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Breaking Upwards: Wein and Lister Jones Give DIY Primer

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 12, 2010 at 9:15AM

"Nothing is better than five weeks of word of mouth in a movie theater."
Thompson on Hollywood

"Nothing is better than five weeks of word of mouth in a movie theater."

Even in the DIY world that is supposedly exploding with new opportunities, that conventional wisdom--spoken by producer John Hart some years ago--is still true. Yes, we must all explore the online future (and participate in and cover endless panels and Twitter debates that don't seem to advance the topic very far) but as demonstrated by young DIY filmmaker Daryl Wein and his co-producer/writer/star and girlfriend Zoe Lister Jones, it was worth plowing their $35,000 advance from IFC Films into booking their new relationship comedy Breaking Upwards in theaters in six cities.

IFC is backing an IFC Fest On-Demand VOD release a year after Breaking Upwards' debut at SXSW. So far the VOD clicks are in the thousands, not hundreds of thousands. So the young duo are trying to build WOM. The film opened well in one theater in New York, but its per-screen average was cut in half when it also played a Los Angeles theater last weekend. Next up: San Francisco.

Check out my flip-cam interviews, the trailer, and a Funny-or-Die Martin video below.

While the NYT made a fuss over the couple's $15,000 micro-budget and story based on their experimentation with an open relationship, the reason this movie is popping out from the fray of emerging filmmakers is that it is well-shot, tightly-written, sexy, entertaining, and puts New York theater actors like Andrea Martin to good use (the cast got SAG low-budget minimum).

The real question is what happens next. Lister Jones has been landing TV and film work and a role in the upcoming Angelina Jolie picture Salt. Wein, repped by Gersh, is looking to move to the next level and make some money by actually financing and getting paid to direct his follow-up scripts. He'd settle for $100,000.

Part One:

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Part Two:

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Part Three:

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Part Four:

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Part Five:

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Funny or Die Andrea Martin Video:


Breaking Upwards Movie Trailer from Breaking Upwards on Vimeo.

This article is related to: Box Office, Festivals, Genres, Independents, Video, Stuck In Love, Indies, Spring, SXSW, Romance, IFC, Interviews , Screenwriters

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.