ROB RICE ----- filmmaker

Rob Rice is a filmmaker from western Massachusetts, based in LA.

He did an MFA at CalArts and, before changing careers, worked as a CRISPR engineer at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

His feature debut, Way Out Ahead of Us, was produced by Matt Porterfield and premiered at the 2022 FIDMarseille before going on to screen at RIDM, UNDERDOX, Black Canvas, São Paulo and many others.

His recent work as a producer includes Lucy Kerr’s Family Portrait (Locarno 2023), Tyler Taormina’s Christmas Eve in Miller’s Point (Cannes 2024, starring Michael Cera, Greg Turkington, Francesca Scorsese, and Sawyer Spielberg), and the debut feature from Advik Beni. In 2023, he also AD’d Room Temperature, the new feature from Dennis Cooper and Zac Farley.

   ︎ Email
   ︎ Facebook
   ︎ Instagram



A prestigious but exhausted sea-floor cartographer joins the crew of a fiber-optic cable ship for a costly voyage across the Atlantic. As they get further from land, she drifts away from her duties and, with a nudge from a nihilistic and mischievous cable laborer, she begins to sabotage the expedition; first by installing a tap on the cable and soon, drunk on the data flow, by radically reworking the software they depend on to navigate. Finally feeling alive, she’s rendered the boat and everyone on it profoundly lost, or, according to her, on the verge of a major new discovery.

a film by rob rice
story by rob rice and adam wand

View the EPK

view visual / conceptual references:

script in development
Director’s Statement

The thrill of this film lies in bringing a subtle, mischievous, quixotic humor to deeply felt modern subjects like dread about the future and the confusing mismatch of material and representation in a highly online world. The fiber-optic cable ship is a fascinating setting; unfamiliar, extremely hi-tech, and yet still soaked in the past, from the political histories of ocean commerce to ancient sea mythology, it’s situated perfectly at the nexus of where we have been and where we are going. And that’s what Sarah is worried about, like so many people are, trying to find some stable sense of the future. She can’t figure out if it’s apocalyptic and terrifying or exhilarating and full of potential New Worlds.    

Though their external environment is vital to the narrative and on paper may be the film’s focus, the most core ideas play out internally, in the relationship between Roithamer and Cane. They each have something the other needs – she has theory and he has practice, one like a map and the other the land itself. But even more fundamentally, they need each other as people, both having defined themselves in relation to the future and both secretly wondering if maybe the other attitude is correct. By the end, it’s not about who is right, it’s about having someone else there with you, whichever way it’s going to go. Though these ideas are laced through their relationship, neither of them can discuss them directly. Actually, quite the contrary, much of their exchange is heavily filtered through a shared bleak humor, a kind of morbid laughter dangerously adjacent to tears that, despite their varying conclusions about the future, they’ve both necessarily developed as a crutch under all that weight.