Small Film, Big City

Local director, Brady Kiernan, carries his poignant film to Tribeca.

Theyll always have Minneapolis.

Image by Photo courtesy Tribeca Film Festival

They’ll always have Minneapolis.

by Sally Hedberg

All it took was a read-through of the script, and Minneapolis filmmaker Brady Kiernan knew that he was 100 percent on-board to commit to the film âÄúStuck Between Stations.âÄù And itâÄôs easy to understand why.

HeâÄôs a man with a vision âÄî a vision of telling stories by portraying people through the most honest and familiar characterizations. He finds the subtleties of human beings fascinating, and itâÄôs something heâÄôs chosen to highlight on his latest film, which will make its worldwide debut this week at the esteemed Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

Tribeca was initiated in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff as a response to the effects 9/11 had on the artsy, lower-Manhatten district of TriBeCa. It was meant to restore life to a community shattered by disaster. Since then, it has blossomed into one of the countryâÄôs foremost independent film festivals.

âÄúThe appeal of film for me has always been storytelling,âÄù Kiernan said. âÄúWhat interests me so much is the empathy audiences are able to feel for images on a screen.âÄù

In the post-9/11 era, the empathy Kiernan speaks of is unavoidable in a film dealing with war. However, âÄúStuck Between StationsâÄù isnâÄôt your typical war movie either. At its core itâÄôs a film about timing.

Filmed in Minneapolis, it tells the tale of two high school acquaintances: Casper, a jaded soldier on leave, and Rebecca, a perfectionist grad student who takes herself too seriously. In a twist of fate, the two spend a night together touring the underbelly of Minneapolis, meeting a cast of odd characters along the way, learning things about themselves and all the while cursing the burden of their unfortunate timing.

Think of it as a locally reinterpreted âÄúBefore SunriseâÄù with a Josh Hartnett cameo. It is known that Casper has to go back to war in the morning, so the entirety of their adventure is bittersweet.

But itâÄôs moments and people like this that fuel the intensity of KiernanâÄôs work.

âÄúThatâÄôs what connects me,âÄù Kiernan said. âÄúTrying to get a glimpse as to who these people really are. You have to get to know them.âÄù

As a Minneapolis Community and Technical College filmmaking graduate and holder of various crew member jobs through different organizations, Kiernan appreciates the luxury of finally dictating his own creativity.

âÄúI donâÄôt think very many people have the goal of going in to film school because they want to work on commercials,âÄù Kiernan laughed.

The script itself, written by leading actor Sam Rosen and Nat Bennett, evolved into a full-fledged project in a relatively short amount of time (six months). The fact that itâÄôs already been accepted by Tribeca is no small feat either. As a director, Kiernan isnâÄôt consumed by his newly acquired prestige. He most looks forward to getting audience feedback.

âÄúObviously, anyoneâÄôs hope is going to be a distribution deal,âÄù Kiernan said. âÄúBut thatâÄôs more and more a rarity in the realm of indie film. IâÄôm really looking forward to just watching the film along with an audience.âÄù

Modest hopes from a homegrown artist thatâÄôs achieved something pretty substantial in the scope of a developing career.

But hey, Tribeca isnâÄôt that far from Brooklyn. Maybe The Hold Steady âÄî whose song the title of the film is taken from âÄî will compose some of that audience.