He graduated in 1991 from the Polytechnic of Central London with a Bachelor (Honours) degree in Film and Photography.
Rafi spent his childhood in Tehran, where he lived in a basement flat underneath a post-production studio. He describes himself as having been a "very bad" child actor, starting in films at the age of eight. His first short film, In Exile (1991) was presented the same year at the London International Film Festival.
In the 90"s Pitts moved to Paris and worked on films by Leos Carax, Jacques Doillon and Jean-Luc Godard.
In 1996 he had the opportunity to film in Iran and describes himself as having been the first film director (in exile) to do so since the Revolution in 1979. His first feature Season Five (1997) was the first Franco-Iranian coproduction since the Revolution.