The Graffiti Artist’s Promise
Santiago Rizzo made his debut film, ‘Quest,’ to honor the middle-school coach and teacher who refused to give up on him.
By Mick LaSalle
Photography by Patrick Tehan
It happens, but not very often—a movie that shows you something you might never have known about, that opens up a pocket of human experience in a way that’s moving and illuminating. Currently on the film festival circuit is Quest, director Santiago Rizzo’s lightly fictionalized drama about his own harrowing childhood. By the time Rizzo, ’03, started his freshman year at Stanford, he had seen more of the dark side of human nature than most of us encounter in a lifetime.
“I lived by the Ashby BART station,” recalls Rizzo, ’03. “Now Berkeley is an affluent place, but when I was growing up, it was not.” His parents divorced when he was 5, and his mother remarried. That’s when his nightmare began.