Feb 14, 2017 8:06AM

Cute Gals Just Wanna Dance And Rob In Daria Kobayashi Ritch's New Short Film

Hands in the air.
Smart girl Daria Kobayashi Ritch has a way with photography that feels so real and pleasant. Not too many people can capture sharp faces, sharp cracks of morning light and hazy backgrounds that have a nostalgic sense, not the way she does. And, because she's so smart, she also does a really good job of film. 
Following her first, Opaque, she's just released She Wanted to Dance —  a short film inspired by 70's heist films, starring Valentina Sykes, Alex Noiret and Kendall Walters as three babes who steal a briefcase and cruise across Los Angeles while they try to open it. It's so damn good (see for yourself below), we had to ask Daria all about it…
Where are you based? 
Born, raised, and currently reside in Los Angeles! 
How old are you? 
Your main gig is photography, so what edged you into film? 
While I was in school my friend Marz, the cinematographer for SWTD, insisted we collaborate on a fashion film. I guess he just bugged me enough ;) haha. I'm grateful he did because it's always good to be challenged and pushed out of your comfort zone. Plus, this film was shot exclusively on 16mm film! 
Who did you work with to produce She Wanted to Dance? 
Marz Miller as director of photography, Malcolm Duncan as producer, my brother Aron Kobayashi Ritch did sound design, wrote, performed, and engineered the music with his friend, Sebastian Jones, Lwany as stylist and Jobe Lowen as editor 
The girls are so glam, how did you come to work with them?
Casting is the most important aspect of photography and film for me. I need to find people that not only have a unique look, but also resonate with me on a personal level. 
I cast Valentina Sykes (Sylvia) first. She is a really close friend of mine and I am so lucky she agreed to do her acting debut with me. Her character, Sylvia is the leader of the 3. She's sexy, badass, and a bit intimidating. Valentina is undeniably stunning but in a more unusual and captivating way.   
I knew I wanted Alex Noiret to play Ale as soon as I saw her. Ale is the all-American girl and, like her character, Alex looks sweet, always composed, and well groomed. On the other hand Alex was able to portrays her character as emotionally cold and annoyed by inefficiency.
Kendall Walters was my wildcard. She was cast last and I didn't meet her until the day of the shoot… but she was PERFECT. I couldn't have cast anyone better. Her character, Maria, is hot headed and theatrical… she is impulsive and maybe a little crazy. Kendall, in real life, embodies an IDGAF attitude. She is upfront and real, but also endearing and has become one of my favourite people. 
What are your main reference points for the short?
Godard said "All you need for a movie is a girl and a gun." I think we started this film with a nod to old Hollywood heist films. We didn't want it to be taken seriously and in fact were poking fun at such a classic and over done concept. Visually speaking, The French Connection was a primary reference point. 
Does that differ from what informs your photography?
When Marz and I got together we decided we wanted this film to resonate visually to my photography. We shot on 16mm film and kept the camera handheld for most of the film. The film was primarily shot using natural light. I think this film differs from my photography in the narrative sense. My work is not built on narratives, especially not purposely absurd ones, but more an in-the-moment personal connection with my subjects. Although this movie is based heavily on the casting, there is an underlying story (as loose as that may be). Not to say my photography doesn't have a narrative, but I think the primary purpose of my work is driven by a story my subject tells. 
What story are you telling through this film?
After stealing a briefcase, three girls embark upon a frenetic voyage across Los Angeles in an attempt to open it. Beyond this, SWTD is about objects of desire and the paths we take to attain them and how those expectations often supersede reality… and it's about dancing. 
What was inside the suitcase?!

Hayley Morgan