Director Rotimi Rainwater has taken a long journey to become a filmmaker. From being a young man in the Navy at 18, to ending up spending the next year homeless after leaving the armed services to take care of his cancer stricken mother. It took 20 years working his way up in the business, and but projects have always used the medium to combine entertainment with the possibility of inspiring change.
Born in Banbury, England Rotimi Rainwater grew up in Orlando, Florida. He wrote his first book in the 4th grade, which is still in the school library, and knew this was what he wanted to do. But being raised in public housing, college wasn’t an option so he went directly into the US Navy out of high school. After getting out to take care of his mother, Rotimi was given his first job as a production assistant on the film, Passenger 57. From there he worked in Orlando on shows such as Swampthing, Superboy, and films such as The Bodyguard and My Girl.
He got his start directing for cause-based projects such as The Truth Anti-Tobacco campaign and CDC’s VERB campaign, and then moved into writing and directing reality shows for The Tennis Channel, HGTV, and other networks. It wasn’t glamorous but having to forego the college campus in favor of “ABS” or “Always Be Shooting” film school he had to learn the craft of filmmaking from the ground up. In the years following, Rotimi independently produced and directed many documentary projects for youth and cause-based companies, including The Truth anti-tobacco campaign the CDC’s VERB youth campaign, and The ACLU’s 10Couples.org campaign for same sex rights.
In 2005 he transitioned from short form reality project into the documentary feature world with “SP!T” based on the world of Slam Poetry which won best documentary feature at the Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival.
After spending a few years writing films for other people, he turned his focus on his own life and wrote “Sugar” based on the year he spent homeless. The film was received well and had a short theatrical run. But through screening the film for Congress and homeless youth organizations across the country he found a new direction and has spent the past 3 ½ years making the documentary film, Lost in America. He has taken a film crew across the country to make a film that takes an unflinching look at the world of homeless youth. Using his own experience as a former homeless youth, he was able to give Lost in America a unique perspective and unprecedented access to America’s lost children; the homeless youth.