Ruspoli went on to study philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley and began his film career working for production designer Dean Tavoularis (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now) on the set of Bulworth. After nearly a decade of making mostly short documentaries on a shoestring—topics included flamenco and his father’s drug addiction—Ruspoli cobbled together Fix’s $300,000 budget with help from former investment banker Giancarlo Canavesio. “We showed it to the William Morris Agency, and they fell in love with it,” Ruspoli says. “They took me as a client, but they were shocked that the movie was made for so little. I thought it was a huge amount.”
Today Ruspoli’s Mangusta & LAFCO Productions is developing two documentaries, and he’s reading scripts for more-mainstream movies. Fix hasn’t yet found a distributor following its 35 festival screenings, but Ruspoli imagines a day when independent directors will be able to deliver films directly to consumers, much as indie bands sell their music through MySpace and iTunes.
Asked what his father, who died in 2005 at age 80, thought of the young prince’s moviemaking ambitions, Ruspoli replies that both his parents were supportive. “Many people have trouble living up to famous parents,” he adds. “I always joke I was lucky because my father was famous for not doing anything. That’s not hard to live up to.”