Up Against Amanda Behind the Scenes








Writer/Director Michael Rissi represents the new breed of independent filmmaker that has redefined the industry in the new millennium.


Michael has proven his ability to combine storytelling skills, filmmaking prowess and expertise in working with advanced movie-making technologies to produce compelling films at a fraction of the cost.

In 2002, his dramatic thriller UP AGAINST AMANDA marked one of the first films to be distributed worldwide which was produced primarily utilizing digital technology.

Picked up immediately after completion by New Concorde Distribution, AMANDA has been an international top-seller in DVD and VHS. The acclaimed thriller stars Justine Priestley and tells the story of an obsessive, disturbed young woman with a mysterious past who falls in love with her married neighbor.

Taking advantage of technical improvements and cost-savings that can be gained by a wide-range of new technologies, Michael's production company, Rissi Productions, is filling a needed niche in the rapidly emerging world of professional digital filmmaking.

While developing feature film projects, Rissi Productions also produces corporate and institutional films for a select group of clients and industries, including Euro RSCG Magnet Communications and Toyota Motor Sales.

Like many an aspiring filmmaker, Michael found a passion for filmmaking in his youth working in Super 8 film. Unlike most young filmmakers, Michael made a feature length film while still in high school (TEACHER'S PET) that was exhibited to sell out crowds throughout various high schools in Southern California over a two-year period.

After graduating with honors from the University of Southern California, School of Cinema-Television, the acclaimed film school hired Michael to produce a documentary on the school called MAKE IT HAPPEN, which became the official orientation film for the film school. The film includes Michael's interviews with George Lucas, Bob Zemeckis, Randal Kleiser, John Milius, Laura Ziskin, David Wolper and many other prominent USC Cinema alumni.

While at USC, Michael's thesis film project, SNAKE EYES, attracted the attention of Action International Pictures, who promptly purchased rights to the 20-minute short. This subsequently led to Michael's first 35-mm feature film (as director and editor), SOULTAKER. Soultaker became a smash hit for AIP, winning it a Saturn Award for Best Video Release of 1991 and breaking sales records for the independent company.


Michael Rissi and George Lucas -- Michael wrote and directed "MAKE IT HAPPEN,"  the official orientation film for the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television which features George Lucas and many other prominent USC alumni.