// Homegrown film ‘Stuck Between Stations’ brings Minneapolis to the big screen //
Minneapolis, for all its virtues, has received precious little time on the big screen. Most movies set in Minnesota focus on small rural communities, many of them fictional. The Minneapolis that appeared onscreen in Steven Soderbergh’s recent hit “Contagion” was actually (gasp!) Chicago. On the other hand, the Minneapolis of “Stuck Between Stations” is the real deal. The film, which debuted at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, is the story of two people forging a connection over a single night, a night that takes them to several of Minneapolis’ most iconic locations.
The movie captures a particular vision of Minneapolis, one that’s slightly seedy and a little rough around the edges, yet filled with beauty and surprises. It highlights locations such as First Avenue, Loring Park and the Midtown Greenway. It’s a movie that captures the city with a local’s eye, which is not surprising given the homegrown talent behind the film.
“Stuck Between Stations” was directed and co-produced by Brady Kiernan, who graduated from the film program at MCTC and has directed and produced music videos for local artists such as P.O.S. “Stuck Between Stations” is his first feature film, which was written by Minnesotans Nat Bennett and Sam Rosen, who also co-produced and plays the film’s male lead. Several other key members of the crew also have strong Minneapolis ties.
“I met Sam on the movie ‘Four Boxes,’ which I worked as the line producer on,” said director Brady Kiernan. “We really hit it off and really had similar artistic sensibilities. I think he recognized that I was capable of getting something done in the scope of what [Rosen and Bennett] were thinking. He was like ‘Hey, we’ve got this script, would you be interested in making this movie?’ I said absolutely. I really liked the characters and the dialogue. It was an event that I could relate to. It’s the story of two people reconnecting and falling in love. I just immediately felt like I knew the people and I knew how to tell that story.”
Filming began in October 2009 at locations such as Grumpy’s Northeast, The Wedge Co-op, Lakewood Cemetery and various houses around Minneapolis. While it is a story that could take place in any city, Kiernan said the choice to set the movie in Minneapolis was a very deliberate decision. “It was a conscious effort on our part. This was the type of story that had been depicted in New York or Paris or very traditionally romantic cities. We hadn’t really seen Minneapolis like that. It’s the place where we all fell in love. We saw ripe opportunity to explore that,” said Kiernan. “We were very conscious that we weren’t trying to make a tourism video for the city, but we wanted to highlight the places that we love.”
Kiernan said he hopes the film introduces aspects of Minneapolis to people who have never been here. “I think when you say Minnesota to people, mostly what they know is Kirby Puckett, or Fargo, or maybe Kevin Garnett before he went to the Celtics,” said Kiernan. “But if you think about the most famous films that were set here, there aren’t many that advantage of the environment. I feel like one of the reasons the city lent itself to this story is that Minneapolis is a very lush and green landscape. You can be downtown at a bar and experiencing the nightlife, and you can walk and in the course of a half hour, be at one of the lakes or be in someone’s backyard having a campfire, which is what happens in the movie. In places like New York or Paris, it’s so urban or it’s so rural that you don’t have a mix of those two landscapes together.”
From both those familiar with Minneapolis and those not, reaction to the film have been positive. Every showing during a limited engagement in New York sold out and an extra screen had to be added. “We got a review in the New York Times that was very favorable. So that was pretty cool,” said Kiernan. “And largely as a result of making this movie, I got a McKnight Foundation fellowship this year.”
Kiernan, Rosen and Bennett are already working on another feature project, which they hope to again film in Minneapolis.
For Kiernan, Minneapolis isn’t just an under-utilized backdrop for movies — it’s home. “It was important to me to tell a story that hadn’t necessarily been told for our region,” he said. “I think our love for the city definitely shows through.”
Reach Jeremy Zoss at email@example.com.
Go see it
What: "Stuck Between Stations"
When: Dec. 16–22
Where: St. Anthony Main Theatres
Rent: coming to DVD and other video services early next year