Featured Artist: Rind-Raja Picture Company

by Dominica Malcolm

The next Bay Area Film Mixer will be featuring a music video and demo reel screening from Rind-Raja Picture Company, run by local filmmakers Roth Rind and Jay K. Raja. They kindly and jointly answered some questions about the music video and other projects they’ve worked on.

To check out the screening, head to PianoFight on Tuesday August 30th, 7-10pm. REGISTER your attendance online now for free!

Rind-Raja Picture Company
DM: Tell us a little about the inspiration behind the music video that will be featured at the upcoming Bay Area Film Mixer on August 30th.
RRPC: ‘Open Eyes’ was an evolutionary process; it started from a simple concept of doing silhouette play with dancers and grew into a much bigger visual piece as well as a very personal project for us. We wanted to do something that would show our struggle between appealing to commercial interest and expressing ourselves artistically. The visuals of the video were shaped around this idea, and we were very enamored with the pairing of the personal themes with Adara’s distinct vocals and music.

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DM: You’ve worked on many different types of productions, including music videos, as mentioned above, as well as narrative film, commercials, and so on. How do you manage switching gears between productions, especially when the projects are very different?
RRPC: Every project is the same in the sense that we’re always trying to tell a story. It helps being committed to the ideal of strong storytelling because it’s such a strong guiding force in putting together a video. Even the most corporate of videos benefits from a well-told, cohesive narrative – it helps connect a video with the viewer’s emotions, whether it’s for selling cell phones or taking us on an interstellar journey.

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DM: Watching Rind-Raja’s demo reel, it looks like you’ve worked on some pretty incredible locations. Tell us about one or two of the more challenging locations you’ve worked with.
RRPC: We completed a film earlier this year called Spec 9 that was just as much about car racing as it was about family. The main location was a old barn that housed a vintage race car that Jennifer, the main character, finds and ends up restoring and racing. The challenge was finding a barn that would serve all our needs, which ended up being two separate locations for interior and exterior. To top it, we required pick-ups from the interior location which was no longer available to us, so we ended up reconstructing a set on stage to match the original interior location perfectly. All in all, three separate locations shot on three separate days are cut between each other seamlessly in one scene.

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DM: Film production is such a collaborative process. How have you gone about finding talented cast and crew to work with, and what have been some of the advantages of working with Bay Area based cast and crew?
RRPC: It comes down to finding flow with other people. That feeling when you can anticipate each others’ creative needs as well as get along on a personal level, which is of course important when you’re spending 12 hours a day with someone for weeks on end. And this is only achieved with consistent work and open communication – it took us a year or so from when we started to really assemble a crew where everyone respected and liked each other, as well as worked hard and well together. Now, we have an always growing A-team that we can call upon when we have a show, and it feels like a family reunion every time. That’s something I think is really only possible in the Bay Area, where the community is smaller and so genuinely in love with filmmaking.

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Rind-Raja Picture Company Bio:
What do you see? It’s a question with seemingly infinite possibilities that we ask all of our clients and artists. What we’re looking for is the seed of inspiration that sprouts an artistic venture. Whether it’s an image, or a character, or sound, a vision starts with something that strikes a chord in our creative selves. Started in 2013 by Bay Area natives Roth Rind and Jay K. Raja, the partnership formed from a mutual pursuit of strong storytelling in motion picture. Along with a sense of humor and a mutual love for Jurassic Park, Rind-Raja has grown its network of talented collaborators and is proud to enable the visions of its clients and fellow artists.

Come watch the ‘Open Eyes’ music video, Rind-Raja’s new demo reel, and meet Roth Rind and Jay K. Raja of the Rind-Raja Picture Company in person at the Bay Area Film Mixer at PianoFight on Tuesday August 30th, 7-10pm. Let us know you’re coming by registering your attendance online now for free!

Featured Filmmaker: Evan Weidenkeller

by Dominica Malcolm

Evan Weidenkeller’s short film Dreams We Share will be featured at the next Bay Area Film Mixer on June 13 at PianoFight (RSVP for free on Eventbrite). I got to have a sneak preview of the film, which looks incredible. It’s beautifully shot, and the actors have a great connection with each other. Evan kindly answered some questions for me ahead of the Film Mixer, and will be available to answer some more after the screening at PianoFight.

DM: What was the inspiration behind the story in Dreams We Share?

EW: At first it started out when Angel Onchanthorn and myself were talking on the couch one day about how nice it would be to make a simple film about two people discussing their dreams and memories with each other. And a couple months go by and nothing came from it. Until, one day while sitting in a park I saw two people across from me talking amongst themselves. Enjoying their time in the sun and I realized I knew nothing about these people nor the world they lived in. I knew nothing of their past, nothing of their future, and all I could ever know about them was what I could see at that moment in the present. And I realized then and there, that was how I wanted to treat this story. I wanted to tell a simple story about two people and by the end of the film we learn something beautiful about them. Something we could only learn by watching them in the present. So I ran home and sat in my pitifully dark room for two weeks and the film you see today was the end result.

DM: I really loved the cinematography, sound design, and editing in Dreams We Share. How did you go about assembling your team to work with?

EW: After I had written the script, I sat down for days on end, drawing out every single shot and composition. I knew right off the bat that this was going to be a visually dominant film. The look and direction I was aiming for, to say the least, was a little unnatural at times so I was definitely going to need someone who could trust my judgement and trust that what I’m asking for will make sense in the final outcome of the film. Angel Onchanthorn was the perfect fit for this project. He basically knows what I want before I can even speak. We have this connection, this mental bond when it comes to making films. We understand each other and he can trust in my direction without question. It’s because of those qualities that we can work so well together.

DM: Are there any writers or directors that inspire your work as a writer and director? 

EW: My love for other writers and directors never seems to end. I’m constantly admiring the works from Alex Garland, Denis Villeneuve, Guillermo Del Toro, Danny Boyle, Alejandro Inarritu, and the list goes on and on while at the same time constantly changing and growing. In this particular moment in my life I’m finding myself to be deeply inspired by the works of Tom Hooper whose visual style and direction is exceedingly beautiful far beyond any words can describe.

DM: What types of stories are you drawn to in film?

EW: I truly believe that the strongest films out there are the films whose visual style perfectly coincides with the tone and story of the film. Films that are basically talking heads, jumping from scene to scene, always lack an emotional connection with the audience. A connection that can only be understood through visual storytelling. It’s like the old saying goes, don’t tell me that the characters are happy, show me that the characters are happy. And it’s those films that I find myself constantly drawn to, like the works from Sicario, or The Danish Girl. Those films are perfect examples of how to use visuals to enhance a story.

DM: Where are you at with your next film project, and are you looking for anyone new to collaborate with?

As of now, I’m currently in pre-production with my next project, another short film. But it is going to be the biggest film I’ve ever made in my career so far and I think it’s going to be the stepping stone I need to help jump start myself into shooting my first feature film. However, at this time, I can’t openly discuss what that project is but what I can say is that I will be looking for a Cinematographer who has a keen eye or familiarity with early Impressionist paintings. That’s all I’ll say.

Dreams We Share poster; directed by Evan Weidenkeller

Evan Weidenkeller studied filmmaking while he was growing up in Long Beach, CA, and moved up here to finish his studies and to continue making narrative films. His goal now is to create one more short film before moving on to filming his first feature film up here in the Bay Area.

Dreams We Share follows two girls, caught in a war, discussing dreams and memories with each other while the war draws in closer towards them.

Remember, you can watch Evan Weidenkeller’s short film Dreams We Share at the next Bay Area Film Mixer on June 13 at PianoFight. He’ll be there to answer any additional questions you may have after the screening. RSVP for free on Eventbrite!