Filmmaker Ro Haber on Burberry, Pride on FX, and Giving the Audience Credit
Ro Haber is a writer/director working at the intersection of documentary, narrative and commercials.
A graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, they were nominated for a GLAAD award for their series New Deep South. Their series Braddock, PA gained critical attention from The New York Times and The New Yorker. They directed "Stonewall Forever" for Stink Studios and "Celestial" for Tribeca Studios x Bulgari, and have done commercial work for Mercedes, Spotify, Cracker Jack and the Chan Zuckerberg initiative, to name a few.
Recently, Ro directed the finale for the Gotham-nominated Pride on FX. They are also directing a hybrid documentary titled We Are Pat about the '90s SNL cult character Pat as a way to unpack what it means to be trans and non-binary now. Their film Shell.ai, a modern feminist horror retelling of the Frankenstein story from the perspective of a female technologist, is being produced by Seaview.
We spoke with Ro for our Backstory series, where we chat with folks in the entertainment industry about their creative inspirations and more.
Ro, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I grew up in Portland, Oregon (shout-out to forests) and now I live in Los Angeles.
Your first job in the industry.
Documentary directing. :)
A breakthrough moment in your career.
Setting up my first narrative feature, Shell.ai, with Seaview—who produced the theater phenom Slave Play among other things.
Three movies you couldn’t do without.
- Grey Gardens. Just the most incredible verité doc ever. Such nuanced characters, deep humor, and it looks gorgeous, too.
- Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. This film is one that I could watch a million times and never entirely grasp, which I love. Deeply evocative, meditative and anti-narrative. Like lucid dreaming.
- Let the Right One In. I love this kind of horror. Aesthetically stunning, dark, and with a female predatory protagonist. Shot beautifully by Hoyte van Hoytema and with incredible direction.
Your favorite movie quote.
Your favorite movie trailer or poster.
In the Mood for Love. Iconic, beautiful, classic. That deep saturated red.
A classic TV show and a recent TV show that you loved.
A recent project you’re proud of.
Pride on FX. This is actually the first show that chronicles the history of the LGBTQIA movement in the U.S. from the '50s until the present day, and each episode was directed by a different queer or trans director—and all produced by the iconic Killer Films. I got to direct the finale, and I felt honored to do so.
Someone else’s project that you admired recently.
Burberry, "Open Spaces." Simple, art, gorgeous. Period.
One thing about how entertainment marketing is evolving that you’re excited about.
I am excited that we are assuming our audiences are as smart and sophisticated as they actually are.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a filmmaker.
I would write a novel.