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Interview

Gerald Rascionato p2

Director Gerald Rascionato talks about how he came up with the idea for the first person point of view shark movie Cage Dive…

Director Gerald Rascionato said it all began when he was eight or ten years old and his father showed him Jaws. “It always stuck with me, but I didn’t know how I could make a shark movie different,” he said. The film inspired many people, and not just in the thriller genre, he said.
He said he’d always wanted to make a movie that created that feeling of the classic films of his youth, by people like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. But at one point he decided to put away his movie ambitions for a while. “I had actually stopped film making for a year,” he said. “I became a salesman.” He took up telephone marketing and selling insurance. He was due to take his career to the next level with a course in financial planning. But he’d been plagued by back pain for a long time and saw a doctor about it. The doctor referred him to a specialist who said he needed an operation within 30 days. He had bones crushing the nerves in his back. Within about 25 days he’d had the operation and he said the pain was like an elephant was sitting on his back.
Mr Rascionato said there was a saying: when you have your darkest moments, you can see light the brightest. While recuperating in hospital he was watching the Discovery Channel and it was Shark Week. “It reignited my brain,” he said. “I’d always wanted to do a shark film.”
It was then he had the idea for a first person point of view movie about sharks: from the perspective of a person in the water holding the camera as the sharks circled.
He said the first found footage film he’d seen was Paranormal Activity in 2007. “I hadn’t seen The Blair Witch Project”. He remembers the feeling of questioning if the action in Paranormal Activity was real. It was like it was natural and really happening.
He had the idea for the film in December 2012, and phoned people looking for a writer. A friend said the director should write it himself. It took him eight months to write, with some ideas and co-writing with Stephen Lister and others. All up the movie took about five years to make. There were four shoots for the film, each about two weeks duration. The four shoots took place over two years. He said the rest of the time was preproduction, like location scouting, and postproduction like editing and CGI. Pre and post take up the most time, he said.
“I actually pitched the idea to my parents,” he said. “They knew the passion was there.” His parents put up some money, and then he met the principal investor who put up the big money for things like the CGI in the movie. Mr Rascionato said he didn’t want to have dummies of fins or sharks in the movie, he wanted CGI, and it looks very good.

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– copyright Simon Sandall