Risa recently directed a feature film in Canada, The Con Artist (aka The Love Child), for Myriad Pictures, Maple Pictures, and Telefilm Canada, starring Rossif Sutherland, Rebecca Romijn, Sarah Roemer, Donald Sutherland, Russell Peters and a host of great Canadian actors. She accompanied the film to Zurich for its world premiere in the Zurich Film Festival.
200 cigarettes was Risa’s feature film directorial debut, for Paramount Pictures, Lakeshore Entertainment, MTV Films and Mike Newell’s company, Dogstar. The movie stars an all-star line-up – actors who were coming into their own when they joined the ensemble – Ben Affleck, Kate Hudson, Paul Rudd, Dave Chappelle, Casey Affleck, Courtney Love, Christina Ricci, Janeane Garofalo, Martha Plimpton, Jay Mohr, Nicole Ari Parker and Guillermo Diaz.
Risa directed multiple episodes of The Twilight Zone for New Line Television and UPN, along with the season’s wrap-arounds, starring Forest Whitaker.
For HBO, as part of a successful limited series, Risa directed Life Stories: A Deadly Secret, nominated for an ACE Award. Other television directing credits include: The Hidden Room: The Rogue in The Bathroom for Lifetime Television, and Between Cars for Comedy Central.
Risa founded and produced two seasons of ACT ONE in association with Showtime Networks, a Festival of one-act plays, which was a huge success in Los Angeles, in which she directed a number of one-acts. She’s directed extensively at The Ensemble Studio Theatre in NY where she’s been a member since 1981. Here she produced six years of the flagship festival Marathon of One-Act plays, along with a number of Mainstage productions. She’s directed at the Manhattan Theatre Club and Second Stage in New York, and with Naked Angels in L.A. She’s had the privilege to collaborate with and direct new plays by Edward Allan Baker, Bill Bozzone, Wil Calhoun, John Patrick Shanley, Richard Greenberg, Alan Zweibel and Jon Robin Baitz, among others.
As a founding Artistic Director of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s L.A. PROJECT, now E.S.T. LA, Risa worked with HBO for two seasons, producing and directing a series of acclaimed one-acts for The Aspen Comedy Arts Festival.
As a television producer, Risa developed and worked on the NBC television show, Grand, for the Carsey Werner Company and ABC, and on The Hidden Room for Lifetime Television.
Risa has cast over 65 movies including Desperately Seeking Susan, Wall Street, Something Wild, Angel Heart, Fatal Attraction, Born on the Fourth of July, Talk Radio, JFK, Sneakers, The Joy Luck Club, True Romance, Speed, How To Make An American Quilt, Dead Presidents, Twister, and Flirting With Disasterand numerous television shows, including Roseanne, CSI:NY, and currently the Showtime series, Masters of Sex.
As a part of a long and successful collaboration with Oliver Stone, Risa served as a Producer on Heaven and Earth and Natural Born Killers, movies she also cast.
Oscars Abrams Zimel and Associates