to directing?
My original passion was filmmaking. I always knew I wanted to write and direct films. I went to film school to study filmmaking, and acting was something I fell into unexpectedly.
So, it was a seamless transition for me.
You studied psychology. Do you think that it has an influence on how you express your vision in cinema and, more extensively, what do you think of academical knowledge of psychology as applied to the Arts, whether literature, music, or any other form?
Yes, most definitely. I assess what the psychology of each scene is, and that dictates the visuals and blocking for each scene. I believe all art is reflective of the psychology of the person who made it.
How do you think your experience as an actress will impact your career as a filmmaker?
My experience as an actor does impact how I direct actors. I think I can communicate with actors in a more insightful way as a director because I’ve been in their shoes. Having a deeper understanding of what an actor goes through, in turn, allows me to direct them more effectively.
Along the same line, what was it like casting actresses, while likely being "in the know" of what challenges they must be dealing with as they faced your camera?
I have more empathy for their challenges. It was fun and exciting casting the players. I think I was more enlightened while casting my actresses because I knew how to prepare them for the performance challenges that were ahead of them.
In your Director's statement, you declare that you "believe film is the most powerful medium." Would you care to expand on this?
Because film encompasses many art forms within it. A film forces an audience to see things from different perspectives; it triggers empathy in a way I don’t think other art forms can.
It can explore the human spirit in a way that I believe is all-powerful.
Were you aware, before shooting this your first film, of every technical aspect you were going to have to deal with and decide on? How did you pick your technical team, from DoP to Editor, Sound, post-production collaborators?
No, I wasn’t fully knowledgeable about every technical aspect. I hired knowledgeable crew who I felt were strong in their craft. Then it’s a matter of knowing how to communicate with them about your vision. I also strategically decided to have women in several key crew positions. I also made my crew decisions based on their excitement about the script.
What is the biggest "lesson", not in a negative sense, but rather a factual one that you took from this first shoot and that will be useful for making your next film? And, what is your next film?
My biggest lesson on this project was, don’t wait for someone to allow you to make a film. Pave the way yourself. Be bold. As a woman and person of color, I knew this mountain to climb would be harder for me than for some. Had I not used my own money to produce this, I don’t think anyone would have given me the privilege to direct anything.
I learned the most about what it takes to produce a short film from beginning to end.
I’m currently developing a dark comedy miniseries idea with another filmmaker who shoots footage of the band "Slip Knot".
Short statement describing your vision of the post-Covid cinema, do you think there will be notable changes?
I think the landscape of filmmaking is changing because of covid. My vision is that filmmaking will continue and that sets will be safe and corona free. I think there is a shift in some of the stories being told, because of the hardships of some of the people who are making them now. The stakes are even higher.