Richie Adams, Writer/Director of Una Vida: 2014 Heartland Film Festival Interview

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Richie Adams is a writer, director, producer who cut his teeth in film as a title designer under Richard Alan Greenberg (Alien, Superman, Matrix). Over the past 10+ years, he has worked with many of the great players in film and television.

A Personal Message from the Una Vida Team to Heartland Film Festival Fans


Featuring Co-Producer Peter Cummings, Actor Joaquim De Almeida (Dr. Cruz), Actor Bill Cobbs (Stompleg), Actor Aunjanue Ellis (Una Vida), Actor Ruth Negga (Jessica), Actor Sharon Lawrence (Angela) and Author/Executive Producer Dr. Nicolas Bazan.

Interview with Writer/Director Richie Adams

HFF: What is your film about, and how did the project come to be?

RA: Our film is about a man, Dr. Cruz, who is dealing with the loss of his mother from a disease that he has dedicated his life to curing. The story takes place in New Orleans, and opens with the doctor taking time off of work trying to rediscover the city that he and his mother had grown to love. He encounters a group of street musicians, and it appears that their encounter may offer an avenue of hope for the doctor to move beyond the situation we find him, and similarly that he may be able to bring hope to their lives, as well.

HFF: What was your role in the production?

RA: I was director, co-writer and one of four producers.

HFF: Why did you submit to the Heartland Film Festival? Have you been to the Festival before?

RA: I first learned of the festival from a producer named Ken Wales who worked with the late Blake Edwards on several projects. This was about 10 years ago, while I was still living in Los Angeles. Mr. Wales spoke very highly of the festival and its mission of “inspiring filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film,” and after finishing Una Vida I knew this would be the perfect festival for the film, with its important message about where we’re at with Alzheimer’s and the hope for its cure and the need for research.

HFF: This year’s tagline is “Shift Your Perspective” – what lasting effect will your film have on moviegoers?

RA: My hope is that beyond the entertainment value that our film aims to provide, that the film will serve as resource for those caring for one with Alzheimer’s Disease.

HFF: What has inspired you to become a filmmaker?

RA: It’s tough to pinpoint the specific moment that I became “inspired” to become a filmmaker, as I have loved movies as long as I can remember…since as young as five years old. Let’s just say that I can’t imagine my life or a career without film.

HFF: What is something that you know about filmmaking now but you weren’t told when you started your career?

RA: I always imagined that making movies would not be easy, but didn’t anticipate that projects could take as long as 5-10 years to develop…and I know some take even longer. With that knowledge, it now makes the selection of future projects that much more selective.

HFF: What are some of your favorite movies? What’s your favorite worst movie (you know it’s bad, but still love it)?

RA: A few of my favorite movies include The Last Emperor, Billy Elliott, The Goonies…and my favorite “worst” movie might be American Ninja…though I haven’t seen it since I was 10…so it might actually be the best “best movie,” as I remember really digging it.

HFF: How many film festivals has your film been a part of? What do you like the most about the festival experience?

RA: By the time we reach the Heartland Film Festival, Una Vida will have been featured in nine film festivals. The experience has been nothing short of amazing, and the accolades thus far, most humbling. And what I like best about the festivals is answering questions from viewers about my film, how it was made, about the actors, about the reality of producing independent features on a shoestring budget.

HFF: Heartland Film Festival moviegoers love filmmaker Q&As. Let’s say a Festival attendee wants to earn some brownie points—what is a question that you’d love to answer, but haven’t yet been asked?

RA: An odd question maybe, but…exactly, how many different vehicles did Dr. Cruz drive in the film?


See Una Vida at the 2014 Heartland Film Festival:

  • Sunday, Oct. 19 – 7:15 p.m. at AMC Castleton Square 14*
  • Thursday, Oct. 23 – 12:00 p.m. at AMC Traders Point Showplace 12
  • Friday, Oct. 24 – 4:15 p.m. at AMC Castleton Square 14**
  • Saturday, Oct. 25 – 7:15 p.m. at AMC Traders Point Showplace 12**

*Actor Bill Cobbs scheduled to attend
**Director/Writer Richie Adams, Producer Brent Caballero scheduled to attend

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