Interview with Rick Minnich

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Interview with Rick Minnich

Miller Overmoyer

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The award-winning documentary filmmaker, Rick Minnich, is visiting Robert Morris University for the semester. Minnich is teaching a documentary production and analysis class, as well as showing some documentaries that have inspired him.

“I had never heard of a position called Documentary Filmmaker in Residence, so that caught my eye,” Minnich said. “So I’m here, I’m really enjoying it. It’s a nice-sized campus. Actually, I live on campus in the Media Arts House. I like that I’m not in the middle of the campus, I have the forest behind my house.”

His graduation film, “Heaven on Earth,” won “the prize for the best graduation film in all of Germany in the documentary category.” The Columbia University graduate became interested in making documentaries after studying to become a newspaper journalist.

“I started going to movie theaters and seeing a lot of classic films, especially old French and Italian films and just fell in love with them. I thought, ‘Oh, I want to make movies.’ And there was still sort of a journalist in me so I decided, ‘OK, I’ll make documentaries,” said Minnich.

Minnich moved to Germany shortly before the Berlin Wall collapsed to pursue an education in film. He recalls what it was like to live in Germany during the reunification.

“I moved (to Germany) a few months before the two Germanys, East Germany and West Germany, came together. I was there visiting once when the Berlin Wall was still up, it was two different countries. Which is a strange situation because the wall went right through the middle of the city,” Minnich said. “It’s taken a while for the two sides to come together, and there’s still a lot of difficulties.”

Minnich is currently working on two documentaries called “Mr. Greenfield” and “The Strait Guys.” “Mr. Greenfield” is about the renowned tailor, Martin Greenfield, and his life through the Holocaust and coming to America to work as a tailor. “The Strait Guys” is about “a group of Americans and Russians who are trying to connect the two countries through a tunnel beneath the Bering Strait.”

Minnich will be on campus for the remainder of the semester teaching a documentary production and analysis class as well as showing documentaries that have inspired him. Classes will be held Thursdays at 5:30 in the Media Arts House. As well as showing documentaries that have inspired him, viewings will be held Thursdays at 5:30 in the Media Arts House.

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