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Wyatt Rockefeller knew from a very early age that his future was in filmmaking, but before making his feature-film directorial debut with SETTLERS, he took a detour into public service in the Obama administration. We got to that later in conversation with him on July 20, 2021. A conversation during which we tread very carefully in order to avoid giving away too much about the story of his trenchant film.
Before that, we talked about the art and craft of setting a film about current social issues on Mars. SETTLERS takes place on hard-scrabble farm populated by Remmy and her parents. As far as the child knows, they are the only people on the whole planet, so when strangers show up, Remmy’s faith in everything she thought she knew, including her beloved father, is shaken almost beyond repair. What ensues involves people Remmy’s family and Jerry, the newcomer. Each have mutually exclusive ideas, even violent ideas, about justice, but find themselves forced to live with one another in a tense stand-off.
Rockefeller and I started with getting just the right color landscape for a film set on Mars before moving on to the advantages of genre films in getting a message across, and using multiple perspectives.
We finished up with Rockefeller’s collaborative approach, finding the perfect location, and why his next project will be about Rasputin.