Interview with Rob Ciano

Written by Divine Magazine

Rob Ciano’s journey as a filmmaker began at the age of 8 when he started acting in community theater musicals. He quickly learned about the relationship between artist and audience as he performed in such productions as Damn Yankees, The King and I, Romeo and Juliet, and countless others. Around the same time, a close friend received a video camera as a gift, and the two of them set to creating and acting in their own short films. It wasn’t long before Rob convinced his parents that he too needed a video camera, and it was off to the races from there.

After receiving a B.F.A. in Filmmaking from Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ, Rob dove head first into launching his film career. Over the next few years, and despite working unrelated jobs to “pay the bills”, Rob was able to create and release multiple projects including the feature-length documentary, “Real For Us: Fandom, Friendship, and the Boy Who Lived,” as well as a short film, “Blackout”, which was licensed by Showtime. This gave an investor the confidence to fund the feature film, “Shimmer”, which Rob wrote, directed, and produced.

Rob is currently in post production for his second feature, a coming-of-age film called “Twenty-Nine”. He resides with his wife in New Jersey.

What sort of person is going to love this show? Tell us about it.

“Shimmer,” tells the story of Dr. Thea Kait, a forensic scientist for the Seneca Police department, as she dives down the rabbit hole of an intense murder mystery. As she continues to investigate, things make less and less sense until she realizes that an old widow’s warning may actually be true: that the killer is “in the light”. As things continue to unravel, it becomes a race for Thea to stop the threat… before it can stop her.

Anyone who enjoys a good sci-fi or thriller will love “Shimmer”. I also think there’s a really interesting mystery element to the film, so if you happen to be a fan of Sherlock or Nancy Drew, this will probably strike your fancy.

What’s challenging about bringing this script to life?

Something unique to “Shimmer” was factoring the element of Light into the storytelling. Light plays a huge role in the film, so we talked a lot about how to make it interesting and menacing using lenses and lighting patterns. There are also digital effects involving light which we matched with practical effects in-camera. This was challenging to get right and we had to try a few different methods, but our team was always up for finding a creative solution.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

This isn’t your typical Hollywood film. Far from it – it’s born and bred on the opposite coast. But beyond geography, I think it tells a different kind of story. Our tagline being “Are you afraid of the light?” is an example of the way this movie looks at things from another perspective. I think people will be surprised at how they are drawn into the setting and story, and what the truth of the mystery is. I don’t want to say too much, but I think it’s a really fun ride.

If someone was going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

I think I bear a passing resemblance to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but that might be wishful thinking. That lad is dashing.

If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?

My company motto is, “Make Something Meaningful”. Of course, all of my films mean something to me personally, but it would be nice to be remembered as someone whose stories made a positive impact on others.

If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?

“Pretend the Lawnmower is a Spaceship” – The introduction would feature the story of when I attached some air duct tubes to our ride-on lawnmower to use as an unconvincing “landing craft” in a short film.

If you could be a superhero, what would your superpower be and your superhero name?

Flight, hands down. However, if I’m going to do superhero-type things, I would probably also need super strength. What use is it to fly to the window of a burning building to rescue trapped people if I’ve got a regular guy’s strength? I may need to carry four people or more! As far as a name goes, let’s stick with the flying theme but add a little pizazz. Something like the Phantom? It’s a work in progress…

What was the last TV series you watched on TV?

The last individual episode of something was, I think, “30 Rock”. However, I recently watched “Star Wars: Visions” in full, which was pretty cool. The first short, “Ronin”, was my favorite.

What historical Figure would you love to see in 21st century life?

It would be very interesting to see how someone historically creative like Leonardo da Vinci would react to all the artistic and technical advances since his time, and what that would inspire him to create.

Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

If not JGL as stated above, for some reason I feel like Daniel Radcliffe could do a good impression of me.

© 2022, Divine Magazine. All rights reserved.

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