Two former lovers who reunite for a play face the consequences of a secret that threatens to tear them apart forever.
It’s FREE to stream if you have Prime subscription, but it’s also available to rent or buy for non Prime subscribers for a nominal fee. Would you be so kind as to lend support by watching the film, and better yet, leave a review/rating right on Amazon.I’d really appreciate it if you can also help us spread the word out to your friends & family!
It’s been nearly three years since we filmed our short film in mid April 2017, exactly the day after Easter. You can also read about the filmmaking journey here. Hearts Want had a wonderful journey in various film festivals, both here in Minnesota and abroad.
Thanks to director Jason P. Schumacher and the talented MN-based cast & crew for making this dream a reality. I also want to thank those who have backed this project via Kickstarter. We wouldn’t have been able to complete this film in time for Twin Cities Film Fest where it won the Audience Award for short and made the five finalists for Best Short!
You can keep up with the project via our website and Facebook page. Oh and you can also listen to the wonderful score by Charlie McCarron on Spotify!
Going into its ninth year, Twin Cities Film Fest is launching a brand new initiative in its INSIDER SERIES program! As a first-time writer/producer who just made my first short film last year, I’m thrilled to see short filmmakers getting a platform to showcase their work. One of the eight outstanding short narrative films screening in TCFF’s first MN Shorts Showcase is a drama made by Jason P. Schumacher, whom many of you might know as the director behind Hearts Want.
Check out my Q&A with the MN-based filmmaker (who also directed the documentary Beyond the Thrill that’s screened at TCFF in 2016):
A coming-of age-story about a young boy realizing that his parents are alcoholics.
Q: You’ve said that this is a personal film for you. Would you elaborate on that? Was it based on true events?
My co-writer, Jesse Frankson, and I have known each other since elementary school but never really realized we had similar experiences in our upbringing, when it came to our proximity to alcoholism. The film is a work of fiction, but it includes inspiration from things that happened to one or both of us, or things we’d heard from peers with similar experiences.
I’d also looked at the “Laundry List” created by the organization Adult Children of Alcoholics. Those who grow up around alcoholics often share similar traits with one another; feelings of guilt and abandonment, an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, suppressing emotions, and also a tendency to also engage in addictive behaviors. In “This is Home”, the young boy is in the early stages of developing and showing these traits, as he begins to realize more and more that his parents are alcoholics.
Q: The film had a child actor (who was about 10 at the time of shoot), who’s terrific in the role. What was the biggest challenge(s) working with a young talent?
Honestly, we didn’t really treat Will Hugo too differently from the adult actors. Working with any actor, it is all about building trust – letting them know that you trust them and earning their trust. The first day of filming was the scene in the river and successfully getting everyone through a logistically challenging and uncomfortable scene like can really be a bonding experiences for the whole cast and crew. The river was also two and half hours a way, so we got to talk on the way with Will and his mom and build rapport and get to know one another more. Will is very involved in various activities in his own life and has great supportive community around him (and siblings too), so we asked him to imagine how different his life might be if he didn’t have those things, which helped him imagine the feelings of the character more.
We’d often talk him through what his character’s feelings are at each moment. He’s a sharp kid and we threw a lot at him. The rest of the cast was really great at working with him too. He was a little shy at first, but by the end he was cracking jokes with everybody, like, “Excuse me, excuse me – lead actor coming through!”
Q: Can you tell me a bit about casting? I recognize the taxi driver was the same actor who played the ringmaster in your other short, Sad Clown.
Even though Darrin Shaughnessy is incredible in Sad Clown, we still made him audition! He’s great at playing characters that seem a little surly but are still sympathetic. When his character enters the bar to pick up the drunks, his face is worth a thousand words. We’ve all been there. We did a pretty extensive casting actually. We had two days with long casting sessions and then a call-back. We knew the film would live or die by the casting.
We needed actors that played the actors as real people, without too many preconceived judgements. And also actors that we could believe were a family. With the wrong casting or performances it could play like a PSA or a melodrama and we didn’t want that. It was very a delicate.
Megan Kelly Hubbell, Sean Dooley (who played the parents) and Will really stood out as the right people to play the family in the film. They just connected with the material. Megan’s audition was one of the best I’ve ever seen for anything. We actually saw a lot of great local talent and instead of performing a monologue, we asked them to tell a story about drinking or being around drinking. We heard some pretty wild stories! The co-writer of the film also appears in the film as Dan, their annoying drinking buddy.
Q: There is an extensive river tubing scene which I’d imagine must’ve been pretty tough to shoot. Would you share about shooting that scene and the toughest part about that particular shoot?
We filmed at a river on a relative’s property that I go tubing on every summer. Tubing down the river each year always felt like one of the most cinematic things I could imagine and I’d never seen tubing down a river in a film before. It became this perfect metaphor in the center of the film, this family drifting somewhat aimlessly together.
On the day we filmed, it was cold! Maybe 62 degrees, so who knows what the temperature of the water was? And it occasionally drizzled ice cold rain on us. We did a lot of the filming from a canoe that we managed to secure the camera and the tripod in. Luckily we didn’t tip. The director of photography (Max Sjöberg), myself, and the boom operator were in the canoe, simultaneously trying to steer it and capture the scene. There were a couple times where a branch almost knocked the camera in the water. It also was a challenge to get our canoe and camera lined up with the actors as the river moved us around. It was the first day of filming, so I was worried the actors would stop talking to me after I stuck them in a cold river all day. But I think it was a good bonding experience for everybody. Despite being uncomfortable, it was a really fun day. It was also the lead actor’s first time tubing.
Q: Lastly, what would you like the audience to take away from your film?
The film isn’t a PSA. I don’t want to spell out a message for anyone, but I will say that alcoholism and low income families are rarely show this way in cinema, yet this situation is so common. A loving family where the disruption of alcohol chips away at them. The film a vignette, a glimpse into the lives of others, but for many who’ve seen it, it is a reflection of something they are all too familiar with.
The 8th annual fun-filled cinematic marathon has officially wrapped last night with yet another festive closing night party.
Pardon the lack of post yesterday as it was literally an extremely jam-packed day and I’ve also been hit with a bit of a cold and cough. Every single TCFF staff and volunteers pretty much ran on adrenaline around the 11-day film fest, but hey, time still flew when you’re having a great time!
The best part of covering TCFF is discovering new films, filmmakers, and talents. And boy, just in the last two days of the fest, I saw three of my top 5 films…
The three films may seem very different on the outset in terms of setting and plot, but they actually have similar themes of letting go of the past, growing up and celebrating life for what it is. The female-led Instructions For Living, directed by Sarah Heinss based on a script by Heinss and Morgan Owens, deservedly won the Audience Award for narrative feature.
Writer/Director/Actress Sarah Heinss, Writer/Actress Morgan Owens, Actor Drew Paslay, and Producer Maggie Hart were at the red carpet, interviewed by our host Amanda Day, on the first screening of the film on Saturday 10/21.
Two of my fave films starred this year’s Indie Vision Breakthrough Award recipient Josh Wiggins, who’s absolutely phenomenal in both films, playing the teenage son of Matt Bomer in Walking Out and J.K. Simmons in The Bachelors. This 18-year-old young man certainly showed an incredible range as well as screen presence. I think people will hear more of him in the future and I’m glad to say I first saw Josh at TCFF and got to talk to him a bit at the after party.
Here he is being interviewed by one of our awesome hosts Rachel Weber before the Walking Out screening:
On the festival’s closing day, TCFF also honored actress, and Minnesota native, Rachael Leigh Cook (who’s the lead in the modern adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream) with the festival’s coveted North Star Award.
On Saturday I started the day with learning from great filmmakers!
Two of those filmmakers’ films are one of the finalists for Best Feature Film award, Alex and Andrew Smith for Walking Out and Kurt Voelker for The Bachelors.
TCFF announced its 2017 award winners Saturday evening, recognizing films in ten top categories. The 11-day event showcased more than 140 titles — 60% of which were directed by women — and facilitated a broader conversation around the social cause of addiction (our theme for this year’s Changemaker Series)
The full list of 2017 award winners:
Best Feature Film: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” directed by Martin McDonagh.
Best Documentary: “Human Flow,” directed by Ai Weiwei
Best Short Film: “Cat Killer,” directed by Wes Jones.
Audience Award, Narrative: “Instructions For Living,” directed by Sarah Heinss (Runner-Up: “Aquarians,” directed by Michael M. McGuire)
Audience Award, Non-Fiction: “Coyote,” directed by Thomas Simmons (Runner-Up: “Victor’s Last Class,” directed by Brendan Brandt)
Audience Award, Short Film: “Hearts Want,” directed by Jason P. Schumacher (Runner-Up: “Wet Dreams: One Woman’s Chance at Touching Gold,” directed by Darren Coyle)
Indie Vision Breakthrough Award — Narrative: Madelyn Deutch (screenplay, “The Year of Spectacular Men”)
Indie Vision Breakthrough Award — Non-Fiction: “8 Borders, 8 Days,” directed by Amanda Bailly
Indie Vision Breakthrough Award – Best Performance: Josh Wiggins (“The Bachelors” and “Walking Out”)
Fun Is Good Bill Murray Comedic Shorts Award: “Lady Lillian,” directed by Amber Johnson
North Star Award for Excellence: Rachael Leigh Cook
TCFF 2017 Changemaker Award: Lexi Reed Holtum, executive director and lobbyist of the Steve Rummler Hope Network, for her work advocating on behalf of Steve’s Law and the 2015 state funding that enabled first responders to have the resources they need to implement the law.
Congrats to ALL of the TCFF 2017 winners!!
You can watch the video of the awards ceremony on FB by clicking the image below (the LIVE video cannot be embedded here)
Of course THIS was the biggest surprise of the night… at least for me!
Apparently the TCFF Award Finalists were announced on Friday 10/27 afternoon, but I didn’t check it until much later. To be a finalist amongst these great short films is just unbelievable… I’m still pinching myself!!
Best Short Film: “Afterword,” directed by Boris Seewald; “Cat Killer,” directed by Wes Jones; “Hearts Want,” directed by Jason P. Schumacher; “Resolutions,” directed by Tamara Fisch; and “Sundogs,” directed by Elizabeth Chatelain.
We didn’t win Best Short but as you can see in the picture above, we did win the Audience Award, woot woot!! That’s a second one for our director Jason P. Schumacher, his short film Sad Clown won the Audience Award in 2014.
I was a nervous wreck on the red carpet as you can see below… but hey I survived 😉 Check out Jason’s blue hair for Halloween, inspired by X-Men’s Mystique!
I’m so thrilled to have my dear friend & Hearts Want‘s lead actress Sam Simmons in town for the main TCFF premiere! She flew in from L.A. just hours before the red carpet and looked stunning as ever. So fun seeing Sam reunited w/ her co-stars Peter Christian Hansen and Noah Gillet last Thursday. I gotta say our short film’s cast are VERY easy on the eyes aren’t they? And they’re all so darn talented and fun to work with, too!
Here are some of the pics from Hearts Want‘s red carpet on Thursday night. Thanks to Dallas Smith, TCFF’s lead photographer for some of the photos.
The cast had a laugh just before the interview went live
I couldn’t have done HW without my husband & co-producer Ivan
With HW’s lead actress Sam Simmons
With TCFF’s lead photographer Dallas Smith
‘Lily’ & ‘Jacques’ reunited briefly on the red carpet
With makeup artist Petra Riedel, Sam & producer Kirsten Gregerson
With my dearest friend Vony & her daughter Chloe who’re extras in the film
I LOVE our amazing team!!
With HW’s oh-so-easy-on-the-eyes cast
Associate shorts programmer Angela Andrist joined us on the red carpet
See the recap of TCFF festivities in images
(again thanks Dallas & team) in Smugmug.
Well the film fest may be over but I’ve still got a few more reviews I’ll be posting in the coming weeks (Ruin Me, Flora,Walking Out, The Bachelors, etc.) as well as my interviews with the filmmakers from Darcy, actor Adam Ambruso, and more!). For a daily recap with reviews/interviews, etc., check out the TCFF page.
WOW, Day 2 of the 11-day film fest has come and gone! I had to leave a bit early Thursday night for a prior commitment, but I did manage to see two films and also caught up w/ a friend & fellow film blogger Emmylou, who’s moved out to L.A. earlier this year.
Here’s my quick thoughts on the two films I saw on Day 2…
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is Shakespeare’s most popular stage work. In fact I just saw it recently at the Guthrie. I’m not a purist so I always enjoy seeing fresh interpretations of classic works, and setting it in modern-day Hollywood adds a layer of whimsy. Now, whether it works or not, I’d leave to Shakespeare enthusiasts, but I think this quirky adaptation is enjoyable even if it at times borders on the absurd.
Minnesota native Rachael Leigh Cook (who’ll be coming to TCFF at the second screening on closing night) plays Hermia who’s in love with Lysander (Hamish Linklater) and Lily Rabe plays Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius (Finn Wittrock). Interesting that before yesterday I didn’t know who Avan Jogia was, but I saw him two days in a row as he’s playing Puck here and he was in The Year of Spectacular Men. They retained most of the Shakespearean language, and as the film premise says… bold declarations, idiotic miscommunications and wandering amorous eyes feel right at home in the Hollywood setting where the studio honchos are practically royalty.
The film is more amusing than laugh-at-loud funny, though the literal interpretation of the character bottom (hard to get that actual butt head out of your mind!!). People who love Shakespeare AND Star Wars might get a kick out of this film. For me, it was a pretty enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, though it made me want to rewatch the dreamier 1999 version with Michelle Pfeiffer as a truly fetching fairy queen.
Now, THIS is the kind of movie I love to discover at film festivals! I don’t see very many silent b&w films, so seeing one that’s set in the Twin Cities by a MN-based filmmaker and crew is quite rare. I really love this one. I was quite swept away by its style, production design and the actors’ expressive faces. I even remember as I was watching, I looked around and wish more people had gone and seen this film.
Written and directed by MN filmmaker Andrew DeVary, If Memory Serves is a sweet, funny and sentimental tribute to the bygone era. A self-admitted Charlie Chaplin fan, he truly captured the simplicity and sweetness of the 1940s and there’s a poignant love story at the heart of it. The Cadet (Matthew Englund) and Mary (Morgan LeClaire) are two lovers who suffered a near-miss (I wouldn’t spoil how) and throughout the course of the film, we’re left wondering if and when their paths will ever cross again. DeVary created characters who are such delightful characters that it’s easy to root for them and want them to be together.
Most of the film is silent with only a couple of ‘talkie’ moments and during the Q&A, DeVary revealed the reason for that he likes the idea that ‘love allows communication to happen.’ I like the direction and pacing, which at an already swift 67 minutes never overstays your welcome. I also learned during Q&A that the film’s shot digitally in HD so it’s really to the editors’ credit that the film looked appropriately grainy and old school throughout, which adds to its inherent charm. Kudos to Simone LeClaire who’s the producer and production designer of the film. At a shoestring budget ($2300 bucks!) I thought the film looked believably set in the WWII period. I also adore the music by Twin Cities composer silent film composer Andy McCormick whose band Dreamland Faces often play live music for silent films.
I highly recommend this to classic film enthusiast, or even those looking for something off-the-beaten path. Given the subject matter dealing with love and memory, this is one film I’ll remember for a while and I hope it gets some kind of distribution so more people can see it! Check out the trailer below:
What’s in store for Day 3
Friday 10/20 is a very special day for me as at 12:30pm, my short film HEARTS WANT will be shown to the public for the first time… as part of the ‘Ties That Bind Us’ short block.
But there are also a ton of great films playing Friday…
Two great documentaries ABU and A Gray State (that I’ve blogged about here), and feature films 20 Weeks, Tater Tot & Patton, The Midnighterand Wilderness. See all of the films playing Friday here.
Can’t believe it’s just a little over a month away until the fun film festivities begins here in the Twin Cities! If you follow me on Facebook, then you’d already know that this year’s film fest is an extra special for yours truly… yep, I’m still in a daze that Hearts Want is actually premiering at TCFF in October!! If you told me around the same time last year that I would have my own film playing at TCFF in 2017 I’d say that you are nuts. Our film will be playing in one of several short blocks at the fest, I will update this post as soon as I know the exact schedule.
Well, if you haven’t seen the teaser yet, well here you go…
… This year’s fundraising gala’s theme is A Year of Spectacular Women… which is as timely as ever and it’s also a play on this year’s Opening Night film, A Year of Spectacular Men, a directorial debut of Minnesota native Lea Thompson and stars her daughters Zoey Deutch and Madelyn Deutch. The upcoming drama-comedy will make its world premiere at TCFF on Oct. 18 with both Lea Thompson and Zoey Deutch in attendance.
We don’t have a trailer yet but here’s a clip from the film:
The official 2017 Centerpiece film will be the inspirational documentary Purple Dreams, which follows lives of inner-city, at-risk students who succeed at their passion while embracing the transformative power of their arts education. The true-life adventure screens Oct. 23.
TCFF will continue its tradition of honoring a Social Cause this year by putting a spotlight on ‘Addiction.’ To highlight addiction TCFF will screen three documentaries (Chasing the Dragon, Addicted to Porn and Screenagers) and a drama called Tatertot and Patton which showcases alcohol addiction.
Some of Fall’s most-anticipated films are also amongst the lineup…
Acclaimed director Sean Baker’s The Florida Projectstarring Willem Dafoe:
Dramedy Last Flag Flyingstarring Bryan Cranston, Steve Carrell and Laurence Fishburne:
WWII drama The Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman as Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
It’s a year of debuts it seems. Motion capture virtuoso Andy Serkis’ directorial debut Breathe, starring Andrew Garfield as a young man struck down with polio looks like a heart-warming tearjerker.
Those are just the studio films. There are plenty of indie features to be excited about…
The Bachelors stars J.K. Simmons dealing with an early death of his wife with his teenage son.
A grizzled, rugged looking Matt Bomer stars in Walking Out, where he plays an estranged father who faces a brutal encounter in the heart of Montana wilderness with his teenage son.
Little Pink House stars Catherine Keener and Jeanne Tripplehorn about a working-class neighborhood struggling to save their homes from political and corporate interests bent on seizing the land and handing it over to Pfizer Corporation.
I gotta give a shout out to Minnesota-made indie feature Twin Cities, produced by the filmmaker who directed my short film, Jason P. Schumacher. Hearts Want‘s lead actor Peter Christian Hansen also has a supporting role in the film. Directed by David Ash, its prequel 2021 actually premiered at TCFF in 2015.
The festival will close with writer and director Colette Burson’s Permanent, a film centering on a story of a hairstyle gone incredibly wrong and a young girl’s fight to fit in while encountering bullies at a new school. Burson will be in attendance for the red carpet and hosting a Q&A following the film.
Tickets will open up to members and pass holders on September 29th, with general public access the following week. To find out how to become a TCFF Member and for a full list of films playing at this year’s festival please visit TCFF official site »
Hope to see you at TCFF next month! Which of these films are you most looking forward to?
Can’t believe we’re in mid July already! Time sure flies in the Summer time… and time seems to fly even faster when one is running a Kickstarter campaign.
Yep, it’s just 9 days to go until our campaign ends folks… and we could really use your help in crossing the finish line. We are still hoping to submit this film to Twin Cities Film Fest soon to be eligible for 2017 run in October, so time is of the essence. If you’ve always wanted a chance to be a part of a female-led indie film with talented indie filmmakers and actors, this is your chance!
Watch this video from our leading man Peter Christian Hansen on why you should back our film…
Minnesota theatre goers might’ve seen Peter on stage in various productions, including at the Guthrie. He’s also the artistic director of Gremlin Theatre), as well as the leading man of the Australian indie sci-fi Project Eden whom I interviewed last February.
Did you check out the rewards yet?
On top of the automatic rewards of feeling good for being a big supporter of indie film [natch], there are also actual rewards!
My hubby and co exec-producer Ivan had been working tirelessly to make props for the film just a week prior to filming! This is NOT the film poster, but rather a poster of the play within the film that’s called Hearts Want where the lead characters Jacques & Lily reunite for after seven years apart.
Check out this time lapse video of Ivan’s poster sketch:
My hubby also created these theatre posters that’s posted on the wall of Lily’s dressing room:
Check out the various updates posted on the Kickstarter page… including meeting the mostly-female crew who were super fun to work with on and off set.
As a longtime supporter of #womeninfilm I’m extremely grateful for the chance to work with so many amazingly talented women in the Minnesota film community!