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Naomi / December 17th, 2015

Naomi / October 24th, 2015

Sheila / October 24th, 2015

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!

Twin Cities Film Fest film review
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

What’s it like working with Colin O’Donoghue, who has a music background being that he was in a band? Did you have a lot of rehearsal together prior to (or during) filming?
Colin is one of the most generous actors. He is a leader on set and very humble. It was wonderful working with him. As for music rehearsal, we didn’t rehearse much at all. Sang the songs a few times, and recorded them and that was it. We did jam a lot on set, which was a blast, there was always a guitar or ukulele on stand by and we would make up songs between takes. For scene work, Colin and I ran lines the night before and rehearsed quite a bit on set.

Lastly, what’s your favorite moments filming The Dust Storm? Please share a tidbit (or two) from the set that you find memorable.
Hard to narrow that one down. The whole experience was an absolute blast. An amazing team of people to work with. But if I haaave to I would say lip syncing and dancing to “Hows it Gonna Be” by Third Eye Blind (performed by I believe Red Wine Hangover?? Confirm with Ryan), singing a ukulele duet with Colin, and screaming our lungs out on top of the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge during an argument scene and scaring random people walking by haha!

Interview with Ryan Lacen

In terms of casting how did you come to cast Colin and Kristen? Did they audition for the roles?
Colin O’Donoghue we had known for his work in The Rite (starring opposite Anthony Hopkins) and Once Upon a Time. Jessica Sherman arranged for us to meet him at a coffee shop in LA to discuss the project. He had such strong convictions about where he saw the character of Brennan, a lot of it was a tad bit darker and more brooding that we had originally envisioned, but Colin sold us on his take of where this musician was, this guy who had been “rocked” by this girl years previously.

The next step was to put him and Kristen in a room to see how their chemistry would be together. The first introduction in the room was polite and rather quiet between the pair but the second we called “action” they jump started our heart-beat and this chemistry was ignited. By the time the scene was done, we knew – we had a movie!

Did you specifically want actors that could sing?
Colin spent years touring with the band The Enemies so we were familiar with his guitar work – which is incredible – but we hadn’t had the opportunity to hear him sing. Jessica sent us a couple raw samples to give us an idea, but it was when he sat down to play one of the songs that our music supervisor Kat Meoz wrote for the film that we were hooked! His voice was soft but also complicated and a bit tortured.


Naomi / October 1st, 2015

Synopsis: BRENNAN was a stranger in Nashville, a broken musician now working for a soul sucking corporation. Everything changes when he finds himself reunited with NORA, the girl who crushed his heart a decade prior. Now for one weekend, a romance will be reborn and tested all while encompassing, the intoxicating world of the city’s music scene.
TCFF Welcomes Justin Mikelson!

Directors: Ryan Lacen & Anthony Baldino
Ticket Price $12

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

Naomi / September 28th, 2015

Who is excited?? I know we are!

Naomi / September 15th, 2015

Gallery Link:

Thanks a bunch to the Dust Storm!

Naomi / September 9th, 2015

Gallery Link:


Naomi / August 28th, 2015

Anthony Baldino has plenty of relatives and friends in the Auburn-Worcester area where he grew up.
Indeed, “My entire family, my parents, live in Auburn,” he said. “I’m the only person who moved away.”
That was to Los Angeles, where he has put together a career in the production of movies, short films, music videos and commercials. Late last year he was in Nashville with friend and fellow producer Ryan Lacen as the two made their debuts as co-directors of a full-length feature film, shooting “The Dust Storm,” a drama musical romance. Post production work was finished a couple of months ago, and the plan is for the film to be released some time at the end of this year.
Baldino, who is also one of the film’s producers, will likely return here to put on a local screening of “The Dust Storm,” he said.

He’ll be sharing some joy. “It’s kind of like a big dream project,” he said of the movie. “It was a miracle we were able to make it happen.”
With a script by co-director Lacen, “The Dust Storm” is about a broken relationship that reignites over the course of three days in Nashville. Baldino called it a film about “second chances, lingering regrets, heart-thumping music, accidental betrayals and lasting connections.”
The cast includes Colin O’Donoghue (who plays Captain Hook on ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”), Kristen Gutoskie (CW show “Containment”), Jim O’Heir (“Parks and Recreation”), Chris Carmack (“Nashville”), and country singer JT Hodges. The film includes original music from O’Donoghue and Gutoskie, and Baldino said “we utilized the Nashville music scene and found several artists and bands that were happy to let (us) use their music in the movie and even appear in the film.”
Baldino, 35, said he tries to make it back home at least four or times a year. But with his next movie we might be seeing a lot more of him. Baldino said he’d like to co-direct (with Lacen) his second film in Worcester. “I’d definitely love to come back there and make a movie. One hundred percent,” he said.

Growing up in Auburn, Baldino said, he was always interested in films. After his parents bought a camcorder, “I tried to make little movies.” He graduated from Auburn High School and attended Quinsigamond College in Worcester but felt unsettled. When he visited a friend at Emerson College in Boston, which is devoted to communication and the performing arts, a sort of camera light went on. “Yeah, movies – this is what I should be doing,” Baldino said.
He headed West via Emerson’s LA program. One of his teachers there took him to be an intern on the set of the 2004 horror movie “Saw.”

As a production assistant, “I did everything. I helped out every single department.” He didn’t actually have to sweep any sawdust, but Baldino did clean (fake) blood off the floor, he said.
His foot was in the door and “Saw” was a box office success.
“I can’t believe what it turned out to be,” Baldino said of his ensuing career. Baldino has been involved with the production of several major movies including “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “The Green Hornet,” and “Last Call” (production coordinator,) and founded the company Normal Productions.

Along the way he and Lacen, who is originally from New Mexico, were involved with some of the same movies and became friends.
“After years working together to help other people make their movies, Ryan Lacen and I decided we were done waiting around for our moment to happen,” Baldino said.
Lacen had had the idea for the story of “The Dust Storm” for a long time, Baldino said. “Since we worked on so many movies, we know how to make one.” With help from friends and contacts gathered in the movie world, they assembled what Baldino called a “dream team of production support.”
Or to put it another way, “We basically called in a lot of favors.” Some investors are from Boston.
With that, the film was made for under $200,000, Baldino said, a figure that’s “still incredibly small” when you consider that what is called a low budget film is often made for $1 million.
Still, Baldino and Lacen even held auditions for certain roles. “I couldn’t believe that people are auditioning for this. That was exciting,” Baldino said.

The set for “The Dust Storm” sounds as if it was as harmonious as a Nashville jam. “Ryan (Lacen) and I have a good synch going. We bounce ideas off each other. Everyone loved the script so much it was actually pretty easy to get what you wanted. Everyone was so on it, it was really great.”
Baldino is looking at having the film screen at the Twin Cities Film Festival in Minneapolis, which will run Oct. 21-31. Many independent producers and directors hope that a good showing at a film festival will lead to their movie being picked up by a major studio/distributor. However, Baldino said his thoughts are more about “self-release … I feel like self-distribution is the wave of the future.”
Currently, “The Dust Storm” is trying to blow out some buzz and get a social media following (www.theduststormfilm.com).

“We’re trying to get as many people as possible excited about the movie,” Baldino said.
“We can’t wait to show everybody the finished product. We’re extremely proud of it.”


Who Is Colin?

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Colin O’Donoghue is an Irish actor/musician. He was born in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland on January 26th, 1981. He is best known for his role as Captain Hook in Once Upon a Time and his role as Michael Kovak in the Rite.

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