In her several years of film production design, Rhea Solanki has brought her innovation to some of the biggest projects in the film, television and OTT world. She has worked with several of the most world-renowned companies – Netflix, Apple, and ABC to name a few. Her personal production design motto is to “use design to tell the story visually and deliver a great viewer experience.” Although she recognizes the importance of satisfying a project brief, her primary focus is to create a seamless, enjoyable and unique viewer experience and engagement.
Where She’s Coming From
Rhea has a formal theatre and film education, with a BA in Theatre and Digital Culture from ASU, as well as an MFA in Film Production Design from AFI. She has always had an expert design sense, focusing on delivering the big picture without missing the small details that trip most people up. Over the course of her career, she has brought her production design talents to an extensive range of projects: app and website development, user journeys, research, content strategy, theatre, short and series films, OTT and game design. She is incredibly passionate about creating superlative and engaging viewer experiences, and loves to take on new challenges that stimulate and expand her skills.
Her first professional position was with Netflix, for “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” by Ryan Murphy which has recently become the 2nd highest grosser on Netflix and is well positioned to win several awards in 2022. During her time on the project, she led the research for the project where her deep design expertise, combined with an eye for detail, and a clear big picture view, helped the set design team to imagine and re-create the set, very closely resembling to the real events & locations. Her unique sense of detail has successfully brought out the gory details in this very successful thriller. Dahmer is 660% more popular than the next closest Netflix show. Working with the Production Designer and Art Director, Rhea’s work helped define the physical environment and world. Her second project with Apple TV was the very well received series, “Surfside Girls” where almost all of the sets were designed and built on stage by the Art team.
Jumping between studio and independent work as the production designer, Rhea has spent several years working on numerous independent film projects including the beautiful and heart breaking “Amina”, which premiered at the very prestigious Tribeca film festival this year. Rhea recreated the surface of the moon and a designed a space shuttle for this film as well as several other sets. Amina was also screened in select theaters around the US. Rhea is constantly approached by several film makers to put on the early-concept faces of projects, she says its’s her favorite part of designing as she can collaborate with other creatives and come up with new ideas that push forward the story. She loves this role as it allowed her to really indulge her storytelling skills and creative visions.
Rhea’s next impact will be in the central role of Art Director for an upcoming short film and feature horror film. In this important role, Rhea will utilize her rare ability to integrate a production’s particular methods of organization, presentation, and design with her own talents. Rhea’s role is absolutely critical to the success of the productions as the aesthetics she is responsible for creating the visual concept of the entire production, which will be screened internationally.
Nowadays, Rhea is working on “Home Economics” by Lionsgate / ABC, a highly popular comedy TV Show and a staple of ABC’s fall lineup of TV Shows. Series like Home Economics, which are viewed by more than 1.5 million viewers each episode, serve as the cornerstone by which networks like ABC build their primetime lineups around. As such it is critical that only the most extraordinary individuals work in leadership positions within the production. Her work is complex and exciting as the art department creates stunning sets every episode.
Future Plans of the Creative Talent
Speaking of the future, Rhea is gathering expertise for Metaverse, AR & VR- which she believes are very promising new digital playgrounds for production designers to create highly engaging stories and deliver unique and personal experiences. She strongly believes that beautiful impactful stories create a better world, one in which we can relate to one another and understand others better by sharing their experiences. The high-quality creative talent has already created an impact in the OTT having worked on the very successful “Dahmer”, and is definitely set to make many more accomplishments in the film industry. She’s surely someone to watch out for!
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