Director David Nutter on Promoting Inclusivity With Lena Waithe on Their Short Film 'Rising' (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
Michael Buckner/Getty Images for DC Entertainment
Tensions may be rising in America, but David Nutter is hoping to bring us all together.
The director -- who is behind some of the most successful television pilots in recent history, and won an Emmy in 2015 for his work on Game of Thrones -- recently teamed up with Lena Waithe and Love Has No Labels to promote a cause that couldn't be more timely. Their short film, Rising, which debuted on Tuesday, tells the story of a community coming together, despite their differences, to help each other survive a flood.
"They came to me and said they wanted to put this project together concerning inclusion and really dealing with divisiveness in our society and we have so much more in common than not with each other," Nutter tells ET of how he got involved with the campaign.
"I had to jump right on it and get involved because me, and what I do, it's about a lot of people's different perspectives, their different points of view," he explains. "I think that this is a real eye-opener and the kind of project that actually can and hopefully I think mend fences, number one, can also open eyes, can also open doors, can also open minds and hearts and so forth. I think it's a situation which there's so much more in common that we have than we don't have. So, it's one of the things in which I wanted to jump on and I'm happy that I did."
Waithe wrote the script for the film, and from there, Nutter says it was full speed ahead. "Before no time, I was knee-deep in flood waters and going right at it," he shares. " It was a thing in which it was a real group effort, it takes the village to do anything like this, and it was a real experience in which so many people from so many backgrounds came together, not unlike the film itself, made something very beautiful."
It was that perspective, focusing on the message and the end product, rather than the details, that made the challenges of shooting a flood scene not so difficult.
"The most challenging aspect, I think, is always really coming in with a clear perspective and point of view. So much of the time, you can get caught up in the minutia... and that can slow you down," Nutter says. "But I think we had this beautiful experience walking blindly into the fire, but having a firm step and really believing what we were doing was the right thing, and we were doing something special."
"It made it really fun and magical," he adds.
Love Has No Labels, which first launched in 2015, celebrates diversity and promotes acceptance of all people across ability, race, sexual orientation, gender, age and religion. Amid recent natural disasters, the organization wanted Americans to consider why it takes devastation to really unite us.
"I wanted to validate the setting, very much so, and also make the audience feel like they're getting involved in something and hopefully getting them to actually invest in this project," Nutter shares. "It really seems to move people. I think that's the thing that I was most excited about."
"Our hearts are all the same. Our feelings are all the same. I think that we're born to love, and I think it's a situation which we grow up sometimes and being taught, hearing things and other things that aren't always conducive to being inclusive. But I think that this is the type of film that ... internally about 'love thy neighbor,'" he says. "It's something that I think it can be a wonderful message. I think it can be fantastic."