|"The Caretaker" filmmaker Theo Rigby talks about the complex relationships of every life, the injustice that played a role in Haru's life and connecting with an audience.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being an independent filmmaker?
For me, the most rewarding moments of life as an independent filmmaker is when the work I create truly connects with an audience. When someone comes up to you and thanks you for the work that you do because it profoundly resonated with them, that's what it's all about.
Which filmmakers inspired you to get behind the lens?
Still photographers actually first inspired me to get behind the lens: Eugene Richards, Eugene Smith, Josef Koudelka and early Mary Ellen Mark work, to name a few of many.
Could you list three films that all independent film supporters should take the time to see?
Patricio Guzmán's “Nostalgia for the Light” is both beautiful and harrowing, anything by Heddy Honigmann is sure to be compelling —try “Crazy”—and if you can get your hands on Miklós Jancsó's “Red Psalm” you won't be disappointed.
What do you hope the audience comes away with after seeing your film?
Caretaking is a part of many of our lives in myriad ways. I hope that the relationship between Joesy and Haru in The Caretaker can illuminate some of the very complex relationships that we all have, whether we are caring for someone or in need of help ourselves.
Were you apprehensive about incorporating Haru into your film given her health?
We met Joesy, Haru and Haru's daughter Barbara after Haru's health had begun to decline and she was not verbal. Both Joesy and Barbara agreed to let us film and conveyed to us that Haru had always felt that she had been served an injustice in the internment camps and would have wanted people to know about her story. We knew that at some point Haru would pass away and Joesy would do as she has done for dozens of others and care for Haru until the end.
Was there a particular moment that you found yourself compelled to include in the film, although it was difficult to shoot?
It was very sad, and at times difficult, to see Haru want to communicate and be physical, but her body and mind would not let her. Overall, Joesy cared for her in such honest and loving ways that it warmed our hearts to know that Haru had the best care possible.
Was there an aspect of Josey and Haru's relationship, or Haru's life as a caretaker that you wanted to capture on film but didn't translate as you intended it to?
We pretty much captured their relationship as it was. However, we wished that we had met the couple a few months earlier when Haru could still communicate with words, and they were out on the town much more, visiting with the Fijian community.