Comets Speak: Producer Ryan Ahrens BA’02 Shares His Current Must-Haves, Oscar Pick

By Melissa Graham  |  February 13, 2019

Ryan Ahrens BA’02 is a movie producer and principal and founder of Argent Pictures. Before his career in film, Ahrens ran a real estate development company and was a practicing attorney. He served in the U.S. Navy, graduating from their Naval Nuclear Power Program and is an FAA-licensed pilot. 

Ahrens’ production company has produced several notable films including Hacksaw Ridge, American MadeChasing Coral and The Birth of a Nation. The company currently has several feature films and documentaries in production, and just premiered Selah and the Spades at last month’s Sundance Film Festival.

Most enjoyable screenplay of the year?
We’re developing a movie based on an incredible screenplay about the 1986 space shuttle Challenger tragedy and, more specifically, about Christa McAuliffe and her journey to become the first civilian in space. I love true stories about incredible historic moments, and Christa’s story continues to be timely and educational.

Favorite app or gadget?
My iPad. It is so portable I can almost substitute it for my computer, and I really enjoy reading on the device.

What Dallas restaurant is a must?
Mi Cocina for their brisket tacos.

Go-to vacation spot?
Cabo San Lucas — it’s a quick flight to get to this beautiful place that feels far away.

Best advice for aspiring producers or filmmakers?
Be tenacious, network and be mindful that your reputation is very important! The film industry is surprisingly small, which can work both for and against you.

Most beneficial UTD class?
My microeconomics classes. Understanding the interactions between producers and consumers in the media marketplace is something that is very important in my industry and continues to change as technology provides new ways to consume content.

What’s stocked in your refrigerator at all times?
Definitely Diet Coke!

Favorite Oscar-nominated film?
Alfonso Cuaron’s film Roma was my favorite film nominated this year. It’s a beautifully made film that was technically amazing. It was unlike anything else I had seen and worthy of all of its accolades.

Relevance: Alumni