A HEALING, Magnanimous Love Story Honoring our Deepest INTEGRITY:

QUEST – The Truth Always Rises

“In Honor of Tim Moellering & All the MENTORS, TEACHERS, & COACHES that Help the Kids that Need It the Most”


A HEALING, Magnanimous Love Story Honoring our Deepest INTEGRITY:




  The Truth Always Rises

“In Honor of Tim Moellering & All the MENTORS, TEACHERS, & COACHES that Help the Kids that Need It the Most”


A shocking true story of Courage, Faith, & Forgiveness

“Lying might get you what you want in the short run, but honesty will get you what you need in the long run.” – Tim Moellering

*If you choose to watch QUEST, I’d like to warn you with LOVE it’s brutal truth and offer my sincerest apologies if it’s too much.  

For those that aren’t ready – those who “experience” too much – I understand. Healing requires going toward the truth and that can take time to face. At some point, the Truth Always Rises. Through the struggle, the power of love will come and shift everything.

I’m deeply grateful to all MENTORS, like Tim Moellering, who have extended love, kindness, and empathy toward children.  Please allow me to extend that LOVE to each and every one of you who “experiences” QUEST as you embark on your QUEST that begins at the conclusion of the movie – it will open a door to transformation and welcomes you to a more fruitful path of truth, empathy, health, and forgiveness.

Standing Ovation at its World Premiere in Oldenburg, Germany:

Starring Dash Mihok (Ray Donovan), Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba), Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad) & Lakeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You, Get Out, Atlanta…) & Introducing Greg Kasyan



What Lou Diamond Phillips says about Quest:

“Trust Your Struggle” – Debt (played by Lakeith Stanfield)

Why Hollywood is Scared – 3 Audience Members from Mill Valley Film Festival Explain:

“#1 Film on ZED’s Top 10 Movies of 2017” (Posted by the Producers of Good Time)

Thrown Away Then Rescued

Quest – The Truth Always Rises

Santiago’s – struggle to survive.   He spent more time on the streets then he did at home because the streets felt safer to him at the time. His abusive stepfather had spent 17 years in prison prior to meeting his mother and his violent home almost cost him his life.  Santiago reeled with anger and pain from the abuse and bloodshed.  He was thrown away, pressured out of his home, spent time in a foster home and had been arrested several times with an addiction to graffiti and petty crime. He was on the road to expulsion until a rather simple yet kind teacher, Tim Moellering, took him in. Tim taught in the Berkeley School District for 28 years until he passed away in 2011 from pancreatic cancer. In 2013, the City of Berkeley voted on a $5mm bond to build a grass baseball field on MLK Jr Way which they named in his honor.

Tim did not judge. He believed if a kid has at least one redeeming quality, then he or she is redeemable. Despite Santi being meaner to Tim than anyone he ever knew, Tim shared unconditional love and taught by never breaking a promise. Tim saw a kid in pain, crying out for help and a child who needed more kindness and productive things to do. He didn’t think there was such thing as a bad kid, only a bad situation. He trusted Santi when no one else would. And when Santi couldn’t trust anyone. Tim was a great listener and a committed mentor & coach who treated all his students and players the same – with kindness, trust, empathy and understanding. 

Tim Moellering Field is on MLK Jr. Way & Derby in Berkeley, California

The Power of Kindness

The Launch To Stanford

This unlikely friendship uncovered the astonishing — Santiago’s Quest for learning, healing, sharing, and caring. Without violence or conflict, he was able to channel his intensity, born from trauma, toward getting into college. He became an emancipated minor through the court, Student Body President of his high school and with good grades and hustle, he became a Quest Scholar (a nonprofit that helps underserved and low-income youth get into college). After demonstrating an intense drive to succeed and dig deep, he was awarded full financial aid to Stanford University.

In a safe, vibrant, creative atmosphere, he gained the tools and space to process his past and focus on a brighter future. Santiago studied, debated, and learned new truths and possibilities. With that confidence, the world continued to open up.  He still made many mistakes, but it didn’t matter – his Quest was driving him.  In 2003, Santiago graduated from Stanford with a major in Economics, minor in Psychology and a 3.55 GPA while also taking acting classes at the American Conservatory Theatre, working for Quest Scholars.


After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue filmmaking where he met mentors like Haskell Wexler (Oscar winning cinematographer) while catering the Oscars for Wolfgang Puck. This inspired a greater vision, voice, and artist in him. Quest, continued — without a financial pillow to fall back on, and not yet earning the privilege to pursue the arts, he got an internship with a financial advisor, met a “Michael Jordan” of finance catering a party in Malibu, and left Hollywood for the fortunate opportunity of working on WALL STREET. While in NYC, he ate and learned from the homeless on Sundays and volunteered at the Administration for Children’s Services (foster care in NYC). When Tim died of pancreatic cancer in 2011, he reached even higher, wanting to pay back his debt and help troubled youth – face their truth – and take action.  After Quest was rejected by every agent and producer Santiago approached, with zero filmmaking experience, he sold the house Tim bought with him, produced and directed Quest. A script he originally wrote with Tim 10 years prior. Quest stands as a living tribute not only to Tim but to all the beautiful mentors, teachers, and coaches who are committed to saving those who are struggling and restoring their ability to dream for a better day. Tim lived as an example of integrity, as he promised; with courage, humility, and empathy. His glory shines down from Heaven. And as he was greeted with the greatest love, God smiled, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

This is the house Santiago and Tim bought together. Santi left Wall Street to be with Tim during his final year and worked full time on remodeling it with his own hands. Santi sold it in 2014 in order to make QUEST. Tim never broke a promise to Santi. Before Tim passed, Santi promised he would make Quest in Tim’s honor. Quest is the completion of that promise. Please watch the Eulogy from January 2011 at the bottom of this page.

“All of us struggle. It is only when we share and embrace our struggles that we can collaborate on a newer, bigger and more important Quest toward a safer world.  But we all have our own Quest to get there.  We cannot change anyone else other than our ourselves. We do that by focusing on our shadows and privileges and bringing those to light so we can be a source of light for others. The only thing we can control in life is what we give. We cannot control what we receive.

None of us are anyone else’s ‘God’. ‘God’ is Love and Love is ‘God’.” -Santiago Rizzo

“There’s no such thing as a bad kid. Only a bad situation.” – Tim Moellering

“Every child is born as a blank slate – a beautiful blank canvas where anything and everything is possible when we have love, compassion, friendship, sharing, and giving. Many of us had to inherit a negative energy that was no fault of our own which we then perpetuate by acting out in unhealthy ways. When we let go of the hate and resentment — when we forgive — we create space for love. Love is the only energy that can heal.” -Santiago Rizzo

Dylan Mattingly was one of Tim Moellering’s students and ballplayers. He wrote all the original score for Quest at just 23 years old. One of the most powerful elements of the movie is the music he wrote, some of which he literally wrote from outside Tim’s garage (which was also the house we filmed out of, the house Tim died in, and the house I used to live in with him). Tim used to tell me that Dylan would be one of the world’s most influential composers. Dylan was senior in high school at the time. Tim had impeccable taste in music and after watching the movie, I think you will agree that he wasn’t just saying that. I included a few videos from rehearsal with Dylan in the Member’s section. Please join us.

“Your pain can be the greatest teacher and gift. Through the pain is the unexpected and valuable pathway out. There is a Future Beyond Your Past. You must trust it and have faith.  It WILL get better.  When we can accept and release our pain, we no longer have to be a victim. Instead we can empower. Light and love suddenly appear where it was not possible before. This is why the first frames of the movie have Mills running with the birds flying away. This is what the movie builds toward.

Let the pain humble you to the release. The truth will eventually rise and it will set you free.”  -Santiago Rizzo

Thaden School screened to their 7th and 9th graders. After the screening, we talked about how understanding the pain someone else might be living in helps us empathize instead of judge and with empathy we can help open up gateways to a better future. We discussed privilege as safety and love and how those of us with it now have a responsibility to share with those of us that don’t yet get it. The kids acting out likely have a struggle we don’t yet know about (and can’t speak about). 

After feedback from the students, parents were very thankful to the administration. I believe it’s time we stop sheltering children from the reality of what other children go through. When we do this, the children with the gift of love from healthier families, FEEL and therefore empathize with the child they would normally be fearful of and isolate. With new understanding of they can step out of fear and come to the rescue with love.

My favorite part of the movie is being of service and seeing the kids shift! They begin to recognize the ways in which they push people away and can begin their Quest of empowerment by not being a victim anymore, and begin taking responsibility for their actions, therefore healing themselves and others while building toward a brighter future. I have a dream that one day these detention centers can become healing centers that produce of the most powerful healers our world has ever seen! These kids have been through the worst pain and trauma. They are our world’s greatest gifts because they have the potential to bring the darkest shadows to the brightest light.

Toby Eagle was one of my best friends as a kid. We used to work together as kids collecting cans in the streets of Berkeley and West Oakland to make some income. His spirit was inspiration for Diego’s character played by Lakeith Stanfield. On March 8, 2011, Toby was shot and killed in Berkeley. Here’s Toby talking about Tim at Tim’s Memorial just 38 days before Toby died. My step-father played by Lou Diamond Phillips, also died in 2011.


Santiago Rizzo and Dylan Mattingly’s Eulogy for Tim Moellering, January 29, 2011

“Had many audience members sobbing cathartically by film’s end… Gregory Kasyan, plays 12-year-old Rizzo — “Mills” in the film — with an adept, brutally-honest hand that belies his age and leaves you with the distinct impression that you are watching one of our future greats in action...
It’s an assured debut feature that doesn’t pull any punches; you leave the theater transformed...
Rizzo — who screens the film at juvenile detention centers around the country — is the first to point out that some audiences can and will find the film’s subject matter challenging. “We are in a revolution of the evolution of consciousness... But if we are to evolve, our shadows have to come to light.”
MovieMaker Magazine


"Quest should be on everyone's awards radar.”
— Andrea Chase/Killer Movie Reviews


“Quest is an undiscovered gem… in the same way Forrest Gump defined a generation, it will leave an imprint on your soul in the way audiences have not seen since the quiet truths revealed in the Shawshank Redemption…

Quest deserves wide release so that parents, professors/teacher and caregivers alike may watch and discuss this film in the privacy of their own homes, cafeteria screenings and coming of age slumber parties… Hollywood must have the courage to allow Quest to reach the masses so we may pause, rewind, and press play - over and over again until every tear is wiped from our eyes and pain outcry are no more. The power of a kind word spoken at the right time is evident in this twenty first century masterpiece…”
Alicia Nichols, Emcee at Napa Valley Film Festival
(in “Members" section)


"A Modern day ‘The 400 Blows’… Powerful. Greg Kasyan — the Jean-Pierre Leaud to Rizzo’s Truffaud — won best actor at the Oldenburg Film Festival, Europe’s equivalent of Sundance. Ultimately, Inspiring.”
 — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle


“Quest is the kind of story that breaks us down so we can build ourselves up, better than before...
This is not a feel good movie. It is a get off your ass and change the world movie; not the whole world, all at once, like a superhero, but bit by bit, one compassionate word and generous act at a time. 
Go see it and bring everyone you know!

— endigomatolla
(IMDb Review: https://www.imdb.com/review/rw4188709/)


“This is more than Germany. People are nice but they don’t show their emotions so easily. This happened twice in the history of the festival.”
Torsten Neumann, Director of Oldenburg Film Festival, addressing the standing ovation.


“A powerful, tense, amazing performance by young Gregory Kasyan as Mills and a frightening, honest portrayal by Lou Diamond Phillips. Best film I've seen all year, and I spend my life studying and teaching film history and filmmaking. A24, pick up this film!!!.”
David Foulds 
(IMDb Review: https://www.imdb.com/review/rw4208327/)


“Quest is likely the Best movie I have ever seen. Real, real, real. Intense, engaging, and ultimately about love, the thing we all so desperately need. We can all learn from this movie, a must see!
— James Schraider
(IMDb Review: https://www.imdb.com/review/rw3834483/)


“It was the most talked about film of the Festival - I never heard any comments that did not praise Quest... Exceptional film you will remember.”
 Rich PM (IMDb Review: https://www.imdb.com/review/rw3855627/)


“'Quest' is one of the best movies I've ever seen. Go and watch it!”
— larsrandolph
(IMDb Review: https://www.imdb.com/review/rw3808839/)


“I’ve never seen a more perfect movie… I’ve never poured down crying like that, ever in my life. Not for a movie.”
Bentonville, Arkansas Audience Member
(testimonial video #2 on home page)


“I could have never prepared myself for such a beautifully executed movie...All I have to say is.... WOW. Watch it! But be prepared to cry and have your whole world change after watching it !”
 Julia Sirbu (IMDb Review: https://www.imdb.com/review/rw4010662/)


“It will leave you with all sorts of emotions and will move you in ways Hollywood has yet to.”
—@karolinastateofmind on @santi_rizzo Instagram


“This film should be shown in every school. It should be mandatory to every parent to see this.”
Cleveland Film Festival Audience Member C
(testimonial video #4 on home page)


“‘Quest’ is a film every teacher should see.”
Pamela Powell/Reel Honest Reviews


Saw this film last night and was absolutely blown away! It is equally hard to watch and a beautiful story I can’t wait to see again. Don’t miss it and come prepared… I want to be on the books that this will be The Indie film of the year… Of all the films I’ve ever seen, it’s in my top 5.”
Anne Stimac, President, A-Mac Placement
(Santiago Rizzo Facebook public wall)


"Brilliant acting ... and a standing ovation… Lou Diamond Phillips at his dramatic best… An inspiring story of hope… Santiago Rizzo is my hero.”
Richard Freedman, Vallejo Times-Herald


This movie is soul shifting!! We need to get this movie shared with everyone, but most especially with our young people.”
@reinspirate on @santi_rizzo Instagram


“Seriously, I’ve been talking about @questthemovie with my cast, crew, and friends since I left the screening. You are so brave and thoughtful on so many fronts and I really respect that… told Ava about it.”
Cierra Glaude, Ava Duvernay’s mentee, @sh00ter_ on Instagram


“Best movie I’ve seen all year.”
Katsitsionni Fox, Urbanworld Audience Member
(Santiago Rizzo Facebook public wall)


“The story of Santiago’s childhood inspired me to be more ‘vulnerable’ and this is something my ‘pride’ doesn’t really take it light. This movie is the definition of 'REALISTIC of Inspiration.'”
Junior B.T., 17 year old resident in an Arkansas Juvenile Detention Center
(letter posted in the “Members" section)


“Mind Blowing, heart wrenching, and soul filling… I can’t recommend it more highly.”
John Fike, teacher at Berkeley Unified School District
(Santiago Rizzo Facebook public wall).


“Quest was one of the BEST films I’ve ever seen… so powerful and so moving.”
-Mendocino Film Festival Audience Member D
(testimonial video #3 on home page)


“Realized why Hollywood isn’t listening. The rules are simple, not heroic. Anyone can follow them. They work. Your film, Tim’s film is one I’ll never forget.”
Chris Aigner, Cleveland Audience Member
(Santiago Rizzo Facebook public wall)


"It touched something in my heart. It reminded me of God’s Love for us… It was so good. OMG… I can’t stop thinking about it… It impacted me so much.”
-Cleveland Audience Member D
(testimonial video #4 on home page)

“It’s so moving that I can’t even speak. It’s going to take me a while to even make any comments on this movie. That’s my reaction. Truthfully.”
-Cleveland Audience Member A
(testimonial video #4 on home page)


“Resonates to much in Cleveland… you are sharing a revolutionary message… resilient unfailing LOVEEEEE.”
@gem2forest_city on @santi_rizzo Instagram


"The kids are still talking about Quest. Just had a meeting with one of our therapists and he said it had a phenomenal impact on the residents he is seeing.
— Jonathan Pickering, Administrator of White River Juvenile Detention Center, Arkansas
 (email posted in "Members" section)


“I used to be in the streets. I used to do all that stuff. But now that I’m here, that movie made me realize that I need to change my ways of what I’m doing.”
Resident in Cleveland Juvenile Detention Center
(testimonial video #5 on home page, 2nd resident)


“Words can not adequately express the awful beauty of this movie... Hit me like American History X... must see!”
Stephanie Comstock
(IMDb Review: https://www.imdb.com/review/rw4154780/)


A 5 star film that needs to be seen by Everyone... God is in control of everything. When God says yes… he makes a way out of no way.”
Gloria Wadud, Probation Officer at Alameda County Juvenile Detention Center
(email posted in “Members" section)


“It was one of the most moving movies I’ve ever seen. It was so powerful and I told everybody to go see it and everybody who has seen it has come back to me and told me the same exact thing. Quest is a movie that must be seen by EVERYBODY.”
-Mendocino Audience Member
 (testimonial video #3 on home page)


“It was brilliant!!”
— Esa Krause, Asst Chief Probation Officer, Alameda County Juvenile Probation Department
(Santiago Rizzo Facebook public wall)


“'Trust Your Struggle'... it really touched my heart and made me cry. I would like to buy your movie and recommend to my family and friends. They would love it very much. It's very inspirational and loving."
Resident at Chicago Juvenile Detention Center
(letter in "Member" section)


I’m a retired preacher… Pay It Forward was a very moving film, but I think this one was even more authentic, more real. More nitty gritty. More real life. And I understood a lot more through this film about graffiti and about kids that act out… I think you can bring whatever is in your background or heart to the film. I think it’s a universal film.
— Cleveland Audience Member 
(testimonial video #6 on home page)


“Honestly one of the best things I’ve seen. Still thinking about it 24 hrs. later. I’ll carry it with me into my classroom each day.”
Cleveland Audience Member/Teacher 
(@clarkey865 on @santi_rizzo Instagram)


“Your film made my wife go to tears. She can hardly speak. She was so moved. Very moving.”
-Cleveland Audience Member B
(testimonial video #4 on home page)


“I was wrenched with tears from the start of the movie until the very end, and even afterwards. It was emotionally deep and touching. Beautiful.”
-Mendocino Audience Member A 
(testimonial video #3 on home page)


“Was hard for me to watch. I was just with that big apple in my throat the whole time. Very very moving. Very real.”
-Mendocino Audience Member B 
(testimonial video #3 on home page)


“Quest is the Best... If there’s one film you should see at Slamdance/Sundance... check out this gem.”
Kevin Kunze
(IMDb Review: https://www.imdb.com/review/rw4049306/)


Saw one of the best films I have ever experienced last night and even had the opportunity to shake the phenomenal directors hand and get a hug. Quest was awesome and gave me a new insight on life and overcoming struggle! Thank you @santi_rizzo for this amazing film.”
Audience Member at Gasparilla Film Festival in Tampa, FL 
(@dbperez54 on Instagram)


“Couldn’t have loved it more… cried from start to finish… it’s amazing everyone needs to see it.”
Nicole Vasquez Henry, Mill Valley Film Festival
(Santiago Rizzo Facebook public wall)


“Incredibly Powerful! I can’t quite put it into words right now because it’s so fresh.”
-Cleveland Audience Member A
(testimonial video #1 on home page)


“Not only powerful but extremely important. In a world full of ego, we need to embrace humility.”
 @Arashdemaxi on @santi_rizzo Instagram


The movie Quest brought tears to my eyes… only love can heal… Thank you so much for sharing your truth with the world through this touching film.”
@lasonrisade_ale on @santi_rizzo Instagram


“I was absolutely blown away by this movie… Words just can’t do this movie justice. My favorite movie in the world. Please go watch it!”
—@Pizzathatscold14 on @santi_rizzo Instagram


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