Featured Filmmaker: Adam Rodgers, Director of ‘Middleton’

Adam Rodgers

MIDDLETON Director Adam Rodgers

According to his IMDB Profile, Filmmaker Adam Rodgers is “the the son of two career journalists, a Baltimore native and graduate of Duke University, where he studied politics, theater and philosophy, and of New York University’s Graduate Film Program.

Adam’s short films have played at festivals worldwide, earning numerous awards. Since moving to Los Angeles, Adam has co-written (with Glenn German) and sold spec feature scripts and pitches to Sony, Universal and Fox, among others.”

He comes to Maui for the first time during his visit to the Maui Film Festival this week. He’ll be a part of a Filmmaker’s Panel on Saturday at 1:30pm, and he’ll also be introducing his film, Middleton, at Celestial Cinema on Saturday night.

In the Q&A below, adam shares his thoughts about making Middleton and what he hopes people will think of the story.

Q: How did Middleton come about? Where and when did you start?

A. After selling feature specs and pitches as writers to the studios for eight years (and having only one of them produced) my co-writer Glenn German and I decided to get back to our NYU roots and write a script that we could produce ourselves. That meant creating a story that logistically was small in scope, but that had miles of heart. Of course, we initially took the completed screenplay for a spin with the studios, who mostly scrunched up their faces and said, “It’s so small…”, to which we learned to reply, “It’s not small, it’s intimate!” This line ultimately found its way into the movie, when Andy’s character wants to bite back on those who feel compelled to point out the diminutive size of his beloved Middleton college. The trick in indie filmmaking, like most things, is just to not give up. Eventually, we attracted a team of people who loved the project as much as we did. In the summer of 2012, five years after the first draft of MIDDLETON rolled out of the printer, we were shooting our movie.

Q: What inspired you to create Middleton? 

A. The movie — about parents taking their kids on a college tour — was inspired by the New England college tour my dad took me on when I was in high school. Now my own daughter is about to start her freshman year of college. So to say this idea has been simmering for a while would be a frightening understatement.

Q: What was the most challenging part of making Middleton happen?

A. Finding the money — no question. Getting an indie film financed is like trying to throw a football through about six tire swings, all swinging at different rates. And remember, I’m Adam (not Aaron) Rodgers.

Q: What type of experience do you hope the film will bring to viewers? 

A. There’s a lot of joy and laughter in the movie, and hopefully some well-earned moments of truth. To me, hearing an audience respond, moment by moment, is the filmmaker’s sweetest reward. And these days, when most of us are watching movies on our tv’s and laptops, screening for a big audience is magic.

Q: What do you think our Maui audiences will most appreciate about your film? 

A. The chemistry between Vera Farmiga and Andy Garcia is pretty special — something audiences seem to really respond to. I will be forever grateful to them for saying “Yes.”

Q: Do you have any prior connection to Maui? If so, please explain.

A. My only prior connection to Maui had been friends saying, “You’ve never been to Maui??!!”… So the suspense is killing me — can’t wait to arrive!

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