Spotlight on The Dust Storm movie & interview with co-director Ryan Lacen + actress Kristen Gutoskie

Last Thursday, I got to hang out with the filmmakers of The Dust Storm, Ryan Lacen and Anthony Baldino and chat about their film. The intimate romance drama is set in Nashville, starring ABC’s Once Upon A Time‘s Colin O’Donoghue and The CW’s Containment‘s Kristen Gutoskie. Both Anthony & Ryan are so friendly and fun to be around, two of the nicest people one would’ve had the privilege to hang out with! We went to Cooper’s Irish Pub across the street from Showplace ICON Theater, which is the kind of pub I’m sure the lead actor Colin, an Irishman, would surely love!

Me w/ Ryan (with the baseball hat) & Anthony

TCFF Screening Time(s): 
10/24/2015  (9:15 PM)

Check out the trailer:



Romantic films are tricky because it’s SO easy to get into corny and mushy territory when it’s not handled well (*cough* Nicholas Sparks *cough*). But the smaller, more intimate romance dramas like the Before Sunrise trilogy, John Carney’s Once, can be truly moving and heartfelt.

The Dust Storm follows that similar formula, focusing more on the characters and how the sudden presence in each other’s life irrefutably change them. I also love the premise of lost love, the idea that there’s a history between the characters and how tough it can be for someone to let go.

I’m not going to go into the story as it’s best that you discover Brennan and Nora when you see it for yourself. I do want to comment on the performances and the wonderful chemistry of the two actors. I’ve only seen Colin in a few episodes of Once Upon A Time where he plays this swashbuckling, sexy pirate, so it’s interesting to see him display his vulnerable side. Brennan wears his heart on his sleeve so much he may seem rather weak or even clingy, but you can’t help but sympathize with him. It’s apparent that he was hurt deeply in the past and the more I spend time with the two characters, it’s easy to see why. Nora is this beautiful, carefree and confident woman who’s effortlessly dominant in a relationship. I have to admit I don’t always like either characters, but yet I still find myself drawn into their whirlwind time together.


One thing I noticed is there’s a TON of drinking in this movie, I guess as I don’t like alcohol it’s hard to relate to that but in a way it explains to the state of mind of the characters. Some drink for fun, and some drink to escape and I think in the case for Brennan & Nora, it’s the latter. The film certainly works largely thanks to the wonderful casting of Colin and Kristen, and Jim O’Heir also provide a great supporting turn as Brennan’s colleague. He’s definitely the comic relief here.


I think Colin’s fans would love seeing him here, given that he’s pretty much on every scene and he also gets to sing & play guitar. He’s clean cut in most of the film, but don’t worry, there are scenes of him w/ some scruff as well 😉 Both he and Kristen have such a lovely voice and the musical aspect is used well in the film. Nashville itself is pretty much a character in itself too, taking advantage of the city’s vibrant music scene in the way Dublin was in Once. The title is definitely perfect to describe how something or someone in this case can come into your life unexpectedly and you can’t control the effect it has in your life. Brennan is definitely engulfed, if you will, in the emotion he has for Nora. The story is definitely relatable as who hasn’t dealt with a broken heart in their life.


Interview with Kristen Gutoskie


17 thoughts on “Spotlight on The Dust Storm movie & interview with co-director Ryan Lacen + actress Kristen Gutoskie

    1. Thanks so much for reading Cindy! I always love finding out about how films get made, especially indie stuff with limited budget. It’s where the TRUE passion for filmmaking lies.

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  2. Lyuby

    I’m really excited for this movie and cannot wait to see it and hear all the wonderful music in it. I’d watch Mr O’Donoghue in anything but the fact that he contributed to the character and will be displaying some guitar and mic work has me even more aflutter!!

    1. Hello Lyuby, I guarantee you’ll be swooning over Colin in this one. I hadn’t seen him much before this one and I can see why he has many fans 😉

  3. Vee K

    This article really sold me on the film. Thank you! I loved learning about the process of casting. I really want to have the opportunity to watch The Dust Storm. (BTW Colin wears his heart on his sleeve in Once upon a time as well. The more you get into the story the more vulnerable he becomes and you can definitely peel away the persona he uses with his Hook moniker. But it’s awesome to see him in something different)

    1. Hi Vee, I’ve only seen a couple of OUAT episodes but yeah I suppose he’s a bit vulnerable as Capt Hook. I like him in this one though, he’s so melancholy which I guess a lot of musicians are, which makes them even more adorable 😀

  4. Great effort Ruth! This sounds like Crazy Heart meets Begin Again, both films that I think are great. A 12 day shoot sounds like it would be intense, but reading the filmmaker’s comments suggests otherwise. Hope I get the chance to see this!

    1. Hi Adam! I haven’t seen Crazy Heart but yeah it certainly has John Carney’s vibe in terms of tone and use of music. Yes it’s crazy that they made it in just 12 days, a testament on how creative and resourceful some indie filmmakers are.

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  6. I was VERY fortunate to see The Dust Storm and to be able to spend some quality time with you and the directors, Ruth. THANKS so much for the privilege! And you know a film is good when want to watch it again, which I hope I’m able to sometime in the future.

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