October 17, 1977 |
Background and education
Bertino was born in Crowley, Texas. He studied cinematography at the University of Texas at Austin. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a gaffer, and wrote screenplays in his spare time.
Bertino submitted The Strangers for a Nicholl Fellowship with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which reached the quarterfinals. However, he was able to get a meeting with Vertigo Entertainment. Bertino quit his job days before the script was sold to Universal Studios.
Mark Romanek wanted to direct The Strangers but demanded a $40 million budget. After speaking with Andrew Rona at Rogue Pictures, Bertino was asked to direct The Strangers despite a lack of directorial experience.