"The Response" was directed by Adam Rodgers from a screenplay by Sig Libowitz. Richard Chisolm was Director of Photography, and Dennis Towns was the Sound Mixer. The film includes original music by Aaron Symonds.
Adam Rodgers (Director)
Adam Rodgers is a Baltimore native and graduate of Duke University and New York University’s Graduate Film Program. Adam’s short films have played at festivals throughout the world, earning numerous awards; his thesis film, Grandparents, was a finalist for the top directing prize at NYU. Since moving to Los Angeles, Adam has co-written (with Glenn German) and sold screenplays to Sony, Universal and Fox. His first produced writing credit, Racing for Time, a feature-length cable drama starring and directed by triple Emmy-winner and fellow-Baltimorean Charles S. Dutton, aired earlier this year.
After finishing the script, Libowitz enlisted director Adam Rodgers [LINK], another Baltimore native and friend who jokingly calls Libowitz, “the Jewish Orson Welles,” because of his multiple roles as producer, screenwriter and cast member on The Response. Rodgers met Libowitz during their days at New York University when he cast Sig in an awardwinning student film and the two realized they had grown up just a few miles apart in Baltimore. Adam and Sig became close friends and together co-wrote a number of projects.
"Adam combines the qualities that I felt were essential to turning this screenplay into a movie," recalls Libowitz. "He has a great sense of character and visual storytelling, a strong grasp of world affairs, and a wonderfully genuine way of connecting with others which draws a crew and a cast to raise their game – which we needed for our very tight, complicated shoot."
Rodgers, the son of two career print journalists, had a strong reaction when he read the screenplay. “I, too, thought I was pretty knowledgeable about Guantanamo,” he said. “But when I read the script I realized I had no real idea of what was happening. The screenplay's great strength was its ability to humanize a situation that had become somewhat abstract. You know, Guantanamo Bay had been reduced to nightly news stock footage of guys in jumpsuits and shackles shuffling behind chain-link fences and barbed wire. But the script had transformed the abstraction into drama and I felt like I had to do it.”
Sig Libowitz (Writer, Producer, Actor)
Sig Libowitz has worked as a producer, writer, actor, and studio executive in New York, Los Angeles and his hometown Baltimore/DC area. Sig is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the University of Maryland School of Law. He was the Executive-in-Charge of Production for In the Bedroom, (starring Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson and Marisa Tomei) which was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture. Additionally, he served as the Vice-President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions at Paramount Classics, Director of Production at Film Four (then based at Warner Brothers), and Production Executive at Good Machine in New York. On the other side of the camera, Libowitz’s acting credits include recurring roles on both The Sopranos and Law & Order, and a co-starring role in The Believer, which won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Best Film.
Richard Chisolm (Director of Photography)
Richard Chisolm is an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer whose work spans both fiction and documentary subjects. Credits include several episodes of K Street (the HBO series produced by Steven Soderbergh & George Clooney), as well as cinematography for Hopkins 24/7, Frontline, Nova and National Geographic.
“When I was working as a cinematographer and Adam was fresh out of film school, our mothers – who were both reporters at The Baltimore Sun - connected us. Adam ended up being a production assistant on a project I was working on,” Chisolm recalls. Adam adds that Richard was always great to his staff, often telling others, "Be nice to your PAs – someday they'll be directing, and hopefully they'll hire you."
Chisolm’s experience working in documentary film proved valuable for The Response. “Having instincts about realistic camerawork, like handheld video and observational documentary camerawork was appealing to Adam and Sig as a way of helping the audience feel like ‘Yes, it’s a fiction, and yes, these are actors, but there’s a feeling that I’m really there.’”
"Richard and I were inspired visually by a lot of different movies," Rodgers says. "We searched to somehow find the balance between the controlled style of classic “man-ontrial” pictures like Twelve Angry Men and the feeling of spontaneity and reality that comes across in movies like Traffic. We even talked about the French New Wave— which may sound a bit nuts in the context of a movie about Guantanamo Bay—but we were trying to zero in on how we were going to give the camerawork the energy we knew was critical.”
Dennis Towns (Sound Mixer)
An Emmy Award-winning sound mixer, Dennis’ credits include HBO’s K Street and Unscripted (starring Frank Langella). He has worked on a number of high-profile documentaries for Sony Pictures Classics, Frontline and National Geographic.
Aaron Symonds (Composer)
An Award-winning composer, Aaron’s musical style ranges from the big and epic to the small and intimate, often incorporating elements from various cultures, electronic textures and contemporary classical techniques. Aaron has scored a diverse range of projects, including feature films, TV series, documentaries and commercials. He has contributed to studio projects such as George of the Jungle 2 (Disney), Renny Harlin’s Exorcist: In The Beginning (Warner Bros), Coach Carter (Paramount), the Dreamworks / TNT mini-series Into The West for executive producer Steven Spielberg, including as lead orchestrator for twice Academy nominated composer David Hirschfelder on his score to Five People You Meet In Heaven (Hallmark Entertainment).