Tuesday, September 29, 2009

IN/SIGNIFICANT OTHERS movie premier and John Schwert interview

By Esteban “Steven” Escobar, Diversity News Staff

After a successful world premiere last weekend at the 25th Boston Film Festival and winning for Best Screenplay, as well Best Film at the Charlotte Film Festival this past weekend In/Significant Others is a movie the portray relationships.

Esteban “Steven” Escobar of DIVERSITY NEWS is honored to feature John Schwert, writer, director and producer of IN/Significant Others with the coordination of Jenn Allison from Earth Xstasy Entertainment. With his busy schedule John Schwert took some time to answer some of my questions.

DN: What do you hope to accomplish with this movie?
JS: Since the film mostly deals with relationships, husband and wife, boss and subordinate, siblings, friends and/or lovers, I wanted to explore how manipulation influences those relationships and to expose it in such a way that audiences could see two different types of manipulation: direct or overt manipulation as well as unintentional or subconscious manipulation.

JS: In writing the script, I came up with and a handful of realistic characters that I could introduce manipulation to and follow its effect on their relationships: a soldier that returns from Iraq to discover his wife was raped, a brother who struggles to keep up with a successful sibling, a nurse with a drug-addicted sister, and a woman having an affair with a married friend; as well as a set of circumstances that bound all of them together, the homicide investigation.

DN: What is the message?
JS: I also thought it was important to manipulate the audience in how they follow the characters and interpret the story, hence the cameraman and sound boom guy who interview everyone as the story progresses. The way in which we cut between their “video” interview footage and the main “live-action” narrative is a continuation of the manipulation theme. The key was to avoid it from becoming melodramatic or cheesy, but rather to keep it truthful and interesting, and in the form of a dramatic thriller.

DN: The purpose?
JS: I really want audiences to take away from the film the fact that manipulation does in fact exist in all relationships, whether someone is directly lying to someone else or their manipulation is masked in fear, or even in their subconscious and they can’t acknowledge it, it still exists. This is of course in addition to the idea that it is possible to make great narrative films without spending millions of dollars.

DN: Where will be the movie been shown? Premier parties?
JS: Had its world premiere last weekend at the Boston Film Festival and won for Best Screenplay, as well as won Best Film at the Charlotte Film Festival this past weekend.
In/Significant Others also had successful screenings at the Kansas International Film Festival and the Port Townsend Film Festival, and will screen in October at the Black Swamp Film Festival, and then in December at the Bahamas International Film Festival.

DN: If people need more information about the movie, where they can go? websites?
JS: For more information you can visit them on Facebook under IN/SIGNIFICANT OTHERS to see the trailers and become a fan of the film, as well their official site: www.4wproductions.com.
Please visit us on Facebook to see the trailers and become a fan of the film, as well as our official site: http://www.4wproductions.com

About John Schwert
He is a writer, director and producer.
Growing up in Western New York, John Schwert graduated from St. John Fisher College in 1997 with a business degree in marketing and advertising. Schwert relocated to the Carolinas after college and began working on the popular WB television show Dawson’s Creek. He subsequently entered the corporate world and began working in marketing, branding and advertising at two of the nation’s top five banks. While his days belonged to working within the corporate realm, his nights and weekends were split between freelancing on local independent films and acquiring his Masters degree from Queens University . In 2004, John Schwert then left his corporate job behind to adapt, direct and produce his first feature-length motion picture.

Among Brothers was based on the actual events surrounding the death of Jennifer Morgan, who was murdered in 1994 at Francis Marion College . Filmed in Charlotte over 24 days in September of 2004, the entire movie was financed by a second mortgage on Schwert’s home. Since its premiere at the Palm Beach International Film Festival, the feature film went on to play 17 film festivals, winning awards at the Houston World-fest as well as the Southern exposure Film Festival, and picking up great reviews and a fan-base along the way (www.amongbrothers.com).

In 2006, Among Brothers was released domestically by Vanguard Cinema (85 minutes, English) and internationally by Oasis International, who acquired all of the foreign rights and is selling the film internationally from 2006 through 2011. In May of 2007, Among Brothers and John Schwert were the basis for a two-hour Dateline NBC special titled Scenes From A Murder based on Jennifer Morgan’s still unsolved murder (www.msnbc.com).

John Schwert’s success with Among Brothers led to more work for the filmmaker. In 2005, he was hired by Columbia Pictures to work on Talladega Nights and then by Dreamworks for Eddie Murphy’s comedy Norbit. Schwert spent 2006 and 2007 working under producer Judd Apatow (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up) on the feature films Super Bad, The Pineapple Express and Step Brothers. In addition to producing over a dozen short films, Schwert has worked on a variety of other projects in recent years, including commercial work for Pytka and MJZ Productions, Disney, Sprint/Nextel and NASCAR, and television work for Sony and ABC.

In keeping with his goal to produce and direct more Carolina feature film projects, Schwert established North Poplar Pictures, LLC in 2008 and announced production of his next feature film, In/Significant Others, a multi-narrative drama that navigates through the different lives of one city’s residents, each of whom is connected to the same local homicide investigation (www.insigothers.com).

The ensemble cast of characters includes an Iraq War vet returned home to an emotionally disturbed wife, a new father living in the shadow of a successful older brother, a sister caught up in a web of addiction, and a cameraman who attempts to exploit the reality behind all of their stories, or at least his version of them. The search for truth becomes a life and death struggle as the subtle manipulation of all relationships is exposed in this dramatic thriller.

The cast for In/Significant Others includes: Burgess Jenkins (Remember The Titans, One Tree Hill), Andrea Powell (Songcatcher, The Limbo Room), Scott Miles (October Sky), Keith Harris (Junebug), Brian Lafontaine, Mark Scarboro, Brett Gentile, and Tiffany Montgomery.

A New York native, Schwert splits his time between Los Angeles and Charlotte, NC, which is home to his company Fourth Ward Productions, and where “In/Significant Others” was shot in 2008. The ensemble cast includes a variety of film and television actors, all with North Carolina roots.

About Jenn Allison:
Currently holds double college degree- BA in elementary education and psychology. Post Grad- acting, writing, and producing.

About Earth Xstasy:
Earth Xstasy Entertainment was created to be a dynamic marketing resource for people who are passionate about achieving their professional goals. For more information you can visit site at http://www.earthxstasyent.com/

Photos and movie trailer are courtesy of John Schwert and Fourth Ward Productions, Inc. © 2009 By Fourth Ward Productions, Inc. All Rights Are Reserved.

Note: Esteban “Steven” Escobar and (http://www.diversitynewspublications.com)Diversity News, a consumer news magazine, published by Diversity News Publications wants to thanks John Schwert for the interview, photos and movie trailer. Also to Jenn Allison for making this interview possible.

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