Casper is a young soldier home from Afghanistan on bereavement leave after the death of his father. On his last night in town, a near-miss bar fight in the old neighborhood leads to a chance run-in with his childhood crush Rebecca, now a grad student coping with a foundering academic career and a fraught relationship with her married academic advisor. Over the course of a single night, the two traverse a striking Minnesota cityscape, growing closer but knowing they will inevitably have to part ways at dawn. As the pair muse on the nature of life, fear, youth, and disappointment, at turns falling in love and falling apart, their journey mirrors that of a generation experiencing a collective quarter-life crisis.
Featuring standout performances by rising indie stars Zoe Lister-Jones (Breaking Upwards, Arranged) and Sam Rosen (also one of the film's screenwriters), and supported by cameos from Josh Hartnett and Michael Imperioli, Stuck Between Stations is a portrait of restless youth torn between promise and malaise, and an authentic and affecting snapshot of a generational zeitgeist. [Synopsis courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival]
[indieWIRE invited directors with films in the Tribeca Narrative, Documentary and Viewpoints sections to submit responses in their own words about their films. These profiles are being published through the beginning of the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. To prompt the discussion, indieWIRE asked the filmmakers about what inspired their films, the challenges they faced and other general questions. They were also free to add additional comments related to their projects.]
"Stuck Between Stations"
Primary Cast: Sam Rosen, Zoe Lister-Jones, Michael Imperioli, Josh Hartnett
Director(s): Brady Kiernan
Screenwriter: Nat Bennett, Sam Rosen
Producer(s): Spencer Kiernan, Todd Cobery
Co-Producer: Brady Kiernan, Sam Rosen
Director of Photography: Bo Hakala
Editor: Sam Heyn
Post Production: Splice
Responses courtesy of "Stuck Between Stations" director Brady Kiernan.
The appeal of filmmaking...
I became a filmmaker because I love telling stories. Growing up, my brothers and I had a video camera and were constantly making the most ridiculous music videos and short films and having a blast in the process. I never thought of it as a something I could do as a job. It was just something that was a lot of fun. Once I entered the world of academia, I found that the classes in film were the easiest for me to stay engaged and get good grades in. I've always just loved the act of losing yourself in someone else's story and delving into the depths of someone else's character. Film is also wonderful because it is a collaborative medium, so I'm able to work creatively with some very talented people. That is endlessly rewarding.
Why did you choose this project?
The script came to me from Sam Rosen, the co-writer and male lead in the film. We had worked together on a few other movies and I loved his work, so I got excited when he told me that he and his writing partner Nat Bennett had a script for a love story set in Minneapolis. Once I read the script, we moved pretty quickly into production. Everything happened really quickly.
Focusing on character...
This film is definitely about the two main characters and their relationship, so we knew we were really going to focus on the performances and not get too style heavy. The entire film takes place at night, so we knew we would have to keep things relatively simple in terms of our lighting and color schemes. The film is also very dialogue heavy, so we really put an emphasis on subtle movements of the camera. We tried to stay inventive with how we covered the scenes. Most important was building an intimacy between these two characters and between the characters and the audience, so we really tried not to do anything that would get in the way of that.
Fundraising is always the most difficult part. We were fortunate that we were able to get it done in a relatively short period of time, but it was by far the biggest hurdle. Everything else and everyone else was really pleasant. It was overall a wonderful experience.
Dealing with drunks...
Aside from two scenes at the beginning of the film, the entire story takes place in the city at night. Minneapolis is a wonderfully clean and peaceful city, but the drunks and freaks still come out at night. We had to break up a few domestic disputes that happened to take place next to set. We had to get a few drunks arrested. A cop ended up bringing a drunk back to set to have us identify him. He rolled up with his lights flashing, screeched to a halt and said "is this the asshole?" We got quite a kick out of that.
Sam, Nat and I have started developing an indie crime story. My producers, Spencer and Todd, are both directors as well, so they have scripts that we'll probably try to make. First and foremost, we want to get this film out into the world and make it a success. We'll see where that takes us. Keep your fingers crossed for us.