Interview: Isaac Rentz, Director “Opening Night”

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With the San Diego Film Festival last weekend we got the amazing opportunity to interview director Isaac Rentz (IR) and editor-in-chief of FilmSnobReviews William Eguizabal (WE) spend a few minutes discussing his feature debut “Opening Night” his history in the music industry and living like in the copper state.

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WE: Isaac how are you today?

IR: I’m good William how are you doing?

WE: Awesome! I really wanted to thank you for your time! I appreciate you taking time off of your busy festival circuit to talk with me a little bit here.

IR: Oh no it’s so nice of you! I appreciate you taking the time to interview me.

WE: Oh not a problem. The first thing I wanted to talk to you about was “Opening Night”. What would you tell the people that are going to read this about “Opening Night”

IR: Oh! That is a good question! We always describe it as a musical for people who hate musicals. It’s a comedy that takes place backstage at a Broadway musical on of course opening night. It has a really irreverent, fun take on all the craziness that can happen backstage. I think it’s the type of film though that can still speak to people who like musicals and Broadway  just as much as it would those that don’t enjoy those things.

WE: Now looking at this, this is your first feature correct?

IR: It is, yeah!

WE: You’re more known for your work in music videos, particularly rock videos. I do have some questions about that if you don’t mind? I mean I know a lot of the bands you’ve worked with?

IR: Really? Cool!

WE: Yeah, so with that said who are some you’ve enjoyed working with?

IR: You know I got my start in music videos and had been doing that since 2009. I’ve had an opportunity to work with some great bands, but I’m really proud of the work I’ve done with Cage the Elephant because I have a really good relationship with their lead singer. We sort of plan the music videos out and it is a really collaborative experience. I’ve been really lucky I’ve worked with some amazing people from Eminem to Tegan and Sara, .fun to Walk the Moon. It’s really all over the map but one thing I think they all have in common is that they want to do something that is a little different from your average alternative rock video.

WE: Having seen a couple of your video myself, Particularly your work with Motion City Soundtrack and Hot Rod Circuit.

IR: Are you a Motion City Soundtrack fan?

WE: Oh yeah, they just played their last ever show, isn’t that tragic?

IR: Yes those guys are great!

WE: So from a cinematic standpoint when we look at your film who are some of your influences? What kind of director are we looking at?

IR: I’ve always grown up loving ensemble comedy films. I love Woody Allen films. A Fish Called Wanda was a favorite of mine. Also Wet Hot American Summer. Any film where there are intertwining storylines. I loved Arrested Development when that first came out that was a big one for me. I’ve always liked ensemble comedies that are able to tell a story that’s fast-paced and fun.  That’s a lot of what got me very excited about this project. I’ve seen (the film) about 500 times now but I still get excited when I see all the storylines coming together. I just have always thought that really fun in a comedy.

WE: I can see that. So something where varying storylines sort of connect.

IR: Yeah. I think we got to really have fun with that because the whole film takes place in one night and everything is intertwined. I think that just makes for some really great comedic moments and cool opportunities for different characters to interact with one and other. I think that’s part of what makes the movie so fun.

WE: I think you’re on to something with that. Now I did have a few other questions. From what I understand you’re from Arizona, right?

IR: I grew up in Arizona.

WE: As did I, it’s a…interesting place.

IR: Where were  you at?

WE: Northern Arizona, up by the Nevada border, and you Isaac?

IR: Flagstaff.

WE: Now is that your connection to .fun because Nathan Reuss is from Arizona and if I’m correct he was in The Format.

IR: No, you know while I was in college I designed band merch.

WE: Ah!

IR: Yeah, so one of the bands asked me to make a music video for them and one thing led to another and you know I decided I wanted to do that rather than pursue my teaching degree. That’s kind of how I ended up directing. Kind of a left turn my senior year of college.

WE: That’s how it always is isn’t it?

IR: Yeah I think so. I don’t think anyone plans to direct.

WE: No one plans for that?

IR: It’s really rare when someone does.

WE: Isaac thank you so much for letting me converse with you today. I hope everyone will check out “Opening Night” when it hits theatres near them

IR: Oh you’re welcome thanks for having me!

Check out “Opening Night” starring Topher Grace, Anne Heche and Taye Diggs, when it opens up near you and for that info please be sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @FilmSnobReviews.

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