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When all is said and done, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival will have had 357 screenings of 200+ films over the course of 22 days, with the annual “Best of Fest” series starting this Friday. It all leads up to the locally produced closing night feature, Stuck Between Stations. Only a few weeks ago, Stuck Between Stations had its world premiere screening at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and sold out all of its five screenings. Originally there were four planned, but a fifth was added due to overwhelming popular demand. The MSPIFF screening has roughly 100 tickets remaining, but a third show could pop up, probably due to popular demand by locals.
The film was shot in the Twin Cities over a year ago and has a simple premise (think Before Sunrise with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy), but it does feature two wonderful performances from its two leads. Zoe Lister-Jones and Sam Rosen (who also served as co-writer and co-producer) play Rebecca and Casper, who meet the night before Casper, a soldier on bereavement leave, heads back overseas. His old childhood crush Rebecca barely remembers him, but decides to hang out with him on his last night in town. Throughout the night, we meet a cast of characters including a professor Rebecca has a history with (played by Michael Imperioli from HBO’s The Sopranos) and local actor Josh Hartnett, who's leading of some type of bicycle gang.
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It goes without saying that the third “main” character in the film is the Twin Cities area, and cinematographer Bo Hakala does a superb job of capturing the nightlife around Minneapolis as we follow Rebecca and Casper among different bars (First Avenue, Grumpy’s), landmarks (Weisman Art Museum, Walker Art Center), and exciting new places; I’m not entirely sure, where director Brady Kiernan and company shot some of the footage, but they have delivered a picture-perfect postcard of the Twin Cities—I love these towns even more after watching Stuck Between Stations.
While taking its title from a song by The Hold Steady (a New York band fronted by native Minnesotan Craig Finn), the soundtrack features mostly Twin-Cities-based artists and bands including Leisure Birds, Thunder in the Valley, Dillinger Four, Atmosphere, and P.O.S.; all the contributed music really hits home.
I spoke with Kiernan on the phone; he was at Union Square heading to the Tribeca Awards ceremony. Kiernan apologized for the loud background noises. A Twin Cities native, he grew up in the west suburbs. The first question I asked was, "Being a Minnesota native, how thrilling is it to have your first non-documentary feature film close your hometown film festival?”
Click the play button below to hear the interview.
Image courtesy RKB pictures.