FIX - A Film by Tao Ruspoli

Racing across Los Angeles in one unwieldy day, documentary filmmakers Bella and Milo must race from Beverly Hills to Watts — and places in between — in order to get Milo's brother Leo from jail to rehab before 8pm, or Leo goes to prison for three years. A story inspired by true events, the trio documents their trip from a suburban police station in Calabasas through mansions in Beverly Hills, East LA chopshops, rural wastelands, and housing projects in Watts as they attempt to raise the $5,000 required to get Leo into the rehab clinic. Along the way they encounter dozens of colorful characters, all with their own anomalous perspective on Leo's larger-than-life personality and style, and all with their own excuse for why they cannot help out. In the end, it may take the desperate irony of a drug deal to get the necessary funds to send Leo to rehab.

           

Director's Statement: FIX is inspired by a true story: My brother, a very charming, larger-than-life character in real life, was struggling with drug addiction. The law caught up with him, and he was offered a deal by the judge: if he didn’t check himself into rehab in ten days, he would be sent to prison for three years. On the 8th day, he was arrested again, for something else. His lawyer called me, while I was working on a documentary in San Francisco, and said, “If someone doesn’t bail him out of jail and get him to rehab by 8pm tomorrow, he is going to prison for three years.” So I drove overnight to bail him out and soon found out that the rehab wouldn’t accept him without a non-refundable $5000 deposit. Since we didn’t have the money, the day turned into a race to get the funds before the 8 o’clock deadline.

Four years later, my wife Olivia and I had the idea of turning this premise into my first narrative feature film. I knew it was time for me to move into scripted features and I was also dying to work with Olivia, who was developing into an incredible actress. We always joked that while we had gotten married after only knowing each other for 6 months, the real commitment (and risk) it takes to make a film together required four years.

Given my background in guerilla-style documentary filmmaking, I wanted to use the language I had developed in that medium and apply it to my first narrative project. In that way, I hoped to get the best of both worlds: the immediacy and realism of documentary and the structure and story arc of scripted, fictional work. Given advances in digital media, I was also excited by the fact that we could do this without sacrificing my love of photography and “cinematic” imagery.

The process and result turned out to be more gratifying than I ever could have imagined. Seeing Shawn bring his own vision and spirit to the Leo character was delightful. Shooting was adventurous and fun, and bringing the film to festivals around the world and seeing how the film touched people from so many walks of life was more than I ever dreamed of. I am excited for the film to now reach an even larger audience with this fall’s release.

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