Featured in the IndieFone Smartphone Film Festival, “Rain” was shot using an iPhone 4S. Among other questions, we asked filmmaker Jason Ruscio why he chose this subject and how he went out capturing it. His intriguing answers follow.
MMM: What drew you into filmmaking?
Ruscio: There are many moments I can point to, dating back to seeing STARS WARS at age seven. That said, I’d say the real comittment came when I took a ‘Cinema Studies’ class in junior college. One night they showed a print of “Paris, Texas” (Wim Wenders). It was then I decided I would try this. Soon after, I found myself enrolled in the film program at NYU.
MMM: Are there any filmmakers who have inspired you or influenced your approach?
Ruscio: They are SO many filmmakers that have influenced me. But if forced to name a few, I would say Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Krystoff Keislowski, David Lean, John Cassevettes, and Abbas Kiarostami.
MMM: What made you choose rain as a subject?
Ruscio: Rain is so rare in Los Angeles, it is considered a treat. I live in the historic part of downtown and love the visual affect it has on the streets, buildings, and often overlooked details.
MMM: Why did you shoot using a mobile device–as opposed to a traditional camera? Are there any benefits to using a mobile?
Ruscio: I decided to make a handful of short films on my iphone, while trying to put the pieces together for my next feature film (which can take some time). As for benefits to using a mobile device, I like the fact that it all fits in my pocket.
MMM: Did you use any equipment–tripod, for example–and/or apps?
Ruscio: No tripod. All hand-held. I used only my iphone 4s to both shoot and edit “Rain”. It was shot in just a couple of hours, over the course of two days. As for apps, I did use CinemaFX to help with color and light. I gave it a warm tone, which most don’t associate with rain.
MMM: The movie contains several powerful close-ups–a lock, an umbrella, a sign. Is there any special significance to such items or are they simply part of the landscape?
Ruscio: I like juxtaposing close-ups with wides. I felt this approach worked especially well for a film of this nature. As for the close-ups chosen, I simply shot that which grabbed my eye…and heart.
MMM: Can you say something about the movie’s use of both low angle and high angle shots? Was it difficult to get the shot from high up in the building?
Ruscio: Like with the choice to juxtapose close-ups and wides, the same approach was used with low and high angles. All of the high angles were shot from my balcony.
MMM: Were there any big challenges in making this movie–problems that you had to solve?
Ruscio: The biggest challege I had making this film was that when I shot it, I had a terrible cold. I was also wearing my robe, which drew a few stares.
MMM: Do you have any advice for novices about how to create movies worth watching?
Ruscio: Just make what your heart tells you to make!
MMM: Can you give us a hint about your next project?
Ruscio: I hope to start production on my third feature film, “Calls To Virginia”, before the end of the year. It will probably NOT be shot on my iphone, but you never know. 🙂
You can find more of Ruscio’s work here.