Speaker Rick Rosenthal - Scripted 2018

Speaker Rick Rosenthal

Rick Rosenthal


Whitewater Films

Rick Rosenthal is an award-winning veteran producer/director with a dynamic career spanning over 25 years in both film and television. He is also committed to helping launch new filmmakers, with a focus on mentoring young directors and supporting emerging filmmakers in the micro-budget world of independent filmmaking.

Best known for helming the hard-hitting drama BAD BOYS, which helped establish Sean Penn’s career, Rosenthal has directed across diverse genres, ranging from comedy (AMERICAN DREAMER), to coming of age (NEARING GRACE), to horror (HALLOWEEN II - his directing debut - and HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION, one of the franchise's most successful sequels). He has also worked extensively in television, directing ABC’s ground-breaking pilot LIFE GOES ON and was recently nominated for a Directors Guild of Canada award for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. He was also a Supervising Producer on Amazon’s Emmy-winning series TRANSPARENT for the first three seasons.

Recently, Rosenthal directed the independent pilot HALFWAY THERE, starring Matthew Lillard, Blythe Danner, Esai Morales and Sarah Shahi. The pilot premiered at Sundance in the Indie Episodic section and won both Best Dramatic Pilot and the Audience Award at SeriesFest.

Active in the documentary space as well, Rosenthal has been nominated for 2 Academy Awards – for OPEN HEART and CARTEL LAND – and is an Executive Producer on WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR.

Because he never had a filmmaking mentor himself, Rosenthal launched Whitewater Films as a production company committed to helping up-and-coming filmmakers, offering them the assistance and advice he never had. Since 2003, he has produced or executive produced more than 30 films - and productions from Whitewater Films have been invited to Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, SXSW, Tribecca, Berlin, Deauville and have won numerous awards, including two Indie Spirit Awards, two Crystal Bears, a Humanitas Prize, the Audience Award at SXSW and a Best Director Award at Sundance as well as an Academy Award nomination 3 years ago for Best Documentary, Short Subject and a nomination two years ago for Best Feature Documentary.

The company’s name, Whitewater Films, is derived from Rosenthal’s approach to filmmaking. Much like an expedition down a river, a film rarely goes as planned. No matter how much scouting and how much preparation takes place beforehand, once a film enters the rapids of production, inevitably the craft ends up in unchartered waters. At these times, it’s important to have a good team onboard and a veteran river-guide leading the expedition. And that is exactly what Whitewater Films has offered to its filmmakers.

Graduating cum laude from Harvard with a degree in Visual and Environmental Studies, Rosenthal worked as a cab driver, a tennis pro, a metal sculptor, a carpenter, an assistant to a US Senator and a documentary filmmaker for the New Hampshire Network before traveling west to attend the AFI, where he later became chair of the Directing Program.

An avid tennis player, Rosenthal won the Connecticut State Doubles title as a junior and taught tennis in Monte Carlo when he was 19, with wins over the #2 and #3 players on Monaco Davis Cup Team.

Rosenthal currently resides in Los Angeles with his actress-turned-environmental-and-political activist wife Nancy Stephens and three kids, along with a Golden Retriever named Magill.

Speaking at: Going Indie: Return of the pilot

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