Brooklyn resident to open Big Apple Film Festival with ‘Inside The Rain’

"Inside The Rain" is a romantic comedy about Benjamin Glass, who has bi-polar disorder and fights possible expulsion by creating a film. ("Inside The Rain"/Aaron Fisher)

The romantic comedy stars Rosie Perez, Ellen Toland and Aaron Fisher.

In his romantic comedy, Brooklyn native, filmmaker and actor Aaron Fisher presents an honest but humorous look at what it is to live and love with bi-polar disorder.

Fisher wrote, starred in and directed the film, “Inside The Rain,” over the course of four and a half years, and now he gets to present it to a wider New York City audience on Monday, when his film opens the Big Apple Festival.

The festival showcases the highest quality films from the NYC independent film community and those from across the country and world.

Starring Rosie Perez, Eric Roberts, Catherine Curtin, Ellen Toland and Fisher, the film follows the budding romance between Benjamin Glass (Fisher) and Emma Taylor (Toland), who hatch a scheme to unravel and dispel a misunderstanding that threatens to expel Ben from college.

The movie is heavily autobiographical, Fisher says, noting that he has dealt with bi-polar disorder for most of his life, and that over the course of writing the script, he fell into a depression and went through numerous treatments to help ease his mania.

When he started to write his own experiences into the story, the words began to flow.

“You have to be functioning on a very high level to write, direct, star and edit a feature film. It was the hardest thing I ever tried in my life,” he told amNewYork.

At times in the movie, Ben is seen speaking with his no-B.S. psychiatrist Dr. Holloway (Perez), taking medication and even attempts suicide — but he never tries to hide it or apologize for it. And while Fisher says he wants audiences to interpret the movie in their own way, he does see that the film could help to humanize those with bi-polar and show that it is a very real disorder.

Rosie Perez is Dr. Holloway, Ben’s psychiatrist who takes no bull. (“Inside The Rain”/Aaron Fisher)

“Movies can be empathy machines,” he said. “It’s important for people to see … and start to understand bi-polar more.”

The title, “Inside The Rain,” came from his metaphor for bi-polar disorder — “you can be in the rain and be miserable or you can be soaked and euphoric,” he said. “[Bi-polar] has nothing to do with anything except for the fact that your brain chemistry is off.”

Fisher didn’t mean for the film to be a commentary on living with a mental illness. To him, it is a romantic comedy about someone who happens to have bi-polar, he said.

“Romantic comedies are not on the list of what genres sell right now,” he said. “This movie can’t beat out Marvel movies, but I feel people are sick of that stuff. I wish there were more movies like this at theaters.”

“Inside The Rain,” which was filmed around New York City, takes a lot of inspiration from “The Graduate” (directed by Mike Nichols), Fisher said.

“I knew the guy would get the girl in the end, but it didn’t end up exactly how I planned it — the ending surprises me every time I watch it,” he said. “The real story is the love story.”

For more information about “Inside the Rain,” visit insidetherainmovie.com.

Shaye Weaver