Interview: WeSC + Standard Filmmaker Beth Riesgraf

Nov 03 2011

Meet WeSC + Standard collaborator Beth Riesgraf

Yesterday, The Standard launched the first in a series of short films to accompany a collection of travel gear and headphones in collaboration with WeSC. Our first one is directed by Beth Riesgraf, who is our first Q & A in this week-long series of chats with the directors. Here are her thoughts on art, film, and travel…

The Standard: You are a part of the arts project created for the WeSC x The Standard Collaboration. Could you tell us a bit how that came about?

Beth Riesgraf: I became a WeActivist back in 2003. I have collaborated with them on many projects over the years so I was excited when The Standard and WeSC asked me to create a short film as part of a launch between the two brands. I was told it could be anything I wanted. The only rule was it would be set in and around the downtown LA Standard and show some of the WeSC product.

In your WeSC/Standard film, describe the world you have created, and why?

WeSC to me, is about journey, adventure, art, and choosing your own path. The downtown Standard style goes against most typical business hotels in almost every way imaginable. The idea that, “there is no standard at The Standard” inspired me to write a story with exactly that concept. I wanted my character in this film to experience life outside her bubble, be invited into a strange adventure, given a choice to change, and see what would happen.

A still from “The Standard Story”, by Beth Riesgraf

At what age did you first fall in love with filmmaking, and how did you experiment to get it out of your system?

I fell in love with film and stage when I was 5. My grandmother would bring me to the Children’s theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I became fascinated by the colorful sets, characters, and costumes. I loved the possibilities, and the idea that you could bring your imagination to life with storytelling. I didn’t have a video camera as a kid so I would dress up in costumes and put on plays with my friends, and I created recordings on an old tape recorder. Mostly funny stories in different voices. I remember making a series of recordings that took place in a science lab… (which was actually in the attic of the farmhouse I grew up in) and called it “Adventures With the Mad Scientist” or something [laughs].

When you travel, what are the top 5 things that must be on your person?

My camera, iPod, WeSC headphones, chapstick, and water.

Please share one director/film that changed your life? Why?

Francois Truffaut. I love his eye, his style of filmmaking, the simplicity of it, and the magnitude of impact his stories have had on me.

What is your favorite unassuming corner of the Standard Hotel in your city?

The photobooth near the escalator. I love photobooths.

How do you see the Superlative Conspiracy including you into the way it works?

WeActivists like to travel, create art, and have fun. Being a part of the WeSC family helps keep me inspired to collaborate with others, and to continue pushing myself to do more.

In 2011, what was the most impactful place you visited in this world? Why?

Ireland. Driving through the west country side, horsebackriding. It’s beautiful. There was no sense of urgency. Was able to roam around and meet new people and I loved it.

What is the ultimate dream project you plan to shoot before you leave this earth?

There is a book I read and I really want to adapt it into a film. It’s a powerful story based on true events. I’d also love to make an epic adventure/fantasy film for kids, like The Neverending Story.

Name your top 3 films that are set inside a hotel.

Barton Fink, Lost in Translation, The Shining.

Beth’s film that’s set at The Standard hotel in Downtown LA