Christchurch-raised David Rittey discovered film while studying at Canterbury University's Ilam Arts School. Later he won a place at the Victorian College of Arts in Melbourne. His graduation short Out of Darkness (2000) played in many international festivals, while 2004's Closer — the story of a deaf teenager dealing with his sister’s death — won a NZ Screen Award for Best Short Film. It was also nominated for best short at the Cannes Film Festival. Follow-up We the Living starred Emily Barclay (In My Father's Den). Based in Australia since 2008, Rittey has directed many commercials on both sides of the Tasman.

I think it's actually important to engage the viewer's mind. I think a lot of typical Hollywood films don't require a lot of thought from the viewer, whereas I'm interested in films where the viewer has to participate and use their mind and piece things together. David Rittey