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
    SHASTA, The Healer, Homeless
  • Katie McFadden
    Assistant Director
  • Alex Vargas
    SHASTA, The Healer,
  • Ivan Helbling (Buenos Aires)
  • Valérie Fortin
    Key Cast
  • Alex Vargas
    Key Cast
  • Tatjana Dzambazova
    Key Cast
  • Alex Vargas
    Executive Producers
    SHASTA, The Healer
  • Katie McFadden
    Executive Producers
  • Beth Hayes
    Executive Producers
  • Mark Cartier
    Executive Producers
  • Tony H. Ashland
    Unit Production Manager
  • Daniel A. White
    Editor/Colorist/Special Effects
  • John K. Best
  • Larry D. Lausaun
    ADR/Foley/All Sound Mix
  • John C. Peters
    Art Director
  • Film Type:
  • Genres:
    Art House, Art Film, Intercultural Drama
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 45 minutes 8 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, Latin, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital SMPTE 30 fps
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1:85 or 16:9
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Nice International Filmmaker Festival
    May 6, 2018
    No official premiere.
    Best Screenplay Nominee, Best Supporting Actress Nominee, Best Editing Nominee, Best Foreign Film Nominee
  • Pordenone Film Festival
    May 15, 2018
    No official premiere.
    Official selection screened for exclusive audience.
  • Amsterdam Film Festival
    No official premiere.
    Best Screenplay Award.
  • Madrid International Filmmaker Festival
    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
    United Kingdom
    February 17, 2019
    No official Premiere.
    Best Editing Nominee
  • Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema
    Idyllwild, CA
    United States
    March 9, 2019
    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
  • Canada Independent Film Festival
    February 16, 2019
    Fest Feature Nomination
Distribution Information
  • North Of Two
    Country: United States
Director Biography


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, after which he opened a small marketing and video production company. In 2008 he also worked as director 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

The making of "RICE" is my best attempt yet to reconcile a past marked by profound feelings of alienation, confusion and an intense longing for connection. The creation of Sebastian, the male protagonist, was inspired by a sudden influx of international students into my high school during times of war. As an isolated kid from a working class family I was lucky to attend the richest school in Uruguay, but I didn’t feel lucky until these kids arrived. These foreign students inspired new ideas and a new beginning beyond the borders of what I once called home. Under similar traumatic experiences, Sebastian escapes the war and travels far to recuperate. Helen’s character is built upon my fantasy of how my mother might have been had she not been institutionalized at age 15 and stifled by the barbaric mental health practices of the 1950's. Unlike my mother whose differences, talents, dreams and aliveness were medicated out of her in a bid to make others more comfortable, Helen runs from those that would diminish her and creates a space where she can nurture the parts of herself that alienate her from other people. Allowing Sebastian and Helen to heal from the psychological fragmentation, often the aftermath of significant loss, I begun to witness and observe my own demons. I have even begun to make peace with them. 

By narrating the story through Sebastian’s traumatized mind I aimed to elicit a visceral sense of alienation within the viewer. By using multiple languages, unspoken gesture, original music and color, I hoped to transmit the multifaceted layers humans use to connect with each other. I attempted to affect the viewer at their core by implicitly making them see; as one, what appears to be divergent information. But instead of spelling things out I decided to do like my parents did while raising me in silence--I let the viewer come to their own conclusions. Ideally, the audience will find meaning not only by following subtitles, but by filling in the natural gaps that appear when words aren't enough. "RICE" illustrates that we are all suffering from varying degrees of trauma and hold various estrangements. Instead of erecting walls that mark difference and ensure greater future alienation, we could instead learn from our past and intentionally attune with one another. We could indeed seek out our many similarities and begin to live on common ground.

Alex Vargas