Home » Good Rebel Pictures’ Rich Ronat and Laura Vale : Their New Film Culprit and The Rise of Indie Films

Good Rebel Pictures’ Rich Ronat and Laura Vale : Their New Film Culprit and The Rise of Indie Films

Good Rebel Pictures’ Rich Ronat and Laura Vale : Their New Film Culprit and The Rise of Indie Films

With indie films on the rise, Rich Ronat and Laura Vale are certainly making their mark in Hollywood.  The pair formed Good Rebel Pictures to have more creative control of their work, as well as to provide opportunities for actors who are truly right for a role—not just because of their name or social media following. Their newest feature CULPRIT is the latest gem to come from their endeavors, and is a psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. We spoke with Rich and Laura all about the film, their inspiring journey, and why they’re on a mission to champion independent filmmaking…

Your new film CULPRIT is slated to make its debut in LA on June 21st at Dances with Films… What can you tell us about the film without giving away any spoilers?

It’s a crime thriller about a man that gets released from prison after 27 years. He originally went in for the murder of a nine-year-old girl. Her big sister never thought he was actually guilty and helped to get him released. Both of them decide to work together to find out who the original killer was. But three days after his release, another nine-year-old girl gets murdered in the exact same way. Is he guilty? Or isn’t he?

Laura Vale

CULPRIT also marks the first film launched by your new production company, Good Rebel Pictures.  What was the impetus that led to starting your own company?

We have spent most of our lives waiting to land that perfect gig or get chosen for the perfect role or sell a script to the highest bidder. After years of feeling dependent and hoping for a seat at the table, we decided to build our own table and empower ourselves to create projects in the way we deeply want to. 

Do you feel there is more of a demand for independent films now that studios and networks seem to be producing less content?

(Rich) I definitely think there’s more of a demand for it and audiences are hungry for more original, diverse stories. I think it’s an exciting time for independent film.

Rich, what was this experience making Culprit like for you as a first-time director?

It was the single most fantastic, creative, fulfilling experience of my life. I finally got to realize one of my screenplays in a way that I had always imagined. And it’s all I want to do from now on.

Laura, you’ve mentioned that you did some thorough preparation for the character.  What was that process like? 

Part of my preparation was finding out what it would be like to have a family member murdered, and the effect that would have on an individual and a family. I started to research true crime stories, and listen to them daily for several months. You could say I became a bit obsessed. When it started to color my daily perspective in darker tones, with a touch of paranoia, Rich suggested I may want to lay off on the true crime. Considering we filmed over a few months, it was important for me to delineate when I was inhabiting the character, who is haunted by the past and carries a heaviness, and when I was able to release her, and go on to lead a “lighter”, present day life.

If you had an unlimited budget to make any film you wanted, what would it be and who would star in it?

(Rich) I’d make a poetic war epic in the tone of the Thin Red Line and have Tom Hardy star in it.

Rich Ronat and Laura Vale

After a long day of filming, what’s your go-to method to unwind? 

Scrabble. We get into vicious, wicked, hilarious scrabble wars.

Where would be your dream location to film and why?

(Rich) Harbor Island in the Bahamas.I’d direct a really cool thriller about a murder on the tiny island and have several strange suspects. It’s such a beautiful island with pristine water and pink sand.

What would you say is your favorite film of all time?

(Rich) I’d have to go with the old classic, “From Here to Eternity.”

When it comes to clothing and style, how would you say the costuming factors into getting into a character?

(Laura) It definitely factors into getting into character. In this film I wore cowboy boots all the time, which made me walk differently and adds to an attitude. The boots, along with my clothes, are made for working on a ranch, or riding a horse. So now I have to imagine what that kind of lifestyle and activity feel like. I also choose jewelry that I personalize for the character, asking if a specific piece of jewelry has a history for me.

Rich Ronat

How would you describe your own go-to style?

(Rich) I’m all about cool and casual efficiency. I like to wake up, slip on black jeans and comfy sneakers and get on with my day.

Lastly, what advice do you have (if any) for other creatives who are looking to take their careers to the next level?

Get really good at just one aspect of filmmaking. Either acting, writing, directing or producing or any crew job and do it as if your life depended on it. And we’d also say don’t do it, unless you are deeply driven and compelled to do it.

Rich Ronat and Laura Vale