Director’s Cut: Roger Rapoport, Richard Riehle and “Pilot Error”

On this week’s Director’s Cut, it is my pleasure to welcome two very esteemed guests to discuss the film Pilot Error. The film’s producer, Roger Rapoport and renowned character actor, Richard Riehle, join me in studio. Rapoport is one of the most innovative producers I’ve met in the indie game when it comes to getting films made, from lining up financing all the way through post production. Riehle has appeared in over three hundred films and made countless television appearances. Two of his most notable credits include Office Space and Casino. Riehle is a native Wisconsinite, born and raised in Menomonee Falls.

Pilot Error is an ambitious project for an indie producer but Rapoport and his team were up for the challenge. When a film involves a plane crash, it’s hard not to think “big studio budget.” The film has a nice narrative about an investigative reporter who loses a friend in a plane crash in the Atlantic Ocean, and loses her job to uncover the truth. The production value is excellent for an indie film. Emmy Award-winning composer Garth Neustadter scored the film.

Pilot Error has not only played in hundreds of theaters thanks to an ambitious self-distribution campaign, it has also helped change regulations in the airline industry and bring awareness to issues such as faulty equipment. Rapoport is as proud of the whistle blowing aspect of his film as he is of the film itself.

This is actually Rapoport’s second film on Director’s Cut. I had the pleasure of discussing his film WaterWalk a couple seasons ago,  which Riehle also appeared in briefly. This was also my second opportunity to spend time with Riehle. He and I both appear in the upcoming film Aquarians which was shot in Marinette, Wis. this past January. I can honestly say he is as genuinely nice guy who is professional and serious about his craft.

Make sure you check out the Director’s Cut website for extras including interviews with the director Joe Anderson, lead actress Kate Thomsen and numerous aviation experts Rapoport consulted while writing the film.

Pilot Error is a great film to close out our ninth season of Director’s Cut and Director’s Cut Presents, so please tune in to Wisconsin Public Television – your home for independent film – this Friday night starting at 9 p.m. Thanks for watching and see you next season!

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