RICE

Sebastian lives in isolation until he meets Helen. Their uncommon values leave a strong impression on each other that changes their outlook on life. As a result, they find themselves tying loose ends in personal matters, until they meet again. But then Helen is visited by Giselle, a friend from the past.

ATT: Due to language itself being a theme in this story, RICE is only subtitled in three languages and no others, by director's choice.

To watch the trailer with either English, French or Spanish subtitles please access the three trailers on RICE's website's through the link posted here, below to the right under "Project Links". ⬇︎ ➜


  • Alex Vargas
    Director
    SHASTA, The Healer
  • Alex Vargas
    Cinematographer
    SHASTA, The Healer, Home Alone
  • Alex Vargas
    Producer
    SHASTA, The Healer
  • Alex Vargas
    Writer
    SHASTA, The Healer
  • Valérie Fortin
    Key Cast
    “Helen”
  • Alex Vargas
    Key Cast
    “Sebastian”
  • Tatjana Dzambazova
    Key Cast
    “Giselle”
  • Alex Vargas
    Executive Producer
    Shasta, The Healer
  • Katie McFadden
    Executive Producer
  • Beth Hayes
    Executive Producer
  • Alex Vargas
    Editor
    SHASTA, The Healer
  • Alex Vargas
    Composer
    SHASTA, The Healer
  • Alex Vargas
    Sound Design
    SHASTA, The Healer
  • Film Type:
    Feature
  • Genres:
    Art House, Art Film, Intercultural Drama
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 45 minutes 4 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 20, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    130,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Argentina, Denmark, United States
  • Film Language:
    English, French, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1:85 or 16:9
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Nice International Filmmaker Festival
    Nice
    France
    May 6, 2018
    No official premiere.
    Best Screenplay Nominee, Best Supporting Actress Nominee, Best Editing Nominee, Best Foreign Film Nominee
  • Pordenone Film Festival
    Pordenone
    Italy
    May 15, 2018
    No official premiere.
    Official selection screened for exclusive audience.
  • Amsterdam Film Festival
    Amsterdam
    Netherlands
    No official premiere.
    Best Screenplay Award.
  • Madrid International Filmmaker Festival
    Madrid
    Spain
    July 27, 2018
    No official premiere yet.
    Best Supporting Actress Nominee, Best Screenplay Nominee
  • Kansas International Film Festival
    Kansas, Kansas
    United States
    October 18, 2018
    No official premiere.
    Official Selection
  • Southern States Indie FanFilmFestival
    Biloxi, MS
    United States
    December 31, 2018
    No official premiere.
    Best of Festival Award, Best Lead Actress Award, Best Cinematography Award, Best Actor Nominee, Best Director Nominee, Best Feature Nominee
  • London International Filmmaker Festival
    London
    United Kingdom
    February 17, 2019
    No official Premiere.
    Best Editing Nominee
  • Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema
    Idyllwild, CA
    United States
    March 9, 2019
    Premiere
    Best Director in a Feature Film Award, Producer’s Choice Award, Best Actor in a Feature Film nominee, Best Actress in a Feature Film nominee, Best Supporting Actress in a Feature Film nominee , Best Cast Ensemble in a Feature Film nominee, Best Feature Film, Best Cinematography in a Feature Film nominee, Best Screenplay in a Feature Film nominee
Director Biography - Alex Vargas

Alex Vargas
 - Awarded Screenplay Writer, Producer, Director & Cinematographer.

Alex Vargas was born with a keen sense of observation to a family of musicians in Montevideo, Uruguay. He quickly became aware that there had been some sort of mix up as the disparity between what felt important to him and what others seemed interested in only seemed to increase throughout his childhood. By the time he was a teenager he had developed a full grown sense of alienation that fueled his courageous exit strategy and landed him in Spain at 18 years old. He arrived in Europe with an immense amount of forward moving energy, intelligence, talent, an airway ticket with no return and a 20-dollar bill given to him in ceremonious fashion by his wealthy grandfather. While Alex had been performing on stage since the age of 12, attended a prestigious international school, and was accepted into a classical theatre school in Uruguay at only 17, it wasn’t until he arrived in Europe that he began to feel seen by others in a way that felt closer to his experience of self. He then travelled through Europe collecting experiences and soon settled in Denmark as a songwriter and recording artist. It was in Denmark that Alex became a father and added yet one more talented musician and performer to the long line that had come before him, each of them arriving on the planet most likely sharing a feeling of wonder and curiosity too enormous to be contained by only one language, country or continent. 

In addition to being a captivating storyteller and natural performer Alex has also taught yoga, self-discipline, music therapy for children and adults with special needs, drama, and worked privately as a personal health coach as well as serving as a group travel director for a Swedish company. He also spent five years within the nonprofit sector as program director and national counselor for a California based international student exchange organization and then started a small video production company in San Francisco, in 2008. That year, he also worked as director and later as a consultant for a fashion design company in Denmark, after which Alex attended film school at the School of Liberal Arts, Film Department, CCSF in San Francisco. With regard to the future, Alex is considering securing a sailboat and traveling the seas. He is also fluent in both canine and feline languages, connects deeply with all animals and feels most at home when in nature.

Beth Hayes, Psy.D., MFT (Alex is a friend, not a patient) 

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

RICE is multicultural Art Film. It is especially fitting for those who can engage not only with their own history, but with the histories of others, yet also for those who welcome new perspectives and languages and for people who will not run away from a movie with subtitles. The story of "RICE" comes primarily from my experiences in Uruguay and is partly an attempt to reconcile my own past. The male protagonist, Sebastian, was written from a blurred memory of my experiences as a child and the discovery of the history behind a sudden influx of foreign students into the school I attended, due to a war breaking between Argentina and the UK. The visceral feeling of alienation and marginalization I experienced from an early age, through the school I attended, is held within the main male character’s trauma and shared when he meets the female protagonist Helen, just like I shared when I met all those foreign students who joined my old British School. Helen, is a written fantasy of how my mother’s life could have been had she not been institutionalized at age 15 and stifled by culture, her sister’s envy and the barbaric mental health practices of their time. Unlike my mother whose differences, talents, dreams and aliveness were “treated” and medicated out of her in a bid to make others more comfortable with her intense presence, Helen was written to take charge of her life and to value, create, and maintain enough space to nurture the parts of herself that are singled out as different by others. Helen was written to understand these parts, integrate them and finally be at peace with herself, which in conjunction with Sebastian’s role allowed me to observe my own demons and maybe even resolve some.

Genetically modified food is  a main subject of interest that I believe is largely overlooked by the most relevant player; the consumer. The fact that there is such controversy around this subject, especially within the world of science, is reason enough to conclude that such products should not be in our mainstream food until long term studies are completed. Nevertheless, since the introduction of genetically modified foods some thirty years ago, we as consumers, could well consider ourselves the main test subjects in a long term experiment we did not consent to. I am just not certain as to who is monitoring the results. Initially born and shaped by our unique genetic profiles we are continually modified by our surroundings. Access to healthcare, education, organic food, clean water, socio-economic status, personal and vicarious trauma, the everyday atrocities of failed human connection and the resilience of our natures--it all becomes part of us and modifies us. Some of it we can control and some we cannot. And maybe some of it we shouldn’t. Rice is one of the most consumed dietary staples on the planet. Curiously, depending on whose funding is backing the science, the facts on GMOs change. Either way, rice is now open to genetic modification and patented ownership. As a species rapidly disconnecting from or degrading the very things that make all life sustainable; the sun, the earth, the quality of our air, water, crops and the food that we put into our bodies, there are few issues as important to everyone on the planet whether we are aware of it or not. I personally acknowledge a direct relationship between the quality of all that we take in and our health. And in regard to the themes in this love story, I simply hope to highlight these relationships and remind people that be it human connection or food, we are all individually responsible and in charge of figuring out what fuel is best. 

Alex Vargas