AD 233 | Riley Stearns
“Writing and Directing “Dual””

Riley Stearns grew up in Pflugerville, TX, a suburb of Austin. His feature debut FAULTS premiered at SXSW in 2014 and went on to play festivals around the world. THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE, his second feature, also premiered at SXSW in 2017. The film was released by Bleecker Street domestically and Universal Pictures internationally. DUAL is Stearns’ third feature as writer/director and first as a producer. When not making films you can find Stearns on the mats training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Dual’s Synopsis:

Upon receiving a terminal diagnosis, Sarah opts for a cloning procedure to ease her loss on her friends and family. When she makes a sudden and miraculous recovery, her attempts to have her clone decommissioned fail and lead to a court-mandated duel to the death. Now she has one year to train her body and mind for the fight of her life.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:
  • Riley’s origin story
  • Riley’s first memories of growing up
  • The memory retention of “highly sensitive people”
  • Riley’s past life as a musician
  • How Riley started writing short films and feature films
  • Riley initially finding his voice through mimicking other people’s writing styles
  • When Saman and Riley met at SXSW in 2013
  • Where the initial idea of Dual came from
  • How Riley creates the tone in his films
  • Riley’s time working as a staff writer for TV shows
  • Riley speaks about legacy
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Logistics for getting films made

Artists Mentioned:
  • Aaron Paul (Actor)
  • Karen Gillan (Actor)
  • Jim Jarmusch (Director)
  • Yorgos Lanthimos (Director)
  • Aaron Stewart-Ahn (Filmmaker)
  • Jack Nicholson (Actor)

Riley’s IMDB Page

Posted 4.20.2022


"I started this series as a means for exploration, an exploration of self, and an exploration of the perspectives of other artists.

This series is an unabridged documentation of conversations between artists. It’s a series dedicated to breaking down the barriers we tend to set up in our own minds. I want to inspire future creatives to have the courage to explore and experiment. This is about making dreams a reality and not about letting our dreams fall to the wayside.

My intention is to give my audience a sense of real human connection, something that feels rich and organic.

When I was thinking of a title I thought of the word “movement”.

In relation to the Renaissance period in art, my goal for this program is to signify a rebirth of consciousness towards the way we look at contemporary art."

- Yoshino