HAPPY BIRTHDAY RITA
film by stephen gurewitz
 
 
vhcle- Where are you based out of?
 
stephen gurewitz: Minneapolis, MN
 
vTell us a little about yourself and how you got started in the film industry.
 
sg: I make a living selling tickets at a theater box office and bussing tables (at a restaurant, not at the box office).  My free time is spent working on the film. So I don't know if I consider myself part of the industry yet.
 
v: What inspires you about film?
 
sg: Making something. I suppose it goes without saying, but starting from a script and adding each layer until you have a final product is rewarding. I like movies - making them and watching them. I'm not even sure I'm any good at it, but I'm certain I'm not good at anything else.
 
v: How did Happy Birthday Rita come about? What is Happy Birthday Rita about?
 
sg: I was going to New York, a couple of my friends met me out there and we decided to make a movie. We spent a month on writing and pre-production, and then a little over a month shooting it. We had a very small crew (about five, depending on the day) all living together in a studio apartment in Brooklyn. It was located in the basement, with no windows or natural light, and the neighbor snored really loudly (which in comparison to the racket we probably made, was like needles dropping on a sofa cushion. So bless the guy for putting up with us).  It was close quarters. When sleeping in the same bed as your Cinematographer, "pillow talk" quickly devolves into going over the next day's shot list.
 
We had seen plenty of really great movies being made independently with little to no budget. We followed that lead. It's talked about quite a lot, but it really is a great time – given the technology – to go out and make your own projects. Again, it's been said, but if you have a camera, people, and an idea, there should be nothing holding anyone back – save for maybe transportation. Though I'm thinking of cutting that out of the next project which would be staged entirely in my bedroom at home.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
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v: Is there a particular audience that you are trying to appeal too?
 
sg: Hopefully...  
 
One element of the story is the age gap between the two main characters, so I think it could garner an audience on either end of that spectrum. Or others interested in this type of low-budget filmmaking. Or my parents, they always seem to have nice things to say about our movies.
 
v: Is there anything you would want the viewer to walk away with after having seen this film?
 
sg: It'd be great if they'd feel inclined to watch the movie another time through.  That's what I look for in a movie, the desire to go back and revisit the characters and the story.  
 
v: Any other projects that we should be looking out for?
 
sg: Currently we have a short film, Winter Lilacs, showing at a couple of festivals. Then once we finish post-production on Happy Birthday Rita, we'd like to go right into our next one (while finishing a short documentary we've been working on).
 
v: When can we look forward to seeing Happy Birthday Rita?
 
sg: Late spring, early summer. Not sure if we'll be in festivals or just wandering around independent theaters in different cities, but we'll get it out there somehow.
 
vAny last words for us?
 
sg: I guess I should note on behalf of the aforementioned Cinematographer, at his insistence, we slept head-to-toe.  - v
Q&A Stephen Gurewitz | vhcle- magazine
 March 2009
 
For our series on today’s culture topics we feature an interview with Stephen Gurewitz, independent filmmaker of soon to be released Happy Birthday Rita (and currently Winter Lilacs). Not only is he a talented individual, but we think humorous as well.

[watch] 

WINTER LILACS  
A Short Film By Stephen Gurewitz 


Chet Harvey lives with his mother Bernadette. When faced with moving her to an assisted living home, Chet attempts to make his Ma' proud by getting a date with "a beautiful girl.”http://nofatclips.com/02008/10/05/lilacs/Winter_Lilacs-wartez.mp4shapeimage_5_link_0
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