March 25, 2013 • 12:46:33 p.m.

Get to know: Geneva Film Festival director Scott Rolf


Scott Rolf (Provided photo)

GENEVA – A good film is easy to pinpoint, according to Scott Rolf, Geneva resident and director of the annual Geneva Film Festival.

As long as he can “get lost” in a film, it’s worth a watch.

“You kind of forget everything around you and you forget you’re watching a film,” he said.

The man behind Geneva’s Film Festival, which is in its sixth year, is a cameraman by trade who appreciates a good plot line, especially if it has some science fiction or psychological thriller elements.
Rolf, 49, grew up in the southern Illinois town of Centralia, and initially wanted to become an architect. When he got to college, he realized he wanted to do something more creative, so he studied journalism and advertising. But after interviewing with a few ad agencies following graduation, he realized he didn’t really want to do that, either.

He started doing some film editing and worked with a producer who suggested he should give film production a try. And that seemed to stick.

“I realized what I wanted to do was camera work because you were like the center of the universe with the camera,” he said. “Everything revolves around the camera.”

Rolf said he landed an internship with a camera company and after learning about technical components of the camera, he started going out on jobs as a camera assistant. Today, he mostly does commercials, but he’s also worked on the visual effects team for “The Dark Knight” and “Transformers 3,” and also did work on the television show “Prison Break.”

Rolf said he looks forward to shooting his own film short this summer, which he wrote. He described the films he writes as “twisted,” but not like a horror movie – more like a psychological thriller.

“I’ve always been a big fan of The Twilight Zone,” he said. “When people are like, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t see that coming,’ then you know you got it.”

Among the directors who have inspired him are Ridley Scott, who directed “Alien” and “Blade Runner;” James Cameron, who directed “The Abyss” and “Terminator;” and most recently, David Fincher, who directed “Fight Club” and “Se7en.”

Rolf said his favorite part about making films is the collaboration between so many different people who share the same vision.

“For the most part, everyone wants to show up and do something really cool and do something magical,” he said. “That’s the part that I love about this industry. It’s such a collaborative effort. When everything comes together, there’s such a sense of pride.

Rolf first got involved in the Geneva Film Festival in its second year and now organizes the festival, which this year includes 27 films representing 20 countries.

“Last year was the first year the festival really came together,” he said. “This year, we’re kind of building on that because last year was so successful.”

Geneva Film Festival
The Geneva Film Festival opens Thursday, March 28, in downtown Geneva. For more information or to see showtimes, visit

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