Cooper Raiff Discusses His Deeply Personal Debut Shithouse – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus

The 2020 SXSW Film Festival is just around the corner! Even though we're busy rolling up the red carpets and calibrating our popcorn machines, we're always delighted to help you get to know films from our lineup a little bit better with our Filmmaker In Focus series. Check out our Q&A with director Cooper Raiff as he tells us about his film Shithouse, which will World Premiere in the Narrative Feature Competition.

"I want the movie to bring some comfort ... on the possibilities of love and care and effort and kindness and what can happen when we spend a lot of time with somebody." – Director Cooper Raiff

In your own words, what does this film mean to you?

Cooper Raiff: To me it's about the first few years away from home, figuring out your second home. For me those years felt massively shitty because my first home was so rock solid and dependent on my family members. When I got to college, I felt like I was floating and couldn't progress, but I was looking around watching other people absolutely crush it. Shithouse is me trying to express how those years felt and also what I learned from a few awesome friends. I think it also shows how spending time with somebody means so much. Whether a parent for so much of your life or a kind of random person you're trying to hook up with one night, relationships and the minutes spent inside those relationships determine so much of who we are and where we're headed.

What motivated you to tell this story?

CR: My feelings. Also I love the process of earning someone's trust and then being in charge of their feelings. I hope this doesn't sound insane, but I think I'm a really great, trustworthy captain because I want the very best for people's interior lives.

What do you want the audience to take away?

CR: I want the movie to bring some comfort - not by like delivering any straight up comfort about where we’re at or where we’re going – but by keying in on the possibilities of love and care and effort and kindness and what can happen when we spend a lot of time with somebody. I also want my family (and my ex-girlfriends) to really feel how much I love them and really know that I’m carrying them around in my heart every day.

What were you doing when you found out you were coming to SXSW?

CR: I was on a jog. I looked down and saw emails from SXSW. After making sure I was reading everything correctly, I took off running again and it turned into a Rocky movie.

Add Shithouse to your SXSW Schedule. Stay tuned as we share more interviews with our SXSW 2020 filmmakers!

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Shithouse - Photo by Rachel Klein

By Neha Aziz




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