A&E » Film

So many movies so few Junior Mints!

The film festival is back in town! Check out A&E's interview with Daryl Wein, director of "Breaking Upwards"
April 16, 2009

WHAT: Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival
WHERE: St. Anthony Main Theater, Oak St. Cinema, Kerasotes Block E.
WHEN: April 16 - April 30
PRICE: $8/$10

With more than 135 films to choose from and a screening schedule spanning 15 days, the 27th Annual Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival is a comprehensive look at independent cinema on a global scale. Changing things up from years past, the festival will show the majority of its content at the St. Anthony Main theater, with only a small number of films remaining at their usual Oak St. Cinema location and an opening and closing party at Block E.
Spanning nearly every edge of the world (the U.S. included), the lineup of films this year seems dizzily expansive. Viewers can choose from a scope that ranges from a Palestinian romantic drama (“Salt of this Sea“) to children’s animated shorts to American-made indies like “The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle,” which follows a group of cookie-stealing janitors who birth out fluorescent toxic fish.
A&E managed to speak with a couple of directors about the making of some of the festival’s highlights.

“Breaking Upwards” COUNTRY: America DIRECTED BY: Daryl Wein
SHOWING: April 24, 9:25 p.m. at St. Anthony Main and April 25, 3:30 p.m. at Oak St. Cinema

Daryl Wein , 25, directed, co-wrote and starred in “Breaking Upwards,” an honest, entertaining and well-crafted film about a young New York couple’s completely planned break up. Co-starred and co-written by Zoe Lister-Jones, Wein’s actual girlfriend, the film quickly transcends romantic comedy or drama to become a subtle dialogue about the nature of love and the starkly shifting shape of dating in the 21st century. When the couple notices that the flare is gone from their love life and boredom has set in, they decide to wean themselves off each other gradually in an attempt to bypass heartbreak.
Their plan, as well as the situation, quickly becomes complicated as they purposefully strive to grow apart.
A&E caught up with Wein about the background of the film.
When did you start living in New York and how long have you been making movies?
I guess like seven or eight years. I started living in New York when I started going to college at NYU.
Were you at the Tisch School of the Arts for film?
I was at Tisch School of the Arts for drama. At that point I was focusing more on acting, but itching to get out of school for a chance to direct, which I had done a little bit of in high school.
Is this your first feature film?
I made a short film that was in the Tribeca Film Festival called “Unlocked.” That was the first real short film I did with professional actors. My first feature film was called “Sex Positive .” It was a documentary that is being distributed this summer. “Breaking Upwards” is my second feature film but my first narrative feature.
In the opening scene of the film you guys are dressed up as “Smoke and Mirrors” in a street festival in New York. Are the hundreds of people around extras? Or was it a real event?
It was a low budget indie film. We definitely didn’t have the funds to pay all those extras. It’s a real Halloween parade in New York City. We just shot that guerilla and the people who were in it were just real people. That goes for all the scenes outside; the people who are on camera are just there.
Did you have to get permission from all the people who were on screen?
Well, we had permits to be able to shoot in locations around the city, but if people are only on camera in the background for a short period of time and not speaking then you don’t have to get personal clearances.
Where did you generate money to make the film?
We had a private investor, a family member, on the film and then we pulled a lot of favors. Our DP [director of photography] donated his entire camera package, and almost every crew member worked for free. We paid our actors and we paid for food and a lot of miscellaneous expenses, but the real budget saver was Alex Bergman , who was our director of photography. He owns a master series steady cam and an HD camera and the lights and sound equipment and he came with all that and made the movie on spec for us, so that really helped.
What was it like to have to direct yourself, your girlfriend, and your friends?
Well directing Zoe and directing the other people, I knew was actually pretty easy. I trusted them, I knew them, I’m very comfortable around them, and so they could do whatever they wanted. With Zoe, we’re playing semi-fictional versions of ourselves. It’s pretty autobiographical, so a lot of what you see is, in a way, who we really are … so there were some moments that definitely felt awkward, but it was a great experience working with her and everyone.

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