Born in Boston, an alumnus of Brookline High, Steve Rivo grew up in a film-loving family. He was exposed at an early age to many of the great films, but he always had a warm spot for Robert Aldrich’s “The Frisco Kid” (1979), in which Gene Wilder plays a rabbi assigned to a synagogue in San Francisco in 1850. To get there, the rabbi must cross the Rockies on horseback with a varmint played by Harrison Ford.
Today, Rivo makes his own movies. He’s founder and owner of Down Low Pictures, an independent documentary production company based in Brooklyn. When he was offered a project about the painter and daguerreotypist Solomon Carvalho, a Sephardic Jew from Charleston, South Carolina, who accompanied legendary explorer John Fremont on his 1853 Fifth Western Expedition, the story’s resemblance to “The Frisco Kid” helped win him over.