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 “Stuck Between Stations.” And it’s easy to understand why.
He’s a man with a vision — a vision of telling stories by portraying people through the most honest and familiar characterizations. He finds the subtleties of human beings fascinating, and it’s something he’s 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 country’s foremost independent film festivals.
“The appeal of film for me has always been storytelling,” Kiernan said. “What interests me so much is the empathy audiences are able to feel for images on a screen.”
In the post-9/11 era, the empathy Kiernan speaks of is unavoidable in a film dealing with war. However, “Stuck Between Stations” isn’t your typical war movie either. At its core it’s 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 “Before Sunrise” 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 it’s moments and people like this that fuel the intensity of Kiernan’s work.
“That’s what connects me,” Kiernan said. “Trying to get a glimpse as to who these people really are. You have to get to know them.”
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.
“I don’t think very many people have the goal of going in to film school because they want to work on commercials,” 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 it’s already been accepted by Tribeca is no small feat either. As a director, Kiernan isn’t consumed by his newly acquired prestige. He most looks forward to getting audience feedback.
“Obviously, anyone’s hope is going to be a distribution deal,” Kiernan said. “But that’s more and more a rarity in the realm of indie film. I’m really looking forward to just watching the film along with an audience.”
Modest hopes from a homegrown artist that’s achieved something pretty substantial in the scope of a developing career.
But hey, Tribeca isn’t that far from Brooklyn. Maybe The Hold Steady — whose song the title of the film is taken from — will compose some of that audience.