This film making adventure started more than 35 years ago when Peter Iliff and Rick Halsey attended the University of California, Santa Barbara. Iliff went on to become an extremely talented screenwriter (Point Break, Patriot Games) and Halsey spread his passion for the natural world as a biology teacher/writer. Every once and awhile, the two pals would drive up to Santa Barbara and stay at Halsey's land to write. The property has a large number of greenhouses that are slowly falling apart since they were taken out of prodction in 1980s. Both always thought the place would provide an excellent set for a movie. Then suddenly, November 2009, the time was right. Iliff and Halsey wrote their story, finished the screenplay, attracted the necessary capital, and rolled into action. By the end of August they were in pre-production. With their assembled cast of remarkably talented actors and dedicated crew, they started filming "Rites of Passage" on October 13. They wrapped November 17, 2010.
To ensure the accuracy of the portrayal of the Chumash Indian culture, the production team consulted with an anthropological expert on the Chumash during both the writing process and production. In addition, a representative from the Chumash reservation was on set several times during shooting. All the actors portraying Chumash characters were Native American.